Sequoyah High School has named Conlie Smith and Chenoa Turtle as co-valedictorians and Kelsey Morgan as salutatorian for the graduating class of 2022.
The SHS commencement ceremony for the class of 2022 seniors will take place at Sequoyah’s The-Place-Where-They-Play Gymnasium on May 20.
“The Class of 2022 is not unlike the classes that graduated before them over the last few years. They’ve faced obstacles, adapted, and thrived,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.. “This class has discovered new and challenging ways that taught them not just their school lessons, but life lessons as well. They adapted to new horizons, like going virtual and to adjust to a global pandemic, and they are still succeeding. We look forward to seeing everything that the SHS Class of 2022 can and will accomplish in the years to come.”
The graduating class of 70 students has Gates Millennium Scholars and several students who have accepted college scholarships to schools all across the country.
“Every class that graduates from Sequoyah High School is one to be commended. Their willingness to confidently step up and learn news ways to, basically go to school and learn, due to the pandemic is remarkable,” Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner said. “I think when we all look back, we will remember all of the students’ resilience and dedication during this time.”
Conlie Smith, of Stilwell, is the daughter of Chad and Misty Smith. She is also a SHS co-valedictorian. Smith will be attending Oklahoma State University, where she plans to major in biochemistry in hopes of becoming a dermatologist. She has been the track and field captains her junior and senior years. She is presently cross-country captain. Smith served as SHS Student Council president in her senior year. In 2019, she was inducted into the National Honor Society. She has also participated in Medical Care Club, Honoring Our People’s Existence, and drama from 2019 to present.
“Sequoyah High School has been nothing but a positive experience for me,” Smith said. “As proud as I am of the accomplishments that I’ve achieved here at Sequoyah, I know that I wouldn’t be headed in the direction I’m going without the care and support system that the school establishes for all of its students. I truly believe that I’m ready for that next chapter because of that system.”
Smith has already been awarded the Oklahoma State Warth Scholarship, Oklahoma State Academic Excellence Scholarship, Oklahoma State Academic Excellence Supplemental Scholarship, Oklahoma Promise Recipient, and the Lake Region Leadership Summit Scholarship. and presently has 45 college credits. She will graduate from Sequoyah High School with 55 total college credits from Northeastern State University, Carl Albert State College, OSU and the University of Oklahoma.
Chenoa Turtle, of Park Hill, is the daughter of Jeff and Lisa Trice-Turtle. She is SHS co-valedictorian. Turtle will be attending OSU pursuing a degree in biology pre-medical sciences. She has garnered honors that include the Sequoyah Excellence Award, Superintendent's Honor Roll, 2021 College Horizon Scholar Award, and being a delegate to the 2021 Oklahoma Girls State program and the 2021 Daughters of the American Revolution. She was bestowed awards for Sequoyah High School Good Citizen Award, Green Country District Good Citizen Award, and the 2021 Oklahoma Council for Indian Education Student of the Year.
While attending Sequoyah, Turtle served as the National Honor Society 2021-2022 president, American Indian Science and Engineering Society Sequoyah chapter 2021-2022 president, Student Wellness Action Team 2021-2022 president, Student Council secretary and senior class vice president. She is a mentor for the American Indian Resource Center and is the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council 2021-2022 parliamentarian.
“I chose to attend Sequoyah because on my eighth-grade day, I toured the school and I just felt like I was home,” Turtle said. “I felt like this was the best place for me to continue my education. I'm really glad that I chose to come here because, with all of my teachers and the support of the faculty here, I probably would not be in the position I am in. I feel it’s an honor, and I am very grateful that I get to represent my class in this position. I am happy that I was able to achieve this goal of mine.”
Kelsey Morgan, of Tahlequah, is class salutatorian. She will be attending OU this fall. While at Sequoyah, Morgan participated in such activities as volunteering at the Court Appointed Advocates of Cherokee Country rally against child abuse and serving meals to elders at the Tri-Community Building in Briggs. She graduated from the Cherokee Immersion School and is the first Immersion School graduated to receive the honor of salutatorian at SHS.
Morgan has been a member of the volleyball team, academic team, and student council all four years of attending Sequoyah. She has also been a part of the National Honor Society during her junior and senior years. She was the drum major for the marching band her senior year. She’s made the Superintendent’s Honor Roll, been named a member of the gifted and talented education enrichment program, and was selected to be in the Eastern Oklahoma Band Directors Association from 2018 to 2022. She’s received a superior rating at 2018 State OSSAA Solo and Ensemble Competitions and was a delegate to the 2021 Oklahoma Girls State program.
“When I was first told that I was salutatorian, I felt a lot of pride because I came from Cherokee Immersion Charter School. I'm the first person to graduate from that school to be given this title at Sequoyah and that brings me a lot of joy and happiness to represent my school,” Morgan said. “I think I will miss the comfort that I feel here. I've loved all the teachers here, so the familiarity with them and being able to come to them and speak to them about anything I need, I'll definitely miss that. Being on a new larger campus.”
Morgan, the daughter of Candessa Tehee and Matthew Morgan, plans to major in environmental science at OU. While attending SHS, Morgan completed 23 hours of concurrent enrollment at NSU.