Dr. Gloria Sly speaks with Cherokee Nation employee Marcia Soap during Sly’s retirement reception on Feb. 27 at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah. Sly retired in December from her position as education liaison. She received a 25-year service award on Dec. 29. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Sly retires after 25-year career with CN
Dr. Gloria Sly, second from left, talks with friends and fellow Cherokee Nation employees during her retirement reception on Feb. 27 at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah. She worked for the tribe for 25 years. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Friends and family gathered Feb. 27 at the Tribal Complex to honor Dr. Gloria Sly’s years of service to the Cherokee Nation as she retired from her education liaison position.
Sly received a 25-year service award on Dec. 29, but she began working for the CN long before that. The CN citizen graduated from Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and mathematics in 1976. Weeks later, she began working for the CN’s Early Childhood Unit, developing daycare curriculum.
“When I went into education as a young person I didn’t know a lot about what we could do as individuals, so I thought ‘well I need to teach and help all Cherokee students learn as much as they can about how they can reach their potential.’ That is what guided me through the whole of my career,” Sly said.
With a passion for education, she obtained a master’s degree in school administration and counseling from NSU. She also holds a doctorate in education administration and staff development from the University of Oklahoma.
Sly has worked “off and on” for CN since 1976 and in several areas of CN Education Services throughout her career.
Aside from education liaison, she served as Sequoyah High School superintendent, assistant director to the Education Services director and director of Language and Cultural Research Center. She also worked within higher education, Johnson-O’Malley and Government Relations.
“I enjoyed every position I held within the (Cherokee) Nation because each time I held a position I learned more and more about the capabilities and dreams of our youth and what they wanted to do and what they were about. It was amazing what individuals can do given the opportunity,” she said.
Sly was also involved in developing educational programs at the CN, including the immersion program and the “Remember the Removal” Bike Ride. She said she’s seen growth and positive changes in the programs through the years.
“In (19)84 when service leadership and outdoor aspirational education was introduced, I was afraid of all the riff that one had to take to ride a bike across half the nation on the Trail (of Tears), but that was back then when we had minimal support, like the marshals and first aide responders weren’t going with us,” she said. “We get the best of the best today.”
Like the growth in the programs, Sly has also seen growth in students. She said the RTR program was developed to instill leadership in Cherokee youth and realization of the tribe’s “nationhood.”
“Over the years I have seen all these individuals come back and serve in the Cherokee Nation, and if they don’t come back to the Cherokee Nation they go on to other entities and they are leaders, and I love it,” she said.
She said what she’s appreciated most about working for the CN is its support to further and develop language and educational programs.
As for retirement, Sly said she doesn’t have any immediate plans but would like to take some classes in areas of interest. Other than that, she’s learning how to adjust to retirement.
“People say just slow down and take your time. Well, I have always had a schedule, so I don’t know what it’s like to not have schedule in front of me. So now when I wake up in the mornings I am thinking, ‘what am I going to do?,’” she said. “So I am just sitting back and seeing what retirement is all about.”
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation Foundation is accepting applications until June 1 for the seventh annual Cherokee College Prep Institute taking place on July 15-20 at Northeastern State University.
The weeklong camp will connect students with admissions counselors from across the U.S to analyze, prepare and complete college applications, identify scholarship opportunities and explore schools of interest.
Participating universities include the University of Arkansas, Bacone College, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Central Oklahoma, Duke University, NSU, University of Notre Dame, Oklahoma State University, Pomona College, Rogers State University, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, and Yale University.
CCPI’s curriculum, developed in conjunction with College Horizons and other participating university faculty, includes interactive sessions focusing on ACT strategies, essay writing, interview skills and time management.
CCPI is free to CN citizens who are preparing to enter their junior or senior years of high school. Lodging, meals and testing expenses are also provided by CNF, Cherokee Nation Businesses and NSU.
Applications are available at <a href="http://www.cherokeenation.academicworks.com " target="_blank">cherokeenation.academicworks.com</a>.
