TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Sequoyah High School has named Conlie Smith and Chenoa Turtle as co-valedictorians and Kelsey Morgan as salutatorian for the graduating class of 2022.
Sequoyah High School’s 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,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “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, Oklahoma, is the daughter of Chad and Misty Smith. She is also a Sequoyah High School 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, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.
Chenoa Turtle, of Park Hill, Oklahoma is the daughter of Jeff and Lisa Trice-Turtle. She is a Sequoyah High School co-valedictorian. Turtle will be attending Oklahoma State University pursuing a degree in biology pre-medical sciences. She has garnered honors that include the Sequoyah Excellence Award, Superintendents Honor Roll, College Horizon Scholar Award, 2021 Oklahoma Council for Indian Education Student of the Year and serving as a delegate to the 2021 Oklahoma Girls State program. She received the Daughters of the American Revolution DAR award for Sequoyah High School Good Citizen, DAR Cherokee County Good Citizen Award winner, DAR Green Country District Good Citizen Award winner, and DAR Oklahoma Good Citizen Award winner.
While attending Sequoyah, Turtle served as the National Honor Society 21-22 President, American Indian Science and Engineering Society Sequoyah Chapter 21-22 President, Student Wellness Action Team 21-22 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 21-22 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 the class salutatorian. She will be attending the University of Oklahoma this fall. While at Sequoyah, Morgan participated in such activities as volunteering at CASA rally against child abuse and serving meals to elders at the Tri-Community Building in Briggs, Oklahoma. 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 the University of Oklahoma.
While attending Sequoyah High School, Morgan completed 23 hours of concurrent enrollment at Northeastern State University.