NORMAN, OK - Going back to school was a walk in the park for
Oklahoma City metro area Chickasaw college students. The Norman-based
Chokka' Kilimpi' program welcomed students back with stickball and
an opportunity to socialize with other Chickasaw students with back
to school bashes in two locations.
Katie Croy, a Chickasaw student from Oklahoma City, recently
learned about the program at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC.)
The program recently expanded to following its success at the University
of Oklahoma (OU.)
"I recently heard about the program after I received an email
from Renee Wilson, the navigator at OCCC," Ms. Croy said. "I knew
there was a program at OU and was excited to learn that is was now
available at the community college."
Chokka' Kilimpi' staff mingled with OCCC students and their
families at the Southern Oaks Community Center at 400 SE 66th St.,
Sunday, Aug. 21. Chokka' Kilimpi' Imatahli program coordinator Jason
Eyachabbe led a game of social stickball.
Chickasaw Nation Chokka' Kilimpi' Recruitment and Retention
Program made going back to school better with two Back to
School bashes in Norman and Oklahoma City. Navigator Jason
Eyachabbe leads a game of social stickball at Reaves Park
Social events and stickball are just one component of the Chokka'
Kilimpi' Recruitment and Retention program. Navigators guide students
through staying on track academically and maintaining funding with
the end goal of graduation. Students also participate in other cultural
activities including basket weaving and beaded earring classes.
A second event took place at Reaves Park located at 2501 Jenkins
Avenue in Norman, Saturday, Aug. 27, for OU students. A disc jockey
spun tunes while students and their families enjoyed a game of stickball
and a cookout.
Meeting with navigators on a regular basis is a pivotal part
of the program. Chickasaw Skyler Boyd, an OU freshman from Moore,
met navigator Karen Fish on campus shortly after starting school.
Mr. Boyd's participation in the program gives his dad, Stan Boyd,
confidence that his son will be successful in college.
"The program will help give him whatever he needs to be successful
in college, make the grades and stay in school," the elder Mr. Boyd
said. "He's a good student but the program can help him stay on
track when I can't be here."
Chris Jones, a Chickasaw and OU student from Moore, is working
on his degree completion online.
"Karen Fish offered me the opportunity to be part of the program,"
he said. "It gives me a chance to be part of both the Chickasaw
and OU communities that I wouldn't have had being an online student."
Navigator Jason Murray partnered with the Native American Student
Association (NASA) to launch the Chokka Kilimpi' program at the
University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond. The first gathering
of the group took place Sept. 21 at Plunkett Park on UCO campus.
The recruitment and retention navigators guide students through
Chickasaw Nation resources that are available to them, offer career
and vocational guidance and most of all, strive to provide a family
away from home for the students who are part of their program.
Students who attend OU, OCCC and UCO can enroll in the recruitment
and retention by visiting www.chickasaw.net/ck
or calling (405) 767-8943. The Chokka' Kilimpi' office is location
on Norman on 3200 Marshall Ave., Suite 220.