BEMIDJI-Lily Walker wants to be a doctor of psychology.
She's one of about 24 students set to graduate Friday from TrekNorth Junior & Senior High School, a grades 6-12 charter school on Paul Bunyan Drive in Bemidji. Walker is a National Honor Society member, writes "positivity articles" for the school's newspaper, and regularly meets other members of a "girl's group" there to talk about body image issues, stress management and dealing with hostile or aggressive men. Walker said she's only received about two B grades at Trek-the rest are As.
She plans to study psychology at Bemidji State University in the fall and, longterm, earn a doctorate in that field. The even longer-term plan is to be a psychology professor.
"I just really love learning new things and just acquiring knowledge," Walker said. "I do really like to talk to people, and about things that I'm passionate about, and to spread knowledge about those kind of things. Just things that I think can help people."
Walker's mother worked at Lincoln Elementary School, where about 20 percent of the students are American Indian. The 17-year-old said she's especially interested in researching stereotypes and prejudices-how discrimination affects someone's performance at work, school or life in general. Walker, an Ashkenazi Jew, said she's always been passionate about that field of study because she believes everyone is born equally worthy, despite their differences.
"Living around reservations my whole life, and seeing the impact that some of the things that have gone on has had on these people is really heartbreaking," she said.
"People, they don't really know the cause for the results of the reservations: the poverty there and the addiction and crime and things like that. They just look at that and think, 'Wow that's bad,' but they don't really look into the history of assimilation and reservations and just the brutality."
TrekNorth will hold its graduation ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the Beaux Arts Ballroom at BSU.
If you go
What: TrekNorth Senior High School graduation
When: 6 p.m. Friday, May 24
Where: Beaux Arts Ballroom at BSU.