Apr 19, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterIt was the trip of a lifetime for Riverton sixth-grader Sath Ta Prue. Prue traveled to New Orleans recently to attend the NCAA Women's Final Four basketball tournament with her aunts Melissa and Mary Brown.
Prue's mother, Alma Brown, was unable to leave her duties as St. Stephen's Elementary principal and did not attend.
Prue is of the Northern Arapahoe and Rosebud Sioux Tribes
While in New Orleans the trio was able to spend time with the Louisville women's team and specifically with Cardinal sisters Jude and Shoni Schimmel.
The Schimmel girls are from Mission, Ore., and are enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
The Schimmels have emerged as positive role models on reservations across the nation. Their quiet, unassuming attitude off the court and tenacious playing style while on the floor lend them well to this role.
"Jude has the highest grade-point average of anyone in the final four," Prue said.
"I wanted to share with her what hard work and determination can do," Prue's aunt Melissa said. "It's a really big accomplishment. I can't explain how awesome it is. It shows everyone that if you have a dream and work hard you can make it come true."
Jude and Shoni's father, Rick. met the trio and invited them to join the team as the girls watched the Louisville men's team battle Michigan for the men's title on Monday night.
A big screen was set up in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans, and Prue and her aunts were able to mingle with team members and watch the game.
The upstart Louisville women fell hard to the powerful University of Connecticut 93-60 in the championship game.
"I can't believe we were there," Prue said. "It was a tribute to our family support."
The opportunity for a 12-year-old sixth-grader to interact with the two sisters had a unique and positive impact on Prue.
When asked what impressed her most about the Schimmel sisters Prue said. "Their accomplishments and their integrity. They made it to college and worked hard to get there."
The 5-10 Prue already is playing competitive basketball and hopes to follow in her heroes' footsteps.
"I'd like to go to college at Kansas," Prue said.
While she would love to play basketball for the Jayhawks, she has other goals as well. She would like to study some form of science in college.
"They were gracious and humble. They talked with you and their parents were awesome," Melissa Brown said of the Louisville stars. "It takes a reservation. Their values were inside them when they left. This is another way for our youth to show them a path."
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