Student Highlight May 2020

May 27, 2020

My name is Kaitlynn Lynch and I am an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe located in Eagle Butte, SD. At age 6, I was adopted into a loving family and grew up off the reservation in Rapid City, SD. Although my adopted dad is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, I was not raised traditionally and lacked exposure to my culture as a child. As a result, I sought out my heritage and biological family in my early teens and eventually moved to live with an aunt on the reservation. During the year that I lived there, I learned about my culture, history, traditions, language, and the hardships and struggles of the people. I was born into a beautiful culture and was blessed with the gift of opportunity to build a life off the reservation. I believe there is a reason I’ve been given the life I was given and I know that the blessings I’ve had were always meant for more than just myself. I have the knowledge, passion, and ability to help people reach their full potential and live their best life and it’s in my plan to do that.

Until recently, I have always struggled with schoolwork. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child and my parents did their best to help me. Whether it was with medication, private tutoring sessions, extra time on tests; I was always a C/D student. Life got more difficult for me as I transferred from a private middle school to a public high school. I struggled to fit in and I felt I had no place within my peers. Growing up with a lack of knowledge of my culture hit me especially hard when I transferred from a mostly white school, to a culturally diverse high school. I desperately wanted to fit in with my native peers and be accepted, but I was still seen as an outcast. At the time, I lacked the maturity to find my own path and the guidance needed to bridge the gap between the two worlds I lived in. Eventually, I dropped out of high school and moved to the reservation to discover myself, and find my identity. With the support of my family, I earned my high school diploma at Eagle Butte High School and experienced life on the reservation. I have seen the hurt and the anger, the lack of opportunity for the people from my small community. I have also felt the anguish and the silence of those who do not have the capability or the guiding hand to help themselves change their destiny. I want to be that guiding hand and be an inspiration for anyone who has struggled with life and finding where they belong. I have overcome many obstacles to get where I am today, and I’m proud of my accomplishments.

I am currently a student at Central New Mexico Community College. I plan on graduating the summer of 2020 with an AA in Sociology. It’s my personal goal to make the Dean’s List at the end of this term and the following 2 semesters I have left at CNM Community College. I was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society this fall and I plan on maintaining my high GPA. After obtaining my Associates Degree, I want to transfer to the University of New Mexico and pursue my education by earning a Bachelor’s Degree and eventually attending the UNM law program. It is my intent to become a lawyer, so I can have the knowledge to legally advise or help people. I know that my community is in need of tribal attorneys and I want to fulfill that need with my communication skills and continued education.

Being a full-time mother and a full-time student can be difficult at times. I’ve struggled in the past with time management and the motivation to pursue my education. Today, I am proud of myself for the hard work I’ve put into my higher education, especially during this past year. In April of 2018, my family became homeless when we moved to Albuquerque, NM. We lived in our car and then a homeless shelter. With the support and help from community resources, I was able to secure housing for my family and enroll in college. I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA and have been able to provide my family with the stability we need to live our best lives. I dedicate my extra time to my academic studies, volunteering in my community, and being an actively involved parent in my children’s lives. Receiving this scholarship has been a blessing to my family because it gave us financial security during the semester. I used the money to add to my emergency savings and to pay ahead on my rent. This scholarship has relieved my financial stress and allows me to focus on classes, family, and giving back to my community.



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