Published August 15, 2017
TAHLEQUAH — Salina Elementary School fifth-grader Leah Gardner was crowned Saturday as the 2017-18 Little Cherokee Ambassador in the 10-12 age category.
Nearly 20 Cherokee children competed in three age divisions at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center. The competition kicks off the 65th Annual Cherokee National Holiday, which runs this upcoming Labor Day weekend.
Gardner, 10, is captain of her school’s Cherokee Language Bowl. She gave a demonstration on basket weaving as her cultural presentation. She also correctly named stickball as a traditional Cherokee game, answered 18 as the age that Cherokee citizens must be in order to vote, and knew the Cherokee Female Seminary was the first institution of higher learning for Cherokee girls west of the Mississippi River.
“I’m really excited to be a Little Cherokee Ambassador, and I’m looking forward to all the parades,” Gardner said.
Joining her in the male division of Little Cherokee Ambassador is Heritage Elementary School fourth-grader Preston Gourd, 10, of Tahlequah.
Alayna Paden, a fourth-grader at Cherokee Immersion Charter School, and Cooper Dorr, a third-grader at Lowrey Elementary School in Tahlequah, won in the 7-9 age division.
Winning in the 4-6 age division were Avery Raper, 5, who attends Pryor Learning Center, and Dante Anguiano, 5, a kindergartener at Heritage Elementary School in Tahlequah.
The Junior Miss Cherokee competition is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center. The Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at Cornerstone Church in Tahlequah.