Okla. The Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduated its
third group of Cherokee speakers Tuesday.
The school, which is operated by the Cherokee Nation, held
its sixth-grade graduation Tuesday night in the Sequoyah High School
The graduating students have been taught the importance of
preserving the Cherokee language as part of their cultural identity.
Students speak only Cherokee while they learn grade level state
standard curriculum and also learn to read and write the 86-character
"We're making history every day with these children, since
there are very few programs out there we can compare to in terms
of bilingual education and preservation of a native language," Cherokee
Immersion Charter School Principal Holly Davis said. "These students
are doing something very unique so that our next generation will
carry on our tradition and language."
The sixth-grade graduates include Liam McAlpin, Alexis Kelley,
Hondo Kirk, Sinihele Rhoades and Daylon Dunn, of Tahlequah, and
Solomon Winn, of Briggs.
"Now I can talk to most of the elders, and they're really happy
when I talk to them in Cherokee," said Rhoades, who graduated Tuesday.
"It's good for them to know that people are still trying to learn
the language and keep it alive."
Another graduate, Alexis Kelley, said she shares what she learns
with her family.
"My mom is always asking me to teach her, and I think it'll
be fun to teach others, too," she said.
The immersion school also graduated 10 kindergarten students
in an earlier ceremony on Tuesday. Those students will start the
first grade at the immersion school this fall while the sixth-grade
class takes courses on the Sequoyah High campus.
The Cherokee Immersion Charter School is part of Sequoyah Schools.
Lead teachers must be state certified to teach, and all teachers
must be fluent Cherokee speakers. The school teaches preschool ages
to sixth grade on its campus and oversees the learning of seventh-
and eighth-graders in the program at Sequoyah High School. The first
class of sixth-graders to ever graduate from the school are now
in the eighth grade.
For more information on the Cherokee Immersion Charter School,