The Big Picture High School from Lafayette (Onondaga) in New York state came to visit Brown University on Oct. 17, 2014. The MET School and Big Picture Learning Networks are also found here in Providence, RI and they were able to take students to visit Brown University students and faculty demonstrating a Native American presence and positive role modeling aspect for the BP youth. Students from the Native Americans at Brown (NAB) student group gave generously of their time and were supportive of these high school students to continue their education and share their own experiences while Native faculty also shared experiences of what it was like to be teaching at Brown.
The Lafayette BP has traditionally been around 50% or so Onondaga tribal youth as students, as Lafayette is right out of the reservation boundaries. This is noteworthy as most schools have an average of less than 1% of a Native student population. Having worked with Big Picture Learning Networks before and co-founding the Native Student and Family Wellness Initiative, we worked extensively focusing on and improving the Native American student experience in education involving family, community, advocates, and schools network for the wellness and success of our indigenous students, one of the most under-represented and under-served student populations in the country.
We hope that their visit was a positive and uplifting experience and makes their visit to Brown something they want to keep in mind for their own futures, as well as any other continued education they are thinking about pursuing after high school. We emphasized that being either Native American or from Big Picture schools is a great thing because diversity of student body is something these schools want and their backgrounds, cultures, and experiences make attending an enriching and educating experience for everyone. Many thanks to the NAB tour guides and organizers David Stablein (BP Advisor) and Susan Osborn (BP Lafayette Principal). We wish them the best of luck for the future!