Jaime Rae Richards is a senior at the Pine Ridge Reservation’s Red Cloud Indian School. She’s also manager of the girls’ basketball team. And now, she’s a 2015 Horatio Alger Scholar.
The 17-year old was one of 2-dozen South Dakota high schoolers to receive the prestigious award after submitting an essay on overcoming adversity in her life. Jaime also wrote about a role model who supported and inspired her, and how she plans to prevent future challenges from holding her back.
Key to her success in the competition and in her life, says Jaime, has been her spirituality.
“Through hardship I always turn to prayer,” explains Jaime. “Because I know it’s what I rely on to get through struggles and stuff. When I feel…like…sad or if I’m feeling a little lost…I can go to the sweat and I’ll feel better. I know prayer is a powerful thing.”
Jamie also credits her grandmother, Francine Red Willow, as her inspiration. She’s a Lakota woman, says Jamie, who can handle any situation she encounters.
The $7000 Horatio Alger Scholarship will be used toward fulfilling Jamie’s goal of becoming the first person in her family to finish college. Although she hasn’t pinned down her career choice yet, Jaime Rae Richards is focusing on health care. She also hopes to return to the Pine Ridge Reservation after receiving her degree to help her people.