Published May 7, 2016
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAMOMA –The largest number of Cherokee Promise Scholars graduates from Northeastern State University on Saturday.
Cherokee Nation established the Cherokee Promise Scholarship in 2011 to ensure more Cherokees attain college degrees. The program provides $4,600 a semester for tuition, housing and meal plans to low-income Cherokee Nation students.
The eight graduating Cherokee Promise Scholars at NSU include Trenton Hill, Sheena Yeager, Breanna Potter, Nicole Murry, Karen Jones, Christian Sizemore, Ashley Roach and Joshua Watie.
“We created the Cherokee Promise Scholarship five years ago so that more of our Cherokee students would have the opportunity to pursue a higher education and earn a college degree,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “I am so proud we were able to assist these hardworking and talented young people in achieving a significant milestone not just for themselves, but for their families as well. Making an investment in their education is an investment in the future of our tribe.”
Christian Sizemore, 23, of Sallisaw, earned a bachelor’s degree in media studies with an emphasis in broadcast journalism and didn’t have to take out loans.
“Without the Cherokee Promise, it would have been hard for me to pay for college. Cherokee Promise has also exposed me to the different parts of the Cherokee culture since I wasn’t raised in a traditional Cherokee home and didn’t know a lot of the cultural beliefs,” Sizemore said.
As Cherokee Promise Scholars, students live in a section of the dorm dedicated just for Cherokee students, which allows students to better interact and support each other.
Karen Jones, of Tahlequah, graduates from NSU with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She hopes to pursue a career in a hospital laboratory.
“Being a Cherokee Promise Scholar has made it possible for me to get through college. Without it there is no way I would have been able to do it,” Jones said. “The scholarship has provided me with both the financial means as well as the support system to make it through.”
The Cherokee Promise is also offered at Rogers State University and Connors State College. There are currently 54 scholars at NSU, 23 at RSU and four at CSC. The Connors State College program started in 2015.
As part of the program, students are required to maintain a 2.7 GPA, live in the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction and meet all NAHASDA income guidelines. The scholars are also required to take certain Cherokee language classes and attend cultural activities offered at the university. The activities include stickball, basket weaving and community service.
For more information about the Cherokee Promise Scholarship, contact Jennifer Pigeon at 918-453-5367 or [email protected].
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