http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgThe Gates Millennium Scholars Program funded Cherokee Nation citizen Felicia Manning’s 2016 study abroad trip to Mossel Bay, South Africa. She interned with Oceans Research, an organization that studies marine wildlife in an effort to manage and conserve South African wildlife. COURTESY
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program funded Cherokee Nation citizen Felicia Manning’s 2016 study abroad trip to Mossel Bay, South Africa. She interned with Oceans Research, an organization that studies marine wildlife in an effort to manage and conserve South African wildlife. COURTESY

Cherokee Gates scholars reflect on program’s influence

Cherokee Nation citizen Wrighter Weavel, 20, received the Gates Millennium Scholarship in 2015 and plans to transfer to the University of Oklahoma to complete his undergraduate studies. COURTESY Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient and United Keetoowah Band citizen Corey Still, 26, graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2013 with a bachelor's in Native American Studies with an emphasis in education. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Wrighter Weavel, 20, received the Gates Millennium Scholarship in 2015 and plans to transfer to the University of Oklahoma to complete his undergraduate studies. COURTESY
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
06/16/2017 09:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – It has been more than a year since the last cohort for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program was announced, giving several Cherokee recipients time to reflect on the scholarship’s legacy and impact it has made on their lives.

“It was just a huge, huge blessing,” Felicia Manning said.

Manning is one of 326 Cherokees who are citizens of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes to receive the scholarship during the program’s 16-year run, according to the American Indian Graduate Center, which oversees the GMSP.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation created the program in 2000. It funds any undergraduate study area and seven graduate study areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and science.

A 2010 scholarship selection, Manning recently completed her first year of graduate study in marine science at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida.

The program also funded Manning’s 2016 study abroad trip to Mossel Bay, South Africa. While there she tagged sharks with Oceans Research, an organization dedicated to Southern African wildlife management and conservation via marine research.

“That’s a group that I had been following for a long time,” Manning said. “The fact that they actually picked my school, and I’m partnered with them and I get to do my thesis work with them, that has just been so awesome. Gates (scholarship) definitely helped pave the way for me to do that.”

The scholarship is also paving a better future for Wrighter Weavel, 20, a 2015 recipient.

“I wasn’t even going to go to college, but when I found out that I got Gates, that opened so many opportunities for me to go anywhere I want, to experience any life, any culture in the entire United States,” he said.

Weavel said he plans to transfer to the University of Oklahoma to complete his undergraduate studies in education or medicine, with an overall goal to obtain a doctorate.

“I want to get my Ph.D. and I want to be called Dr. Weavel because I have a plan,” he said. “I want to have little ones, and I want them to look at me and see where I came from and to understand that it doesn’t matter the background you have, if you want to do something, you can do whatever you set your mind to.”

Weavel said he has also benefited from the scholarship beyond financial assistance.

“They offer mentors, which the mentors are a huge help,” he said. “They really help expand your mind on exactly what the scholarship can do for you.”

Weavel’s mentor is Corey Still, 26, a United Keetoowah Band citizen who received the scholarship in 2009.

Though initially interested in business and law, Still is now obtaining a doctorate in adult and higher education at OU.

“I really began to fall in love with this idea of education and how we can help our communities through education,” he said. “I really wanted to be able to help other people and especially other students.”

Still said he looks forward to joining the few Native American men with doctorates, which he decided to pursue because of the “faith” the GMSP puts into its scholars. “Whether they know it or not, that by selecting us as scholars and putting a little bit of faith into us, we’re going to go out and make something with those scholarships and with those degrees, that we’re going to make some type of impact within our community or greater society.”

Still serves on the Gates Millennium Alumni Advisory Council as the American Indian Graduate Center liaison and said he appreciates the “communal and family ties” the GMSP creates. “You really see the impact this scholarship has, and not just within Indian Country, because the scholarship itself is for minority students in under-represented fields. And so you really see the connections that are created across cultural barriers and across the country and it really does become a family.”

