‘The courage to continue’

Student speaker offers four ‘gifts’ to help LBHC graduates succeed in life goals

Photo by Gary Rood

Little Big Horn College student Phillip Rising Sun III smiles late Friday morning, while holding a white rose during the college graduation ceremony. Student speaker Cameron McCormick Jr. gave his classmates four “gifts” of advice: “Success is not given, it’s earned”; “Don’t be afraid to fail”; “Think about more than yourself”; and “Do not compare yourself to someone else and where they are in life.”

Photo by Gary Rood

Christian Parrish Takes the Gun, aka Supaman, speaks to Little Big Horn College students on his journey toward success in the music world.

Photo by Gary Rood

Student speaker Cameron McCormick Jr. graduates from Little Big Horn College as Dean of Academics Frederica Lefthand moves his tassel over his cap.

With an increase of more than five graduates from the previous two years, Little Big Horn College’s Class of 2018 took the stage Friday with 41 students donning blue caps and gowns for the special occasion.

The class’ motto was a quote by Winston Churchill, who faced down attacks from Nazi Germany’s war machine as the United Kingdom’s prime minister: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

To help his fellow graduates continue on the path of success, student speaker Cameron McCormick Jr. gave his classmates four “gifts” in the form of advice. McCormick, who gained his Associate of Arts in Business Administration: Small Business Management Option, said he learned these lessons through reading and experience.

His first piece of advice, he said, was that “success is not given, it’s earned.” The universe rarely “aligns perfectly,” he added, for someone to gain his or her dreams.

“People die waiting for their lucky chance,” he added. “Successful people take action. They don’t wait for life to come to them; they bring life to themselves.”

His second statement mirrored Churchill’s belief that “failure is not fatal.” McCormick’s version of this was “Persist: Don’t be afraid to fail.” To fail, he told the audience, is to learn from “one of life’s greatest teachers.”

In an interview after his speech, McCormick admitted to struggling in the past to gain his associate degree. In addition, he learned “when you’re in the workforce without education, it doesn’t treat you that greatly.”

For his third statement, McCormick said, “Think about more than yourself.”

“Thinking about yourself is easy, selfish and limits positive growth to just one person,” he said. “Take the challenge of thinking about others; empathize with your brother and sister and realize we are all in this together.”

Speaking from experience, he said, it was easier to reach his goals when he involved his family in his life. People can help one another move forward in their plans, he continued.

For his fourth statement, McCormick said, “Everyone works in their own time: Do not compare yourself to someone else and where they are in life.” Nothing good will come from such comparisons, he added.

“A 25-year-old millionaire could pass on by age 35,” he said, “while a 60-year-old senior citizen could attain their first degree and live to be 90.”

Rather than getting caught up in comparisons with others, he said, “we should look at ourselves in the mirror and realize what is needed to achieve our goals.”

The event’s keynote speaker, Christian Parrish Takes the Gun – also known by his stage name as Supaman – spoke on his own journey toward success as a Native American hip-hop artist. He began rapping on the Crow Reservation in the 1990s, found the hip-hop group Rezawrecktion in 2003 and continued his musical efforts to the point that he was featured in a December 2016 music video by The Black Eyed Peas singer Taboo.

The video, “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #No DAPL,” addressed the protests at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline through a combination of poetry, rap, gospel music and dancing. It tied with five other songs to win the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video with a Social Message in 2017.

He had rapped from a negative standpoint in the past, Takes the Gun stated in previous interviews, but decided to focus on inspirational topics to have a more positive effect on the world.

Arriving for the Music Awards ceremony in August 2017, Takes the Gun said he had an opportunity – along with Crow fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail, who also appears in the video – to bring some of Native America to the red carpet.

“All of these amazing platinum artists were there and then we were there, Natives representing something awesome,” Takes the Gun said. “We felt good and proud, war bonnet on – yeah, this is what it’s all about.

“We did all these interviews, all the way down the line, it took about 20 minutes. Then, after all that chaos, Taboo…pulls me to his side and says, ‘Hey, you deserve this. You deserve this. You’ve been working hard. You deserve to be here. Take it all in.’”

For the future of the Crow people, Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid said, education in institutions such as Little Big Horn College will help serve as a catalyst for tribal members to “move forward” and attain their own red carpet moments.

“Every niche in education that you get, the further you are from the basic,” he said. “You pave the way, just like Supaman has.”

Little Big Horn College Class of 2018:

Associate of Arts in Business Administration: Kylie R. Dust, Celisa M. Jefferson and Erica M. Turns Plenty

Associate of Arts in Business Administration - Small Business Management Option: Kimberly A. Bear Below and Cameron T. McCormick Jr.

Associate of Arts in Crow Studies: Samuel J. Enemy Hunter

Associate of Education - Elementary Education Option: Edgar E. Nunez Macias, Marya M. Reeves (first degree) and Tia L. Ware

Associate of Arts in Education - Early Childhood Education Option: Sekoya M. Bighorn and Gwendale D. Good Luck

Associate of Arts in Education - Special Education Option: Marya M. Reevis (second degree)

Associate of Arts in Human Services - Addiction Studies Option: Jerry D. Bull Chief

Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts: Robert L. Birdinground, Manual M. Bright Wings, Maleah T. Flying and Tia R. Little Light

Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems - Technology Option: Christian T. Buckingham and George A. Two Moons Jr.

Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems - Multimedia Option: Frederick M. Howe III

Associate of Science in Science - Community Health Option: Marissa S. Roth (first degree)

Associate of Science in Science - Natural Resources/Environmental Science Option: Kirt K. Laforge and Phillip Rising Sun III

Associate of Science in Life Science - Biology Option: Ashton Wilhem

Associate of Science in Science - Life Science/Pre-Nursing Option: Sayra J. Long Fox, Marissa S. Roth (second degree) and Tanya L. Stewart

Associate of Science in Agriculture - Livestock Management and Industry Option: Rusty L. Lafrance

Associate of Arts in Directed Individualized Studies: Yberson Augustin - Pre-Med, Chad E. Bad Bear - Liberal Arts, Isaiah Good Luck - Liberal Arts, Sharmayne A. Hill - Life Science, Lloyd L. Hogan III - Small Business Management and Preston J. Whiteman

One Year Certificate - Business - Accounting Assistant: Sereatha M. Kills Pretty Enemy (first certificate) and Roslyn J. Ten Bear (first certificate)

One Year Certificate - Information Systems - Office Assistant: Sereatha M. Kills Pretty Enemy (second certificate) and Roslyn J. Ten Bear (second certificate)

One Year Certificate - Highway Construction: James W. Daychild, Nehemiah R. He Does It, Robert R. Springfield III and Realand J. Whiteman

 

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