For more information, email Jennifer Sandoval at <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a> or call 918-207-0950.
TAHELQUAH – Sequoyah Schools is again offering summer basketball camps for girls and boys who will be in first through ninth grades in the fall.
The camps are designed to help youngsters develop skills, master techniques and learn basic concepts of basketball. Sequoyah coaches and members of the Sequoyah high school basketball teams instruct the camps.
The boys’ camp is May 29-31 at The Place Where They Play gym located on the Sequoyah campus. Grades first through fifth camps will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., while grades sixth through ninth will be held from noon to 3 p.m.
For more information on the boys’ camp, call coach Jay Herrin at 918-822-0835.
The girls’ camp will be held June 4-6 at The Place Where They Play gym. Grades first through fifth camps will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and grades sixth through ninth will be held from noon to 3 p.m.
For more information on the girls’ camp, call Larry Callison at 918-557-8335.
Registration forms and fees may be turned in to coaches Herrin and Callison ahead of time or on the first day of camp. Early registration is appreciated.
Free lunches will be available for both camps and all age groups from 11 a.m. to noon in the school cafeteria.
These will be the only youth basketball camps offered at Sequoyah this year. To view the information online visit <a href="http://sequoyah.cherokee.org/Athletics/Summer-Youth-Camps/Basketball-Camps" target="_blank">http://sequoyah.cherokee.org/Athletics/Summer-Youth-Camps/Basketball-Camps</a>.
<a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/5/32277__brief_180515_HoopsCamps(boys).pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to download the boys' camp registration form.
<a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/5/32277__brief_180515_HoopsCamps(girls).pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to download the girls' camp registration form.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Three Oklahoma City schools named after Confederate generals may soon be renamed.
The school board on May 14 was expected to consider new names for Lee, Jackson Enterprise and Stand Watie elementary schools, which are named after Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson and Isaac Stand Watie, a Cherokee.
Committees made up of community members, school staff and parents selected two potential names for each school, which were presented to students at each school who then voted on their preference, district spokeswoman Beth Harrison said.
The students’ choices will be presented for the board for approval, although the board could select any name it chooses, Harrison said.
The suggested names haven’t been made public.
Board member Carrie Coppernoll Jacobs told The Oklahoman that children and employees should feel welcome in the places where they learn and work.
“To make amends for the past, we have to own it,” she said. “School names may seem like a small gesture, but all progress has value,” Coppernoll Jacobs said.
The board voted in October to rename the schools following violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the removal of a Confederate statue.
The Tulsa school board recently renamed Robert E. Lee Elementary as Lee School, although critics say the change doesn’t go far enough. It also renamed Andrew Jackson Elementary as Unity Learning Academy.
The Oklahoma City board conducted an online survey for names and the names of Lee, Jackson and Watie received the most votes, while past state and local leaders were also popular.
The other names receiving votes include minster and former school board member Wayne Dempsey, educator and civil rights activist Clara Luper, writer and Oklahoma City native Ralph Ellison and Wilma Mankiller, who was the first woman to be principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
The cost of changing the names is estimated at about $40,000, which a local attorney has agreed to pay.
TAHLEQUAH – Sequoyah High School recently named seniors Katelyn Morton and Aspen Ford as the class of 2018’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
At 6:30 p.m. on May 18 in The Place Where They Play gym, 99 seniors will graduate from SHS. The class of 2018 has accumulated more than $2.5 million in scholarships and grants so far.
Morton, 18, of Tahlequah, is the daughter of Kathryn Wood and Nason Morton. She graduates with a GPA of 4.56 and is attending the Oklahoma City University Wanda L. Bass School of Music this fall and plans to double major in music and Spanish.
After her audition at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music, Morton received a music scholarship worth $25,600. She also earned a Presidential Leadership Scholarship worth $19,200.
“Being accepted into one of these programs creates a lot of connections,” Morton said. “First, I’m going to focus on those connections and probably intern at a casting agency or under a director so I can know the behind-the-scenes. Then, I’ll begin to audition for anything I can.”