Of the Cherokee recipients, 313 are CN citizens, eight are UKB citizens and five are Eastern Band citizens.

In its 16 years, the GMSP funded more than 20,000 scholars and awarded more than $934 million in scholarship funds. The program ended in 2016, but the Hispanic Scholarship Fund manages a new version.

Editor’s Note: Reporter Brittney Bennett is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᎪᎯᎸ ᎾᏃ ᏑᎶᏘᏴᏓᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏂ ᎤᎾᏓᏢᎩ ᎠᏂᎦᏟᏯ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎩ Gates Millennium Scholars Program ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏢ, ᏓᏂᏅᏁᎲ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏁᏍᎦ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎾᏁᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᏓᎾᎴᏂᏙᎲᎢ.

“ᎢᎦᏃ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏰᎸᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Felicia Manning.

Manning ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏊ ᎾᏍᎩ 326 ᎾᏂᎥ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎾᎿ ᏦᎢ ᏄᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎨᎪᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎾᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏁᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎬᏩᏂᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᏧᏂᏁᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎳᏚ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏂᎦᏯᎢᏐᎢ, ᎾᏂᏪᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᏟ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ GMSP.

ᎾᏍᎩ Bill ᎠᎴ Melinda Gates Foundation ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᎯᎠ ᎬᏩᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᎲ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎾᎿ Ꮭ ᏧᏍᏆᏛ ᏱᎩ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ: ᎯᎠ ᏥᏕᎪᏪᎵ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗᎢ computer science, ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ, engineering, library science, ᏗᏎᏍᏗᏅ, public health and science.

ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏍᎪᎯ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏑᏰᏓ, Manning ᎾᏝᎬ ᏚᏍᏆᏛ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏑᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏩᏛᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ Marine science ᎾᎿ Jacksonville University ᎾᎿ Jacksonville, Florida.

ᎯᎠ ᎤᏙᏢᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎬᏩᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ Manning ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏓᎳᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᏭᏁᏙᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ Mossel Bay, South Africa. ᎾᎿ ᏪᏙᎲ ᏚᏬᏪᎳᏅ ᎯᎠ sharks ᎾᎿ ᎠᎻᏉ ᎤᏂᏯᎸᏍᎩ, ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ Southern African ᎢᎾᎨ ᎡᎾᎢ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗᏕᎦ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ via marine ᎤᏂᏯᎸᏍᎨᎢ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏥᏍᏓᏩᏗᏙᎲ ᎪᎯᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Manning. “ᎾᏍᏳᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏑᏰᏒ ᏗᏆᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏥᏙᎩᎾᏦᎸᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏃᎬᏁᎸ thesis ᏂᎦᏓ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᎦᎢ ᎠᏆᎵᎮᎵᏨᎢ. Gates (scholarship) ᎤᏙᎯᏳ ᎬᎩᏍᏕᎸᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎬᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎬᎢ.”

ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏤᏢ ᏫᏥᎦᏛᎢ ᎾᎿ Wrighter Weavel, 20, ᎾᏍᎩ 2015 ᎤᏁᏍᏗᎢ.

“ ᏝᏃ ᏱᏙᏛᎦᏕᎶᏆᎢᏎ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏣᏆᏕᎶᎰᏒ ᎠᎩᏁᏒ Gates, ᎾᎿ ᎤᎵᏍᏚᎢᏒ ᏓᏝᏅᏓᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏇᏅᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎬ, ᎾᎿ ᎠᎩᎦᏙᎢᎲᏍᏗ ᎦᎴᏂᏙᎲᎢ, ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᎯᎲᎢ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Weavel ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏚᏭᎪᏛ ᎤᏁᏟᏴᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ University of Oklahoma ᏧᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ Ꮟ ᎤᏁᏓ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎤᏁᏍᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᎬᏩᏟ ᎠᎴ ᏅᏬᏘ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎨᏒ a doctorate.

