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St. Labre Indian School Students Excel at the Mount

David Charpentier
St. Labre Indian School

Allyson Bahr is the fourth St. Labre Indian School alumni to graduate from Mount St. Mary's University in the past seven years, and this fall there will be three St. Labre graduates studying at the Mount.

thumbnail_allyson-bearchum-graduation.jpgAllyson's progress as a student and person the past four years has been, in her grandpa's words, "pretty remarkable." She just turned 21 before graduation in May, but her youth didn't stop her from excelling in her studies.

Achievement has always characterized Allyson. When I approached her as a junior in high school with the opportunity to attend the Global Youth Village Leadership camp in Virginia, she responded by saying, "I'll go. I love to learn new things, and I'm open to any learning experience."

Allyson's curiosity led her to seek out a challenging educational college environment, and she found it at Mount St. Mary's University, a highly regarded Catholic university founded in 1808.

"As a freshman, Allyson, like many of her peers was a bit quiet at first," Dr. Michelle Ohanian, a professor in the Education Department, told me. However, she had Allyson in class again as a junior, and said this about her progress: "After seeking feedback and revising her work, Allyson's literature review was graduate school level of performance."

Soon the accolades started piling up. Allyson was nominated for the National Society of Leadership and Success. She made the dean's list this past fall. And last spring, she earned the highest grade point average of her career.

Mount St. Mary's has made a commitment to provide an extra layer of support for St. Labre students. Much of this comes from the Education Department with Dr. Carolyn Cook taking the lead.

"It has been a joy watching Allyson gain confidence, knowledge and leadership skills during her journey at the Mount," Dr. Cook shared with me. "She is a positive person who will lead her life significantly as she serves her community."

Allyson sums up her educational experiences with words of gratitude: "I am extremely blessed to have received an education from Mount St. Mary's and hope to be a role model for other Native students who wish to continue their education. I want to thank St. Labre for all the opportunities it provided me, for the amazing scholarship to Mount St. Mary's and for the continued support while in college through the Mentoring Program."

Allyson's next stop is the University of Montana where she has been accepted into the Master of Arts program in sociology.  

Two St. Labre graduates, Maria Stollenwerk and Myron Solorzano, will be first-year students at the Mount this year. They will join St. Labre graduate and Mount sophomore Micah Gardner on campus.

David Charpentier
St. Labre Indian School