Sequoyah High School announces four Gates Scholars


(L to R) Sequoyah High School seniors Colby Luper, Jordan Wagnon, Grant Neugin and Collin Vann were awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship for 2014

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Sequoyah High School continues to produce Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients, with four seniors named this year.

Sequoyah’s 2014 Gates Scholars include Colby Luper, Grant Neugin, Jordan Wagnon and Collin Vann. All four seniors are 18 and from Tahlequah.

“We’re very proud of these four young men and what they’ve been able to accomplish by being selected as Gates Millennium Scholars,” said Sequoyah Schools Superintendent Leroy Qualls. “They are strong examples of Sequoyah’s dedication to academic and personal excellence. They are deserving, and it’s rewarding to see the hard work that went into this scholarship pay off in a big way.”

Each year the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards 1,000 minority students, 150 of which are Native American, 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.

“Getting Gates is the highlight of my academic career so far,” Luper said. “I was going to be unable to go to college without working a lot or taking out loans, and now with Gates, it’s a huge load off my shoulders. I’m able to go to the school I want to go to, and I’m that much more excited about the future.”

Since 2002, Sequoyah has produced 58 Gates Scholars. According to the American Indian Graduate Center, which selects American Indian recipients of the scholarship, Sequoyah High School continually graduates among the highest volume of scholars in the country each year.

“I was a little worried about opening my Gates letter at first,” Vann said. “It was 1 a.m. in the morning, I just got in from prom and I sat at the kitchen table and just stared at it for 10 minutes before deciding to open it. When I did, I ended up waking up my grandma from my shouting so loud. I was ecstatic.”

Vann plans to attend the University of Arkansas and major in physical therapy or sports medicine. Luper plans to attend the University of Oklahoma and major in bio-medical engineering. Neugin plans to attend Northeastern State University and major in elementary education. Wagnon plans to attend the University of Kansas and major in psychology.

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