“ᎠᏆᏚᎵ ᎠᎩᏁᏍᏗ Ph.D. ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᏚᎵ ᎬᎩᏯᏅᏙᏗ Dr. Weavel ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏓᏊᎪᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎠᏆᏚᎵ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏗᎩᎧᎯ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᎬᎩᎧᏃᏗ ᏃᎴ ᎤᎾᏅᏘ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏳ ᏂᏛᏆᏓᎴᏅ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏃᏟᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏂᏓᏣᏓᎴᏅ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎢᏳᏃ ᏱᏣᏚᎵ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎢᏣᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏱᎾᏛᎦ.”

Weavel ᎤᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ Corey Still, ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ, ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎩᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᏎ ᎠᎴ ᏚᎩᏎ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.

ᎠᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᎢᏳᏛᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ, Still ᏃᏊ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ doctorate ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏔᏂ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ OU.

“ᏙᎯᏳ ᏥᎸᏉᏗᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦ ᏗᎬᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏕᏲᏗ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᏙᎯᏳ ᏯᏆᏚᎵ ᎡᎵ ᏯᏆᏛᏗ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎦᎦᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ.”

Still ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎦᏖᏃᎯ ᏧᏖᎳᏕᏗ ᎠᏂᎦᏲᏟ ᎠᏂᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ doctorates ᏧᏂᎾᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᏁᎶᏗ ᎤᏁᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ “ᎤᏬᎯᏳᏒᎢ” ᎾᏍᎩ GMSP ᏧᏢᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ. “ᎢᏳᏃ ᏳᎾᏅᏘ ᎠᎴ ᏝᏱᎩ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏑᏰᏍᎬ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎪᎪᎯᏳᎲᏍᎬ, ᏓᏲᏣᏂᎩᏏ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎣᏍᏗ ᏗᎬᏙᏗ ᏂᏙᏓᏲᏨᏁᎵ ᎯᎠ ᏙᏣᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏓᏲᏣᏁᎶᏔᏂ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏧᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ.”

Still ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ Gates Millennium Alumni Advisory Council ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᏟ liaison ᎠᎴ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᎾᏍᎩ “ᏴᏫ ᏓᏁᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏚᎾᏓᏂᏴᏛ” ᎾᏍᎩ GMSP ᎪᏢᏍᎬᎢ. “ᏂᎯᏃ ᏙᎦᏳ ᎢᏥᎪᏩᏘᏍᎪ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ, ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ, ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎦᏲᏢ ᎢᏗᏝ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏓᏁᎲᎢ ᎰᏩ ᎾᎾᏛᎩᏍᎬᎾ. ᎢᏗᎪᏩᏘᏃ ᏓᏓᏂᏴᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏗᏫᏍᏗ ᏓᏁᎲ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏚᏓᎴᎾᎥ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏗᏫᏍᏗ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯᏳ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ.”

ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏚᏂᏢᎥ, 313 ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏁᎳ, ᏧᏁᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ UKB ᎠᏁᎳ ᎠᎴ ᎯᏍᎩ ᏯᏂ ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎠᏁᎳ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᎳᏚ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ, ᎾᏍᎩ GMSP ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎾᏃ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎨᏥᏅᏁᏗ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎾᏃ 934 ᎢᏳᏆᏗᏅᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏕᎳ. ᎯᎠ ᎤᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏓᎳᏚ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ Hispanic Scholarship Fund manges a new version.

Editor’s note: Reporter Brittney Bennett is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient.

About the Author
Brittney Bennett is from Colcord, Oklahoma, and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band.  She is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and summa cum laude honors.
 
While in college, Brittney became involved with the Native American Journalists Association and was an inaugural NAJA student fellow in 2014. Continued mentorship from NAJA members and the willingness to give Natives a voice led her to accept a multimedia internship with the Cherokee Phoenix after college.  
 
