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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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6 SHS Seniors Named Gates Millennium Scholars
by Cherokee Phoenix staff reports

TAHLEQUAH, Okla.— This year, six Sequoyah High School seniors have been named as Gates Millennium Scholars resulting in the school to have the second highest number of Native American scholars in the country.

“It is very rewarding to see Sequoyah students succeed in being selected for the Gates Millennium Scholarship,” said Leroy Qualls, SHS superintendent. “Our students are not just great kids, but great role models for Sequoyah. We’re very proud of our scholars.”

The six students are Nicole Mangels, of Broken Arrow; Tyler Handle and Nathalie Tomasik, of Tahlequah; Rikki Duvall and Zane Kee, of Stilwell; and Lakin Keener, of Hulbert.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards 1,000 minority students, 150 of which are Native American, each year up to $250,000 in college scholarships per scholar. The scholarship is based on a 3.5 GPA, community service hours, leadership and eight written essays. Since 2002, Sequoyah has produced 54 Gates Scholars.

“The application process was really grueling,” said Keener, 18. “I spent six months on it. I probably spent two months on one essay alone.”

Tomasik, 18, said it’s a dream to attend college out of state without having to go into debt.

“When I found the letter, I waited for a little while just staring at it, scared to open it,” she said. “When I finally read it, I started crying when it all hit me.”

This year’s scholars plan to attend the following universities:

  • Mangels plans to join her brother, a 2012 Gates recipient, at the University of Tulsa and major in athletic training.
  • Handle plans to attend the University of Kansas and major in computer science.
  • Duvall plans to attend the University of Tulsa and major in athletic training.
  • Kee plans to attend Oklahoma City University and double major in instrumental music education and chemistry or physics.
  • Keener plans to attend Oklahoma State University and major in design.
  • Tomasik plans to attend the American Music and Dramatic Academy College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in New York City and major in performing arts.
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