Meskwaki School takes center stage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Meskwaki School takes center stage

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by John Wilmer

TAMA COUNTY (KWWL) -- One eastern Iowa school is hoping to link its past with the present by opening a brand new facility. The Meskwaki Settlement, in Tama County, unveiled a new multi-million dollar addition called Meskwaki High School.

To attend the school you must be at least a quarter Native American. The children on the settlement do have the option of going to public school, but school officials hope the new facility will keep them closer to home.  

"They've had a school since 1939 and at one time in 1968 they almost lost it and that really peaked their interest so they have been working very hard to have an elementary school and now a high school with this," said Superintendent Jerry Stephens.

Past tribal leaders wanted to make education on the settlement a priority and in 2003 high school age students began to attend, but the facilities were not good enough. This new wing is state of the art, costing around 22 million dollars. .

"Now it gives me great pleasure to see one of their dreams come true," said former Tribal Council Chair, Homer Bear Jr.  

Around 120 seventh through twelfth graders attend Meskwaki high school, but school officials are hoping those numbers increase.

"If we had all of the Native American students that live in and around here and went to South Tama also, were talking about K though 12 we would have about 450 students," said Stephens. 

"The new high school symbolizes the Meskwaki nations support, care, and development of the tribe's most precious resource and that's our children," said Tribal Council Vice-Chair, John Papakee.

This facility well over 100,000 square feet and comes with a new gym, classrooms, and administrative offices.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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