She left the Cherokee Phoenix in early 2016 before being selected as a Knight-CUNYJ Fellow in New York City later that same year. During the fellowship, she received training from industry professionals with The New York Times and instructors at the City University of New York. As part of the program, she completed a social media internship with USA Today’s editorial department.
 
Now that Brittney has made her way back to the Cherokee Phoenix, she hopes to use the experience gained from her travels to benefit Indian Country and the Cherokee people.
brittney-bennett@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Brittney Bennett is from Colcord, Oklahoma, and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band. She is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and summa cum laude honors. While in college, Brittney became involved with the Native American Journalists Association and was an inaugural NAJA student fellow in 2014. Continued mentorship from NAJA members and the willingness to give Natives a voice led her to accept a multimedia internship with the Cherokee Phoenix after college. She left the Cherokee Phoenix in early 2016 before being selected as a Knight-CUNYJ Fellow in New York City later that same year. During the fellowship, she received training from industry professionals with The New York Times and instructors at the City University of New York. As part of the program, she completed a social media internship with USA Today’s editorial department. Now that Brittney has made her way back to the Cherokee Phoenix, she hopes to use the experience gained from her travels to benefit Indian Country and the Cherokee people.

Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
11/21/2017 12:00 PM
SEATTLE – A newly released report highlights the challenges facing urban Native American youths in public schools and showcases seven alternative public education programs that are positively impacting these challenges. The report, “Resurgence: Restructuring Urban American Indian Education,” was released Nov. 16 by the National Urban Indian Family Coalition. According to a release, it tracks the history of the U.S. public education system’s relationship with Native American communities and the ongoing disparities that exist within academic achievement data for urban American Indian students, commonly referred to as “the achievement gap.” The report states that educators and administrators have worked with policy officials and the philanthropic community to reform the system to close this achievement gap, but the gap still persists for all students of color and is especially bleak for urban American Indian students. “We wanted to provide a roadmap for other urban Indigenous communities to follow on behalf of their own students,” Dr. Joe Hobot, the report’s author, said. “I hope (the report) will spark further evaluation and discussion by those involved in this arena.” The report identifies six major urban centers – Denver, Seattle, Albuquerque, Portland, Minneapolis and Los Angeles – that have high concentrations of American Indian students who attend local public schools and investigates seven alternative education programs offered to these students in each city. The report states these alternative education programs leverage traditional Indigenous culture as a means of securing academic achievement and have earned respect and widespread support from the urban American Indian communities they serve. “Education is an extremely critical area of need and attention for urban Indian communities across the country,” NUIFC Executive Director Janeen Comenote said. “The NUIFC is proud to be able to amplify the voices and practices of the phenomenal sites and schools highlighted in this critically needed work.” Edgar Villanueva, Schott Foundation for Public Education vice president and one of the report’s sponsors, said closing the achievement gap is just the beginning. “Policy leaders, philanthropic partners and community leaders must also focus beyond academic achievement to close the opportunity gaps that contribute to inequitable education outcomes,” Villanueva said. “Closing the opportunity gap is the only way we will make progress toward closing academic achievement gaps that separate most American Indian, black and Hispanic students from their white peers.” Visit <a href="http://nuifc.org" target="_blank">http://nuifc.org</a> for more information or a copy of the report.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
11/20/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Students from the Tahlequah area had the opportunity to learn about colleges, universities and vocational schools during the Cherokee Nation’s College and Career Night at Sequoyah School’s “The Place Where They Play” gym, with a second event planned for Nov. 30 in Vinita. “The College and Career Night was a way for us to inform students and the parents about scholarship opportunities not only available from Cherokee Nation, but from federal and state sources that they may qualify for, like FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), to attend either vo-tech or college,” Jennifer Pigeon, CN finance manager and College Resources interim manager, said. With 22 representatives present from schools such as Northeastern State University, University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, Pigeon said the event allowed students and their families the opportunity to learn about schools and programs. “This night is important to us so that we can help share opportunities, let families meet the various