Bank of the West was proud to acknowledge the recipients of scholarships from the 2011 Bank of the West Tribal Scholarship Program during the 31st Annual Conference of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium in March.
The bank provided a grant of $10,000 to the American Indian College Fund, which awarded $1,000 each to 10 tribal college students attending Oglala Lakota College, Sisseton Wahpeton College or Sinte Gleska University. The students participated in tribal activities as well as academic competitions and award programs. Approximately 900 people attended the conference that was hosted by the South Dakota Tribal Colleges.
According to the American Indian College Fund, high levels of poverty among American Indians often make college education unattainable. The poverty rate among American Indians is 47% on reservations (source: U.S. Census Bureau), the highest of any racial or ethnic group in America.
“Bank of the West recognizes that education and job training are critical elements that advance and build a skilled workforce, which in turn leads to vibrant, healthy communities,” said Branch Manager Patty Faulk, from the Bank of the West branch in Gordon, Neb. “We were proud to support these 10 deserving college students and wish them every success in attaining their future educational goals.”
One of the scholarship recipients was Melissa Martin, a full-time working mother of seven children who has maintained a 3.56 – 4.0 GPA. In the current 2011 Scholarship Report, Martin wrote: “Thank you. Your generosity enabled me to graduate with an associate degree in Entrepreneurship in June 20, 2011. Now I am working toward my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.” Martin aspires to being a business owner in her community.