By AMBLE SMOKER
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Cherokee Elementary School held the “Honoring Our Grandparents” ceremony on Monday, March 30 in the Chief Joyce Dugan Cultural Arts Center. Eight grandparents of students from grades pre-kindergarten through fifth grade were honored. One grandparent is selected from each grade, with the exception of first-grade which had two winners, based on essays written by the students and judged on supplied criteria given in each category. The CES Culture Staff selects the top five essays from each grade and narrows their decision to best essay. Grandparents are selected on who is teaching the most culture to their grandchildren.
“We like to recognize the students, especially those who excel in writing,” explained Laura Pinnix, Director of Culture at the Cherokee Central Schools. “We like to see how they feel about their grandparents to recognize the importance of what they write for their grandparents. We also want to bring in the grandparents and make sure they are recognized.”
Shawn Crowe opened the ceremony with a keynote address. He spoke on the important role grandparents have on the lives of the Cherokee youth and how important it is to absorb the knowledge elders pass along.
“Grandparents are someone that you look up to,” said Crowe. The Cherokee people have always taught us that the elders held the knowledge because they’ve walked the journey. They know this life and they try to give you instructions to help you get through it.”
The grandparents who were honored included: Pre-Kindergarten – Una Lea Sampson, Kindergarten – Hayes Calhoun, 1st grade – Shirley Reagan and Lucetta Ward, 2nd grade – Katherine Panther, 3rd grade – Calloway Ledford, SR, 4th grade, Harley Maney, Sr., and 5th grade – Malinda Mahan.
The grandparent writers in each grade were: Pre-Kindergarten – Kylana Sampson, Kindergarten – Landon Seay, 1st grade – Shawnee Kirkland and Nakaiya Hill, 2nd grade – Nevayah Panther, 3rd grade – Madison Ledford, 4th grade – Adia Frady, and 5th grade – Candice Smith.
“I think it’s important for kids to honor the elders and know why we do what we do,” said Elementary Cherokee Language Instructor Lori Davis. “I believe it’s important for us to preserve the language and recognize those who try to do cultural things with us.”
Pinnix stated, “I’d like to see more people come out and support these elders that we honor.”
To view or purchase photos from this event, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/2015-Community-Events-and-News/CES-Honoring-the-Grandparents/