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
Former Reporter
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.

Education

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/18/2018 03:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Taylor Armbrister, a Cherokee Nation citizen and summer intern for the CN Environmental Resources Department, enjoys nature and plants so much that he earned a scholarship to Dartmouth, an Ivy League school. How he arrived in Tahlequah, via his hometown of Kansas, Oklahoma, by way of Hanover, New Hampshire, is nearly as impressive as the higher education institute he attends. “How I got here was by hearing from other Cherokees. I’m interested in environmental studies and Native American studies, and I needed something to do this summer. So I checked out Cherokee Nation’s Environmental Resources Department and spoke with Secretary Sara Hill,” Armbrister said. “She then got me in touch with Senior Director Pat Gwin and cultural biologist Feather Smith Trevino. They told me what I’d be doing, and it sounded interesting. I mean this would be a good first step learning what Cherokee Nation is doing when it comes to the environmental aspect of it.” He said the then drafted a proposal to the Dartmouth Native American Studies Department because it funds unpaid internships, which includes paying for housing, travel and food. “Anyway, they decided to fund it, so now I’m out here working with Feather until the end of August,” Armbrister said. And Smith Trevino said she’s happy to have the extra help. “This is actually the first time since I’ve been working in the garden that we’ve had an intern. It’s really helped me out because things that can take me all day long to get done. Taylor and I can knock out in about half a day.” Armbrister’s duties include weed eating and watering, but he also helped mulch the garden and is helping redesign a rock garden. “You never know how people are going to handle Oklahoma heat. It’s really starting to get hot now, but so far Taylor’s done really well. And I appreciate the extra pair of hands,” Trevino Smith said. Regarding his future and the college he attends, Armbrister said he’s taking things slowly. “So my plan is to have a double major and possibly go to law school afterwards, and maybe go into environmental law. I received a generous merit scholarship, so luckily I won’t be owing anything afterwards, which is why I’m considering law school. I’ve got time,” he said. According to its website, when Dartmouth was founded on Dec. 13, 1769, its charter created a college “for the education and instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land and also of English Youth and any others.” But this central tenet of the college’s charter went largely unfilled for 200 years as Dartmouth counted only 20 Native American students among its graduates prior to 1970. When Dartmouth’s 13th president took office in 1970, he rededicated the institution to education Natives. Following recruitment, Dartmouth welcomed 15 Native American students that fall. Also, a group of students voiced the need for an academic program dedicated to the study of Native American literature, culture and history. So a committee was formed to look into the creation of a Native American Studies program. The department recently celebrated its 4oth anniversary. The college’s refocused effort to educate Native Americans has given Taylor and other tribal citizens great opportunities. “Dartmouth now houses more Native Americans than any other Ivy (League school). The opportunities are endless,” he said.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/18/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Performers from Northeastern Oklahoma State University’s River City Players “Rock ‘n’ Roll Replay” were a big hit recently in front of a full house at the NSU Playhouse, located at 300 N. Muskogee Avenue. But that’s old news. The group is in midseason of the 35th year of its existence and Cherokee Nation citizens have always been involved, CN citizen and NSU River City Players Artistic Director Robyn Pursley said. “Two of our performers, Adam Childress and Trico Blue, are both Cherokee Nation citizens. In our band we have Bradley Spears, who’s our guitar player, and Farren Mayfield, who’s the leader of our band, and they are both Cherokee Nation citizens.” Pursley also said the show’s choreographer, Sydney Jennings, as well as herself are CN citizens. “The River City Players have been entertaining audiences since 1983. This will be my nineteenth season with them,” Pursley said. “RCP produces two different shows throughout the summer season. We do a rock ’n’ roll show and a country/western show. We call them Branson-style shows because it’s live music and dancing. We also have a live band on stage as well as singers and dancers.” Blue, who does a rendition of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” in the show, said he’s thrilled about the attendance each show. “I’ve fallen in love with getting to perform for my local community in the Tahlequah area. Being from Hulbert, Oklahoma, it’s great to see all the local people, including my Hulbert neighbors, coming in to see the show and loving it.” The River City Players have four performances a week. Visitors can see the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Replay” show at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday nights and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The “Country Tradition” shows are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Those interested in seeing the shows can call the NSU Playhouse box office at 918-444-4500. Tickets may also be purchased online. Go to <a href="http://www.nsuok.edu" target="_blank">www.nsuok.edu</a> and search for River City Players. Ticket prices start at $7.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
07/11/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s College Resources continues to provide scholarships to concurrent, undergraduate and graduate students to help them continue their educational endeavors. College Resources serves 147 high schools in the jurisdiction and surrounding counties. In the 2017-18 school yea, 4,325 undergraduate and graduates students and 417 concurrent students received financial aid. “We’re primarily focused toward high school juniors and seniors and then the current students that we have trying to keep them in school and trying to make sure they meet the deadlines,” Jennifer Pigeon, CN Education Services’ fiscal management and administration manager, said. College Resources provides concurrent enrollment scholarships, high school valedictorian and salutatorian scholarships, undergraduate scholarships, graduate scholarships and financial assistance for directed studies. Concurrent students who are high school juniors receive financial aid for tuition, books and fees for up to six hours of general education courses. Seniors only receive financial aid for books and fees due to a state waiver that pays for tuition. Senior valedictorians and salutatorians receive a one-time scholarship upon graduating high school. Valedictorians receive up to $1,000 and salutatorians receive up to $750. Undergraduate and graduate students receive up to $2,000 per semester. “Once they’re accepted, undergrads