TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation celebrated 109 graduates from the tribe’s adult education program during a special ceremony held Sept. 20.
Participants who completed the program and passed the GED high school equivalency test were awarded diplomas at a reception held at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.
According to the Cherokee Nation, Kodi Ulrich of Owasso is among the graduates who completed the program.
“I’m extremely proud of our Cherokee Nation citizens who took it upon themselves to pursue a better, brighter future,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “The road we all take to education may be different, and it’s not always easy, but the results will pay off for years to come. I commend each person who earned this distinction.”
Liza Pinkston, of Stilwell, is one of the adult education program graduates. She began working part time for Cherokee Nation last January and is now earning an associate’s degree at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw. After graduating from the adult education program, Pinkston began a full-time clerking position with Cherokee Nation Career Services in Stilwell.
“The Cherokee Nation has helped me tremendously,” said Pinkston, 23. “If it wasn’t for the tribe’s GED and work experience programs, I don’t know what my life would be like. Being able to not only participate but to have a real graduation through the adult education program has been incredible. Having a graduation with the cap and gown ensemble was an experience that I had accepted I would miss out on. Without a doubt, I would recommend the adult education program.”
Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner, of Sallisaw, served as a guest speaker at the ceremony. Warner commended the graduates on their achievement and thanked the program staff for their efforts in investing in the program participants.
“I could not be more proud of this program and the staff who work under it. Their time and dedication to helping our citizens achieve something they may have considered unattainable is remarkable and to be commended,” Warner said. “I also congratulate the program participants on their momentous achievement and wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors.”
The Cherokee Nation adult education program allows participants to study subjects like math, reading and writing at their own pace until they are ready to take the high school equivalency test.
The Cherokee Nation adult education program is administered by the tribe’s Career Services department. The tribe provides GED instruction at multiple locations throughout its 14-county jurisdiction with options for morning, afternoon and evening classes. Testing is available at Pryor, Sallisaw, Stilwell and Tahlequah.
“I’m so proud of the accomplishments these Cherokee citizens have made in the field of academia,” said Career Services Executive Director Diane Kelley. “The adult education program is one of the most rewarding programs provided by the Cherokee Nation, and I always look forward to seeing the next group of graduates turning their tassels.”
The program serves citizens of federally recognized tribes within the 14-county jurisdiction who are 16 years of age or older.
For more information on the adult education program, call the Career Services Learning Center in Tahlequah at 918-458-0577.