Through concurrent enrollment, Morton completed nearly 30 credit hours at Northeastern State University during high school. She also participated in National Honor Society, Student Council, Stand for the Silent, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Fellowship of Christian Students.
Morton is vice president of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council and is a member of the Cherokee National Youth Choir. She has also been a member of Tulsa Youth Opera and was cast in Tulsa Opera’s American premier of “The Snow Queen.” She has been the captain of Sequoyah’s competitive speech and debate/drama team and president of the drama department. She became the first student in Sequoyah’s history to reach All-State for speech and debate/drama.
Ford, 18, of Tahlequah, graduates with a 4.51 GPA. She will attend NSU in Tahlequah this fall with a Presidential Leadership Class scholarship worth around $40,000. She also earned the Cherokee Nation undergraduate scholarship and the James R. Upton Memorial Award through the Cherokee Nation Foundation.
“My mom and dad have always pushed me ever since I was young to focus on school and my studies first, before anything else,” Ford said. “I think that stuck with me throughout high school, and I know it will in college. It gave me a mindset to know my priorities and what’s important and what will make me successful.”
Ford, the daughter of Amber Arnall and Damon Ford, plans to major in media studies while at NSU and expects to study abroad. She said she hopes to find a career in photojournalism, a passion she garnered during educational trips to Greece and Italy in 2017.
While attending Sequoyah, Ford completed 39 hours of concurrent enrollment at NSU and three credit hours at the University of Oklahoma. She also participated in Student Council, Sequoyah’s academic team, National Honor Society, History Club, 4-H and the Oklahoma Indian Honor Society and attended North America’s largest powwow during the Gathering of Nations in New Mexico in 2016 as a member of the Honoring Our People’s Existence Club.
Ford is also a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council and the Cherokee National Youth Choir.
TAHLEQUAH – A recent $5,000 donation by the Cherokee Nation to the RiverHawks Women’s Basketball team will make it possible for Northeastern State University to participate in a two-game basketball classic in Los Angeles over Thanksgiving break.
In addition to competing against Division II basketball programs, the trip will provide a memorable student athlete experience for team members.
“I am so grateful to Cherokee Nation and (Tribal Council) Speaker Joe Byrd for their generosity and commitment to the RiverHawks women’s basketball program,” NSU women’s coach Fala Bullock, said.
“Speaker Byrd made a great statement to me following the photo by reminding me of the positive impact the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah and University can have on each other through possible future partnerships,” NSU Director of Athletics Tony Duckworth said.
JAY – Cherokee Nation citizen and Jay High School senior Gabe Simpson, 19, was recently named a 2018 Gates Scholar.
The prestigious Gates Scholarship is a highly selective, full-ride scholarship for exceptional, Pell-eligible, minority, high school seniors who have shown academic excellence, as well as strong leadership abilities. Simpson is one of 300 high school students out of nearly 30,000 applicants from across the United States to be awarded the scholarship.
“I know a lot of people apply for it (Gates Scholarship), so I was really happy when I found out,” Simpson said.
He also said upon graduation in May, he plans to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater this fall to play football.
“There was a lot of Division IIs that wanted me and a few DI schools,” he said. “OSU offered me a preferred walk-on, and I always wanted to play at a big powerhouse college like that, so I thought I would give it a shot.”
He said although he plays other sports such as basketball, baseball and competitive cheerleading, he’s been playing football since he was “big enough to play” and his “love” for the game is what led him to want to play in college.
As for a career choice, he said he hopes to pursue a career in pharmacy or physical therapy.
“Pharmacy is because I love math and science, and it’s a lot of that like chemistry. And physical therapy is because I love sports, and they work with a lot of athletes through that,” he said.
Simpson’s words of advice to other students thinking about applying for the Gates Scholarship is to “start young because there’s a lot of people who slack off during freshman and sophomore year, and when they realize they want to go to college their grades weren’t as good to apply. But also, apply for as many scholarships as you can.”