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True Hope

ASU Impact True Hope

By Beth Giudicessi

When Mariah McGhee was called to her high school principal’s office the spring of her senior year, she thought she was in trouble.

In reality, she and classmate Savannah Jacobs were told they were each awarded an all-expenses scholarship to attend Arizona State University.

"When I found out that I got it, it was life changing. Completely life changing," said McGhee, whose dream school is ASU, but who feared she wouldn’t be able to afford college. “To go to school with no student loans is...amazing."

"We both cried and had tears streaming down our faces. It was a huge gift," said Jacobs.

Their scholarships are part of an effort by the True Sioux Hope Foundation and ASU scholars to collaborate with tribal leaders to bring permanent, positive change to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation—the poorest place in America and where McGhee and Jacobs grew up.

ASU Special Adviser to the President and President’s Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice Bryan Brayboy hopes the lessons from Pine Ridge will become a model for other universities and entities looking to boost tribal communities nationwide.

McGhee and Jacobs are now midway through their first semester in college and are two of more than 2,700 indigenous students enrolled in ASU this fall.

"The goal is to get a college degree from ASU," said Jacobs. "[And] come back to Pine Ridge and help in the fight."

Read more about their story at:

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