2013-09-23T00:00:00Z Achievers The Billings Gazette
September 23, 2013 12:00 am


(Photo)A couple whose public service is recognized for bettering the Billings and Yellowstone County community will be this year’s Black Tie Blue Jeans honorary chairs. The staunch support Bill and Mary Underriner have given to Rocky Mountain College will be celebrated at its annual scholarship benefit, Friday, Nov. 1 on the RMC campus.


Club Med Toastmasters #4900, under leadership of Distinguished Toastmaster and Club President Sue Tucker, has received the Distinguished Club Award after meeting five goals and membership requirements set forth by Toastmasters International. This nonprofit, self-paced educational organization is dedicated to improving skills in communication and leadership. Club Med Toastmasters meets from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m. every Friday in Room E of the Billings Clinic conference center. For more information, go online to or


In the service

Army National Guard Pvt. Richard Hernandez has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. A 2012 graduate of Worland High School in Wyoming, he is the son of Guadalupe Hernandez and stepson of Saul Martinez, both of Worland.


Army Spec. Brian S. Shulla has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. The son of Robert Shulla of Lincolnton, N.C., and Laura Verderame of Cody, Wyo., he is a 2007 graduate of Cody High School.


In the schools

(Photo)Cedric Black Eagle, president of Black Eagle Inc. and former chairman of the Crow Nation, received an International Golden Rule Award and honorary doctorate degree of philosophy in humanities during a ceremony on Aug. 30 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Grand Rapids Mich. The award event was conducted by Clyde Rivers Ph.D., international chancellor and representative of Kayiwa International University in Kampala, Uganda, Africa. Black Eagle was presented with the Golden Rule Award for his humanitarian leadership as he improves the quality of life for the Crow Nation. Honors were presented by Rivers, who is the North American representative to the Interfaith Peace Building Initiative to the United Nations in New York and the African Union. While chairman, Black Eagle worked on the Crow Tribe's Indian Water Rights Settlement Act. It was completed in December, 2010, resulting in a $460 million and 560,000 acre-feet-per-year settlement awarded to the Crow Nation by the United States.

Eleanore Denegre and Ezeckel Reichert, both students from Billings West High, have been selected as semifinalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. The nationwide semifinalist pool represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors, and the number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. To advance to being a finalist, Denegre and Reichert and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, providing their academic records, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received. They must also write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier performances on the qualifying test. They will be notified in February if they have been selected as finalists.

Hopa Mountain’s senior Indigenous Scholars of Promise have been accepted to the colleges of their choice, and each has received substantial scholarship funding. They are Kim Brandom, Montana State University Billings; Joire Chavez, Montana State University-Bozeman; Daniel Iron, Brown University; Gabe Iron, Linfield College; Snowy Johnson, University of Montana; JoRee Vi LaFrance, Dartmouth College; Courtney NotAfraid, University of Montana; Elizabeth Anne Rood, Mount St. Mary's College; Josiah SoldierWolf, Montana State University-Bozeman, and Leo John Bird, Stanford University.

Hopa Mountain, a Bozeman-based nonprofit, partners with the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, a Lame Deer-based nonprofit, to operate the Indigenous Scholars of Promise program. All of the ISP seniors were awarded scholarships this year. One of the Indigenous Scholars of Promise, Daniel Iron, won the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship.

All 20 Northern Cheyenne and Crow high school students attend Colstrip Public Schools, Hardin High School or St. Labre Indian School and were either seniors or juniors in school year 2012-2013. Benefits of being in the ISP program include visits to college campuses; bi-weekly coaching meetings throughout the school year; assistance with university essays, scholarship applications and application and testing fees; mentor and peer support throughout the college preparation process; and recognition as an Indigenous Scholar of Promise. For more information, call Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, executive director of Hopa Mountain at 406-586-2455.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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