Cherokee teen earns spot in special arts program
Cherokee Nation citizen Reagan Hargis, a sophomore at Stilwell High School, has been selected to attend a creative writing program at the Oklahoma Arts Institute this fall. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
STILWELL – Reagan Hargis, a Cherokee Nation citizen from Stilwell High School, has been selected to attend a creative writing program at the Oklahoma Arts Institute this fall.
The program promises to “enrich each student’s artistic study through the fall” for Oklahoma’s most talented high school students.
“Whenever I read more about it, I was like dang, this is cool,” the 15-year-old SHS sophomore said. “Since COVID happened, it’s an online school now so I wouldn’t have to leave. That’s what I wanted, not to leave.”
Hargis was nominated for the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Home Academy program by her favorite SHS teacher, Faith Phillips.
“Reagan is amazing,” Phillips said. “She’s really an incredible person. She is very quiet, and when I first encountered her last year, I had a certain perspective about her that she was just a really shy person. What I learned over the course of the year was that Reagan had a lot of things going on under the surface, including that she’s an incredible writer.”
During her freshman year, Hargis wrote a screenplay titled “Lockdown,” inspired by her feelings of anxiety.
“It’s about a school lockdown,” Hargis said. “There’s a bunch of kids in a room. They think they’re going to die so they start saying secrets that they haven’t told anybody just to get it off their conscience. The main character, her name is Harper, she has anxiety. I wanted to put my feelings of anxiety into her. I wanted that to mean something to me.”
During the class project, Hargis “emerged early on and took the project by the horns, so to speak,” Phillips said.
“So she quickly became the head writer of the project. She directed everything,” Phillips added. “She essentially, along with her classmates, wrote a full, five-act play that right now, the drama teacher is working with students here in the school to actually put the play on and possibly even film the play. She just had a writing skill that I had never seen before especially as a freshman. I was just blown away.”
The teen’s future plans involve the arts.
“I want to be an animator whenever I get older,” she said. “So if I could write a story that I could animate, that would be what I want to do.”