Graduation set for Friday at Stone Child
Graduates will walk into commencement ceremonies at Stone Child College to the sound of the drum band playing honor music on Friday.
Proud friends and relatives will be on hand to pay tribute to the graduates.
It will be much like the 24 graduation ceremonies that have preceded it, President Melody Henry said.
But two things will indicate how much things have changed at the campus on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
This year, the commencement ceremonies will be in the college's new gymnasium, and there will be 24 students in the graduating class.
This is one of the larger classes the campus has had, Henry said. "There were three in our first graduating class," she recalled.
Like past classes, some of the graduates will be traditional students — those who attended college for two years right after completing high school — but many others will be older students. Also called non-traditional students, these are people who came back to college later in life or who spread their college careers over several years while they worked or became parents, Henry said.
Ted Whitford, former Stone Child registrar, will be the speaker. Whitford left the college last year after he was elected to the Chippewa Cree tribal council.
"Students were proud of his election," Henry said. "And they wanted to have him be the speaker."
As is tradition, two Rocky Boy residents will receive honorary degrees, and this year Ervin and Sharon Watson will be thanked for their years of service to the community, she said.
A rancher, Ervin Watson is retired from Rocky Boy schools, where he headed the maintenance department, she said. Both of the Watsons have been active in a variety of community activities.
Jason Lodge Pole, who Henry described as "a very quiet, hard-working young man," will be this year's valedictorian. Winter Whitford will be the salutatorian, Henry said.
The annual graduation dinner will be tonight, she said.
"This is always a happy and busy time of the year," she said. "We are looking forward to Friday."