are required to maintain a 2.0, concurrent a 2.5, and our graduates just need to remain in good standing with the college that they’re in,” Pigeon said. She said to renew their scholarships students must turn in their grades and community service hours. One hour of community service is required for every $100 received. Pigeon said students taking part in directed studies are limited to a University of Oklahoma rate of an equivalent degree meaning. For example, if a student is studying to become a doctor, dentist, or lawyer and do not choose to attend OU, College Resources will pay up to whatever OU’s rate would charge by paying for the tuition, books, fees, any required equipment and a housing stipend. CN citizens and citizens of federally recognized tribes are eligible to receive College Resources financial aid. However, federally recognized tribal citizens besides CN citizens are only awarded if they qualify for the federal Pell grant known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. The award varies based on the number of applicants. College Resources also provides a computer lab at the W.W. Keeler Complex equipped with six computer stations, printers and scanners to help students with the application process, and College Resources staff also participate in college and career fairs such the tribe’s College and Career Night to promote scholarship opportunities to students. Information, applications and deadlines for the 2019-20 school year can be found at <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/Services/Education/College-Resources" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org/Services/Education/College-Resources</a> or by calling 1-800-256-0671, ext. 5465 or emailing <a href="mailto: collegeresources@cherokee.org">collegeresources@cherokee.org</a>.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/08/2018 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Tuition will increase at 21 of Oklahoma's 25 higher education institutions. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on Thursday approved tuition and fees for each of the state's colleges and universities. Only the University of Oklahoma, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Eastern Oklahoma State College and Murray State College did not seek a tuition increase. The Oklahoman reports that several college presidents cited the need to raise faculty and staff pay as a reason for the increase. The increases range from $130.80 at Carl Albert State College to $480 at both Oklahoma Panhandle State University and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Tuition at Oklahoma State University will rise by $280.50.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/03/2018 04:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An anti-tax group seeking to roll back a package of tax increases approved by the Oklahoma Legislature to help fund a teacher pay raise said Monday it is abandoning the effort. The Oklahoma Supreme Court's recent decision to toss the group's ballot initiative didn't leave enough time to gather the 42,000 signatures needed to place the question on the November ballot, said Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, one of the organizers of Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite. "The court really cut us short on time," Vuillemont-Smith said. The anti-tax group led by former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn was seeking a public vote to repeal tax hikes on cigarettes, fuel and energy production that were approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature earlier this year to help fund an average teacher pay raise of $6,100. The tax increases took effect on Sunday. But the Supreme Court ruled a description of the proposal on signature pages was insufficient and that its ballot title was misleading. The court said the group would have to start over with a new petition and gather the required number of signatures by July 18. Lawmakers were seeking to placate teachers frustrated with low pay and dwindling state funding. Despite the raise, teachers walked off the job for two weeks this spring and descended on the Capitol seeking more funding for public schools. Vuillemont-Smith said the group was not opposed to raising teacher pay, but said state leaders should have found other ways to fund the raises without raising taxes. The tax increases were the first in Oklahoma in more than two decades since voters approved a constitutional requirement that any tax increase receive a three-fourth's vote of the Legislature or be approved by a vote of the people. Opposition to the tax hikes has come at a political cost . Many of the anti-tax Republicans in the House who voted against the package faced primary opposition this year. Two GOP incumbents were defeated in last week's primary election. Several others were forced into a primary runoff after failing to secure a majority of votes in the primary.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
06/25/2018 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – Cherokee Nation citizen LaNice Belcher, a junior at Oklahoma City University, is going into her third and final year as an instrument music education major in the fall. Belcher attends OCU’s Wanda L. Bass School of Music. She said she takes 16 to 17 credit hours per semester while attending rehearsals as a bassoon player and teaches every evening at a music-based, after-school program called El Sistema. “That’s probably the best part of me going off to school because I work with inner city youth in downtown Oklahoma City, and so the program’s really great. We feed them, they get homework help, and we have classes for them,” Belcher said. Belcher said she was interested in instrument music education to become a teacher upon graduating from OCU. But in light of the recent Oklahoma teacher walkout, she’s considering other options such as obtaining a master’s degree in bassoon performance, nonprofit leadership, or getting a degree to become a radiology technician. “When I came to this program it was just so music-heavy I thought I was starting to burn out a little bit. I was starting to lose the focus of where the love originally came from. For me to be able to balance that and have the medicine side of things is like really vital,” she said. Before the end of this past spring semester, Belcher was elected OCU’s Collegiate National Association for Music Educators’ president for her local chapter to help create opportunities for her fellow music educators. She’s also involved in an upcoming collaboration called Project 21, where she’ll work with a local group at OCU to work with music composition majors, give fellow musicians the opportunity to play modern music compositions and get to know future colleagues such as music directors in the Oklahoma City area. For the summer, Belcher said she has an internship in OKC for the Inasmuch Fellowship to work with the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the Paseo Arts Association to do grant research, fundraising, event planning and social media outreach. She also will continue her job at El Sistema throughout the summer and into the fall semester. “I take pride in the things. I want to do them well. If can’t do them well I won’t do them,” Belcher said.