colleges that are available, any vo-techs that they might want to attend and to familiarize themselves with application processes, admission criteria. Some schools offer scholarships that are only available at their school, so this will let them know about some of those opportunities that are available,” she said. Aside from meeting school representatives, Pigeon said students also had the chance to attend higher learning-related presentations. “We are going to have a presentation from FAFSA, and then Indian Capital (Technology Center) from Tahlequah will do a presentation followed by (CN) Career Services, who will let us know what they offer to assist in that area, and then we’ll talk about colleges,” she said. CN citizen Hannah Hudgens, a Sallisaw High School senior, said although she knows what her plans for the future entail, she thought it would be good to attend to learn of tribal scholarships. “I know I want to do speech language pathology, but I was just wondering what the Cherokee Nation could help me do in terms of scholarships and giving back to my tribal heritage,” she said. She said she encourages other high school students to take “advantage” of available opportunities. “Just take advantage of the opportunities around you in terms of scholarships and just learn more about Cherokee heritage,” she said. OU College of Nursing academic advisor Dawn Johnson said she hoped to speak with students who had an interest in nursing. “We have several programs at the undergraduate level, but the one that high school students may be most interested in is what we refer to as the traditional BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) program,” she said. “This is a program where you take two years of your basic prerequisites and you could do that close to home. You could do it at OU-Norman or at another accredited school and then you would apply to the College of Nursing and you would be with us for two years.” Johnson said the event gives students the opportunity to find out that college is “accessible” regardless of career choice. “I just think this affords them an excellent opportunity to find out what opportunities are available, what scholarships, what might be the best fit for them as far as a career, but also a school,” she said. Pigeon said a second event was planned for 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center in Vinita.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/08/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation’s College Resource Center is hosting two College & Career Night events in November – one in Tahlequah and a second in Vinita. On Nov. 14, representatives from at least a dozen colleges and universities as well as vocational schools at 5:30 p.m. will be at Sequoyah Schools’ The Place Where They Play in Tahlequah. Visitors will receive information on CN’s college and vocational scholarships and on the Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA. A similar event will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 in the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center in Vinita, with college and university representatives as well as vocational school representatives on site. “We know it is never too early for students and their families to begin thinking about life after high school, including the scholarship and career opportunities they might have,” Ron Etheridge, Education Services deputy executive director, said. “These are important decisions for students. We believe the College & Career Night events in Tahlequah and Vinita will make the process more informative and convenient by placing all of these resources together in one setting.” Doors will open at 5 p.m. and both events are free and open to the public. Refreshments and door prizes will be available. The grand prize is a Dell laptop computer. For more information, email <a href="mailto: chrissy-marsh@cherokee.org">chrissy-marsh@cherokee.org</a> or <a href="mailto: jennifer-pigeon@cherokee.org">jennifer-pigeon@cherokee.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/07/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Foundation recently completed its “Leave a Legacy” matching campaign, which created more than $200,000 in new scholarship opportunities for Cherokee students. The campaign, launched in 2016, allocated $100,000 to match gifts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 on a first-come, first-served basis. Two recent endowments helped CNF achieve its fundraising goal. “The matching campaign has been a huge success, and we can’t thank everyone enough for the support and encouragement along the way,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “Our board of directors, (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker and many council members played a huge role in helping us spread the word about this opportunity, and we are so happy to see so many people take part in creating opportunities for Cherokee students.” The Peruzzi Family Scholarship was established to honor the memory of Faye Fogleman Kircher, a longtime educator from Locust Grove. The scholarship will support a student living within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction who is enrolled full time at a four-year, post-secondary institution. The Beauchamp family of Fayetteville, Arkansas, established its fund to honor the legacy of Alan Beauchamp. The parameters of this scholarship are to be determined. At a Sept. 26 meeting, the CNF board voted unanimously to continue matching qualifying donations beyond the $100,000, as funds allow. “We know that there is no greater investment we can make than in the education of our youth, but the simple truth is that we can’t do it alone,” Tonya Rozell, CNF board president, said. “By extending the matching program, we hope to find new partners interested in honoring a legacy and creating new opportunities for Cherokee students. We are certainly more effective when we work together and combine our resources.” Anyone interested in establishing an endowment is encouraged to call Randall at (918) 207-0950 or email <a href="mailto: jr@cherokeenationfoundation.org">jr@cherokeenationfoundation.org</a>. For more information on scholarship opportunities or to apply online, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeenationfoundation.