Education Spotlight: Alyssa Murphy-Carey

Meet Alyssa, a former 5th grader from Horace Mann Elementary School. She was the attendance poster contest grand prize winner for 5th grade in Rapid City.

Her keen eye for detail and undeniable ability to apply every circumstance as an experience is truly what makes Alyssa a huge asset to our community. During Alyssa’s 9 years, she’s moved around a lot, which subsequently disrupted her attendance at school.

Alyssa has since settled in with her grandparents, and is consistently attending school.

We had the opportunity to chat with Alyssa about her success and to learn more about why reading and school attendance is important to her.

How did you come up with your attendance poster idea?

Note: The tree trunk represents attendance in school, and the words on the leaves represent positive behaviors that are practiced daily in school. When children attend school regularly, they grow and develop these skills they otherwise wouldn’t if they are absent.
“(The art) just popped into my mind. In school, we learn to be respectful, responsible and safe. Those are a few words that are on the leaves. The other leaves that say be polite and be nice which I learn when I’m with my friends at school. When I first drew my poster, it didn’t look the best; so I tried again and I’m really happy with how the second piece turned out.


“I like exploring new books on my new tablets, and I’m looking forward to reading the books that I won."

Why is school attendance important?

“School is kind of a once in a life-time chance, and while some kids go to college; some may not and this will be an experience for them when they get a job.”


"When I was in kindergarten, I didn’t know how to read words and pronounce them correctly. When I was going up in grade-levels, it became more difficult. By reading, I’m able to build on the words I've learned. It's like my grandpa always tell me, ‘take what you learn from last year, and take it with you for the next year.’”

What do you want to be went you grow up AND WHY?

“I want to be an artist, or a ghost-hunter, or a police officer! I really want to be a police officer so I can help my community." 


“P.E. (physical education) is really important for becoming a police officer because you have to run. It’s important I exercise regularly. Geography is also important so I can learn how to read maps and know how to get around town (as a police officer.)”

Who has been your greatest influence?

“Everyone here at Horace Mann Elementary School, my friends and grandparents have all been influential."

What are some lessons you’ve learned from your grandparents?

“My grandpa can’t spell very well, so I’ve learned that it’s important to learn how to spell and read. He’s also taught me how to take care of my money.”

For more information about the attendance poster contest, please contact Kayla Klein, Black Hills Reads Director at: