RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA-TV) - Graduation season is upon us and Native American students who have earned their diplomas were also honored with a special ceremony at Stevens High School
Nearly 115 Native American students were honored with plumes and eagle feathers, the highest honor you can receive in the Lakota culture.
The event has been going on for over a decade. Family and friends came out to support their class of 2019 graduate.
For the elders who attended, seeing the next generations reach this achievement, is a time of celebration for the entire family.
"It really recognizes their accomplishments and support and the blood, sweat, and tears of what they have helped the student achieve," says Whitney Rencounter
For one Rapid City Central graduate, earning his diploma, meant a first for one side of his family. So for his uncle and father who sponsored him, and pinned his eagle feather, the moment was emotional.
"It means a lot from being a little kid I didn't previously want to in middle school, but this one just felt, it is just a big accomplishment especially being the first one on my mom's side. It just means a lot. They are men so I saw them trying to hold in those tears, but I could tell they were emotional for sure and happy." says Gavin Strand, a Rapid City Central senior
Strand added that for the younger children who attended the event, serving as a role model helps give them something to work towards