Sequoyah High School announces 2017 valedictorian, salutatorian



Sequoyah High School salutatorian Whitney Roach and valedictorian Taylor Armbrister.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Sequoyah High School has named Taylor Armbrister and Whitney Roach as its 2017 valedictorian and salutatorian.

On Friday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. in The Place Where They Play gym, 76 seniors will graduate. The class has accumulated more than $1.34 million in college scholarships so far, according to school administrators.

“We believe the investment made in these seniors’ education and extracurricular activities will allow them to succeed in their future careers. Many of them could one day return to work for the Cherokee Nation and reinvest in our tribal communities,” Sequoyah Schools Superintendent Leroy Qualls said. “These young people are to be commended for their accomplishments, and we wish them an even brighter tomorrow as they transition into the next phase of their lives.”

Armbrister, 18, of Kansas, Oklahoma, is the class valedictorian with a 4.3 GPA. He is attending Dartmouth College in New Hampshire this fall with a scholarship from the college worth more than $64,000 per year. Armbrister, son of Brandi and Eric Sanders, also obtained the Cherokee Nation Valedictorian Scholarship, the James R. Upton Memorial Award and the Rotary Scholarship.

“My mother has been the parent who’s taken on both roles, and she’s been the one who has pushed me to excel in whatever I’ve done,” Armbrister said. “Now I want to be a positive role model for my brothers, who are both younger than I am.”

Armbrister plans to minor in Native American Studies and French and is considering a major in astronomy or film.

During high school, Armbrister completed 27 hours of concurrent enrollment at Northeastern State University. He also participated in Student Council, College Horizons, Boys State and athletics programs at Sequoyah, including football, basketball and golf. He has been honored by the Oklahoma Indian Honor Society, the National Honor Society and the President’s Education Awards Program.

Because of his participation in the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council and the Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge, Armbrister attended the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, D.C., and later met President Obama in Oklahoma.

Roach, 18, of Tahlequah, is the class salutatorian with a 4.27 GPA. She will attend Ottawa University in Kansas this fall with a presidential scholarship that covers her tuition of about $30,000 per year, as well as an athletic scholarship for collegiate volleyball. She also received the James R. Upton Memorial Award, the Cherokee Nation Salutatorian Scholarship and the Cherokee Nation Undergraduate Scholarship.

“My father would be my main motivator. He’s always taught me to present myself as an ambassador of the Cherokee Nation and to do well in my studies, and just be as good as I can be as an individual,” Roach said.

Roach will focus on biology, likely with an emphasis in cardiology. She hopes to eventually return to work in the Cherokee Nation.

While attending Sequoyah, Roach completed more than 20 hours of concurrent enrollment at Northeastern State University. She also participated in Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council, National Honor Society, National Indian Honor Society, Student Council, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Girls State, Cherokee National Youth Choir, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Students, and other clubs and organizations.

Roach, the daughter of George and Lisa Roach, will spend the summer working as a primary care provider assistant under Dr. Charity Holder at Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital.

Cherokee Nation News Release
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