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeenationfoundation.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/03/2017 04:00 PM
ADA, Okla. – Sequoyah High School’s drama department placed fourth overall in the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s One-Act Play Competition on Oct. 28 on the East Central University campus. Teams were judged on their sets, crew loads in and loads out of the set, acting abilities and directing, with rules requiring the production be completed in less than 45 minutes. To qualify, the SHS drama team first competed at regionals held Oct. 6 at Oologah High School where it placed second, advancing to state. SHS senior Katelyn Morton and junior Michael Lenaburg received All-State actor awards and will receive All-State letter jackets for the achievements. “I’ve been acting under my drama mama and teacher, Mrs. (Amanda) Ray, since I started as a freshman at Sequoyah Schools. To achieve the All-State actor award as a senior is very special to me. I want to thank fellow All-State actor Michael Lenaburg, my SHS drama team and Mrs. Ray for allowing me to take part in this awesome competition,” Morton said. For more information on Sequoyah’s drama department, call 918-453-5400.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
10/31/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Current and upcoming college students seeking higher education funding can apply for several scholarships with the Cherokee Nation Foundation beginning Nov. 1. Students must visit www.cherokeenation.academicworks.com and create an account to complete the general scholarship application, which closes Jan. 31. Once completed, the system will match students to individual scholarships for which they are eligible to apply. The general application takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and will require students to have their Certificate Degree of Indian Blood cards, copies of their most recent transcripts and contact information for personal references. Scholarships are awarded on an annual basis and selected recipients will be announced in April. More than 15 scholarships are available, with some being tailored to a specific field of study such as pottery, business, engineering or psychology. Some scholarships are also specific to the institution in which a student is enrolled such as Oklahoma State University, Rogers State University and the University of Tulsa. Each scholarship has specific requirements, including meeting a minimum grade-point-average and location of residence. The Bill Rabbit Legacy Art Scholarship is also open to Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band citizens alike. Students are encouraged to review all requirements before submitting their applications. CNF scholarships are not income-based, Whitney Dittman, Cherokee Nation Businesses public relations specialist, said. This means students will not have to produce income statements or documents relating to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA when completing their applications. CNF officials announced on Oct. 27 that the organization has raised more than $200,000 in scholarship opportunities due to its “Leave a Legacy” matching campaign. “The matching campaign has been a huge success, and we can’t thank everyone enough for the support and encouragement along the way,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “Our board of directors, (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker and many council members played a huge role in helping us spread the word about this opportunity, and we are so happy to see so many people take part in creating opportunities for Cherokee students.” The announcement follows a Sept. 26 meeting in which CNF board members voted to continue matching qualifying donations beyond $100,000, as funding allows. “We know that there is no greater investment we can make than in the education of our youth, but the simple truth is that we can’t do it alone,” Tonya Rozell, CNF board president, said. “By extending the matching program, we hope to find new partners interested in honoring a legacy and creating new opportunities for Cherokee students. We are certainly more effective when we work together and combine our resources.” CNF scholarships differ from the undergraduate and graduate scholarships offered by the tribe’s College Resource Center, which require students to complete one community service hour for every $100 received. The application for that scholarship opens Feb. 1 and can be completed at <a href="http://www.scholarships.cherokee.org" target="_blank">www.scholarships.cherokee.org</a>. For more information on CNF scholarships, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeenationfoundation.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeenationfoundation.org</a> or call 918-207-0950.