GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Saturday was commencement day at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB), a day many students wait their entire lives for.
“It’s really exciting and I’m really happy. I just did not think I’d be here today,” said one graduate.
“My mom and dad were a very big reason that I did what I did. They were my number one support system,” said Kelly Lamas Flores.
"My time at UW-Green Bay has been such an honor, I get to represent the people of color so it's been such an honor," said another graduate.
While the ceremony awarded higher education degrees, this year there was something new.
In the history of UW-Green Bay, the first cohort of doctorates in First Nations Education received their degrees.
"This program is a revitalization of indigenous ways of knowing and being, in collaboration with academic faculty and oral scholars this program addresses topics such as ancestral leadership, indigenous pedagogy, First Nations law and policy, generations of healing and indigenous research methods,” said a school official.
Rosa King was one of the four students part of that cohort.
She said what sparked her interest in the new doctorate program was her desire to become a better educator.
"I actually teach in the Oneida Nation. I'm an Oneida nation language immersion teacher for our community language nest. When I heard about this program. I knew this would not only help me become a better teacher but just advocate in indigenous education and just help me overall,” said King.
King tells NBC 26 that all four in her cohort were indigenous, learning a one of a kind curriculum no other student at UWGB had ever studied before.
“Really helped us because as indigenous people we needed that base because we are navigating these educational systems that are based in our western frame work,” King said.
So as their hard work has led them to this day, there's one thing for sure, their future is just beginning.
On behalf of NBC 26, we wish the Class of 2022 the best of luck.
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