109 graduate from CN adult education program
Cherokee Nation officials help celebrate 109 graduates from the tribe’s adult education program during a Sept. 20 ceremony at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation officials celebrated 109 graduates from the tribe’s adult education program during a special ceremony on Sept. 20.
Participants who completed the program and passed the GED high school equivalency test were awarded diplomas at a reception at Northeastern State University.
Liza Pinkston, of Stilwell, is one of the adult education program graduates. She began working part time for the CN in January and is now earning an associate’s degree at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw. After graduating the program, Pinkston began a full-time clerking position with the tribe’s Career Services in Stilwell.
“The Cherokee Nation has helped me tremendously,” Pinkston, 23, said. “If it wasn’t for the tribe’s GED and work experience programs, I don’t know what my life would be like. Being able to not only participate but to have a real graduation through the adult education program has been incredible. Having a graduation with the cap and gown ensemble was an experience that I had accepted I would miss out on. Without a doubt, I would recommend the adult education program.”
The adult education program allows participants to study subjects such as math, reading and writing at their pace until they are ready to take the high school equivalency test.
“I’m extremely proud of our Cherokee Nation citizens who took it upon themselves to pursue a better, brighter future,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The road we all take to education may be different, and it’s not always easy, but the results will pay off for years to come. I commend each person who earned this distinction.”
Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner served as the ceremony’s guest speaker, commending the graduates on their achievement and thanking the program staff for their efforts in investing in the program participants.
“I could not be more proud of this program and the staff who work under it. Their time and dedication to helping our citizens achieve something they may have considered unattainable is remarkable and to be commended,” Warner said. “I also congratulate the program participants on their momentous achievement and wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors.”
Career Services administers the adult education program. The tribe provides GED instruction at multiple locations throughout its 14-county jurisdiction with options for morning, afternoon and evening classes. Testing is available at Pryor, Sallisaw, Stilwell and Tahlequah.
“I’m so proud of the accomplishments these Cherokee citizens have made in the field of academia,” Career Services Executive Director Diane Kelley said. “The adult education program is one of the most rewarding programs provided by the Cherokee Nation, and I always look forward to seeing the next group of graduates turning their tassels.”
The program serves citizens of federally recognized tribes within the jurisdiction who are 16 years of age or older. For more information, call 918-458-0577.