Cherokee Elementary School recently celebrated Cultural Heritage Week. The week-long activities are held annually for students to give them the chance to meet local artists, invoke the Cherokee language in a non-classroom setting, and learn about the Cherokee Culture in a fun way. The week began with the Honoring Our Grandparents ceremony, followed by the Competition Day, Quiz Bowls, Artist Exhibition Day, and Staff Jeopardy.
Students participated in the Basket Game and She-lu (Cherokee Bingo) during Competition Day which is a way to get students to actively use Cherokee language outside of regular language classes. Each class was able to rotate in between the two stations housing each game. They used their Cherokee terminology during the basket game and recalled their basic vocabulary during She-lu.
The next day, each grade level from Pre-K to 5th grade competed in the annual Cherokee Language Quiz Bowl. Each class strived to gain the most points by recalling the Cherokee vocabulary they learned throughout the year and answering various questions. Winners from each grade are: 5th grade – Ms. Haney’s class; 4th grade – Ms. Allison’s class; 3rd grade – Ms. Graning’s class; 2nd grade – Ms. Hyatt’s class; 1st grade – Ms. Mason’s class, Kindergarten – Ms. Nipper’s class; and Pre-K – Ms. Saunooke’s class.
Local Cherokee artists met with students to demonstrate their crafts and speak to the students during the Artist Exhibition day. Special guests included: Will Harris, Richard Saunooke, Louise Goings, Butch Goings, Ruth Lossiah, Sharon McCoy, Stacy Wolfe, the High School Woodcarving class and the High School Arts & Crafts class. Students were able to witness crafts being made at some stations and at other stations they were taught about the elements that go into crafting such as materials used and tools needed.
The week ended with a special treat for the students when they were able to view their teachers compete in their own Jeopardy Quiz Bowl. Teachers and staff from each department competed against each other to see who was the most knowledgeable about Cherokee Culture and Language. There were a total of nine teams who competed.
The race was close until Final Jeopardy. Staff members were asked to name the Native American female saint canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. Only two teams came up with the correct answer of Kateri Tekakwitha, but spelling errors cost them. The winning team for the staff Jeopardy Quiz Bowl was “The Cherokee Prince and Princesses” which consisted of: Devlin Wilde, Consie Girty, Michele Galloway, and LeaAnn Andrews of the Hope Center.
Cultural Heritage Week is sponsored by the Cultural Department. Department officials related, “We want to thank each artist who came out and volunteered their time for the kids. We also want to thank the many staff members who helped out with each event, especially the Cultural Arts Center staff, Activities staff and Cultural Staff.”
– Cherokee Elementary School