Favorite Book: Uncover A Shark
While culture resides in the souls and hearts of its people, when it is infused into one’s education it can create beautiful experiences and brighter futures. Wicahpi (Woe – Chah – Pi), otherwise known as Choppy, is a great example that at a young age one can demonstrate an excellent balance of understanding their roots, engaging in education, and creating learning environments of inclusion.
Continually performing at or above grade level in all of his subjects, learning was never an issue for Wicahpi. Rather, his issues revolved around his self-confidence. “Having the social skills and and the ability to express himself were his struggles,” says his great aunt and caregiver Binesikwe. “Choppy had all the tools and resources he needed within him to succeed in school. He just needed a push in confidence and positive affirmations to empower his spirit into the student he is today, and Way to Grow was a big part of that.”
Binesikwe credits Way to Grow, and specifically their Family Educator Alison, on making Native American culture an important part of his educational experience. “It makes it more personal and special that Choppy is learning through an Indigenous lens,” she says. “At seven, he has not only recognized how important his culture is, but he has taken a proactive interest in participating and helping others learn as well. Way to Grow has helped bolster the cultural values within his learning by having a Native American Family Educator like Alison who knows firsthand how important it is.”
Described as intelligent, social, and witty, Wicahpi has no problem sharing what he has learned through a fun-spirited approach, but he also shares the stage with his classmates because he is very interested in learning from them as well. “He looks for opportunities to absorb information. It doesn’t matter if you are an adult or another child. If he’s got something he can show you and you’ve got something you can show him, he is present and engaged,” says his Way to Grow Family Educator Alison.
We know that Wicahpi will be one to watch in the future, because it is ingrained in his spirit and genes. He was named after his great uncle Wichahpi Ohitika which means “Brave Star” in Lakota. So with an open-mind, new-found confidence, and a willing curiosity to understand the communities and world around him – we cannot wait to see how brightly this star will shine!