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Red Lake High School graduate Stacy Lussier ponders future career paths

Red Lake High School graduate Stacy Lussier has eclectic interests. With the same variety of feelings about graduation, Lussier is both excited and nervous about leaving the high school environment she has been accustomed to over the years.

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Stacy Lussier will graduate as part of Red Lake High School’s class of 2022 at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 28.
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RED LAKE — Red Lake High School graduate Stacy Lussier has eclectic interests.

With the same variety of feelings about graduation, Lussier is both excited and nervous about leaving the high school environment she has been accustomed to over the years.

“I’m scared to leave the high school because I haven’t been out of school all my life. It’s going to be a change,” Lussier said. “I’m also excited because I’m starting a new chapter in my life though it feels like yesterday that I started my senior year of high school.”

Splitting her time

Her senior year has been somewhat split between the high school and Red Lake Nation College where she has already completed a few college classes.

Aside from the added layer of college finals and final high school milestones, Lussier has had to work through the challenges of not having a driver’s license or car to transport back and forth between the two.

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“I’d usually have to walk every Monday and Wednesday for my in-person college classes,” Lussier added. “During the winter, it was especially hard since it was so cold.”

With some college credits out of the way, Lussier will continue at Red Lake Nation College to earn her general associate’s degree.

Afterward, she will weigh her four-year college options — either the University of Minnesota-Morris, University of North Dakota or South Dakota State University — based on location.

“I don’t want a college that’s so rural, but I don’t want to be in a really urban area either,” Lussier said. “I like cities but also like the country. I just want a good ‘in-between.’”

Her intended field of study goes back and forth between psychology, science and English, and Lussier hopes to solidify her true interest before leaving RLNC.

“I like psychology because you learn about how humans work and I could become a therapist one day. I also like learning about the compounds of everything in science. I may also want to become an English teacher for elementary students,” Lussier detailed. “I have a lot of interests right now and I just want to learn so much.”

Lessons learned

Over the past two years, Lussier’s greatest lesson came when the coronavirus pandemic struck during her sophomore year.

“When everything shifted online, it was difficult since the teachers weren’t there to help us in person,” she said. “Most students wouldn’t even talk when the teachers asked us questions and everyone just fell behind. I also felt like I lost some social interaction skills and it was hard.”

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Remote class delivery continued until the spring semester of the 2020-2021 school year when students were given a choice to attend in-person classes or continue remotely.

Once her senior year came around, everything was back in person with safety measures in place.

“This year, there’s been a lot of masks, fewer students and COVID testing,” Lussier mentioned. “It’s been a lot, but everything is back to normal otherwise.”

For making it through the pandemic and life in general, Lussier credited her grandmother and older sister as vital parts of her support system.

“My grandma keeps me on the right track and makes sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. My sister has been through a lot and she’s shown me not to give up even though life can be hard,” she said. “They have both shown me how to get through and how to get by.”

For Lussier, education is the ticket to accomplishing a variety of goals.

“My motivation for doing everything that I’m doing is to get my life together. I want a nice house, a good job, a car,” she added. “And of course, to make my family proud.”

Red Lake High School’s graduation will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 28.

Daltyn Lofstrom is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on education and community stories.
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