Sequoyah High School announces 2018 valedictorian, salutatorian

May 14, 2018

(L-R) Sequoyah High School valedictorian Katelyn Morton and salutatorian Aspen Ford.(L-R) Sequoyah High School valedictorian Katelyn Morton and salutatorian Aspen Ford.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Sequoyah High School recently named Katelyn Morton and Aspen Ford as the class of 2018’s valedictorian and salutatorian.

On Friday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m. in The Place Where They Play gym, 99 seniors will graduate from Sequoyah High School. The class of 2018 has accumulated more than $2.5 million in scholarships and grants so far.

“Every year as we approach the end of the school year, I realize just how far the graduating class has come and how much we’ll miss them here at Sequoyah, but I know we’ve helped shape these young men and young women into future leaders,” said Sequoyah Schools Superintendent Leroy Qualls. “The class of 2018 is to be commended for their accomplishments, and we wish them well as they begin the next step in their lives. I know they will do great things, and I fully expect many of them will one day find their place working with the Cherokee Nation, and perhaps right here at Sequoyah.”

Morton, 18, of Tahlequah, is the daughter of Kathryn Wood and Nason Morton. She is the Sequoyah High School valedictorian with a GPA of 4.56. Morton 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 High School’s competitive speech and debate/drama team and president of the drama department. She became the first student in Sequoyah High School’s history to reach All-State for speech and debate/drama.

“My mother, who has been my greatest supporter, pushed me to work hard for what I want,” Morton said. “That is a great skillset to prepare me for life. I know moving on from Sequoyah to college will be a big change, but it’ll be fun and I am excited.”

Ford, 18, of Tahlequah, is the class salutatorian with a 4.51 GPA. She will attend Northeastern State University 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 attending NSU and also expects to study abroad. Eventually, she hopes to find a career in photojournalism, a passion she garnered during educational trips to Greece and Italy in the summer of 2017.

While attending Sequoyah High School, 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, among others, and attended North America’s largest powwow during the Gathering of Nations in New Mexico in 2016 as a member of the HOPE (Honoring Our People’s Existence) Club.

Ford is also a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council and the Cherokee National Youth Choir.