“Our memories will remain”: Cherokee High School graduates 73

by May 24, 2019COMMUNITY sgadugi, Front Page

Jacee Smith, left, receives her Cherokee High School diploma from Dr. Debora Foerst, CHS principal, during the annual commencement ceremony held at Ray Kinsland Stadium on the evening of Thursday, May 23. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)






Cherokee High School held its annual commencement ceremony on the sunny evening of Thursday, May 23 at Ray Kinsland Stadium.  A total of 73 students graduated in the Class of 2019 with the following motto: “Together, we have experienced life.  Separately, we will pursue our dreams.  Forever, our memories will remain.”

To view or purchase photos from this event, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/COMMUNITY-and-NEWS-EVENTS/2019-Community-Events/Cherokee-High-School-Graduation-May-23/

Dr. Debora Foerst, CHS principal, thanked the families of the students and the community at-large for their support.  She spoke of the importance of memories and how they play in the lives of students.  “Memories are significant culturally.  Cherokee people have a strong oral tradition, and a strong emphasis was placed on storytelling.  It was a way of learning about the shared tribal memory.  We grew up hearing our elders share their stories, their memories.  The Class of 2019 has been making memories together since they started school.”

Joaquin Layno, CHS Class of 2019 valedictorian, walks into Ray Kinsland Stadium at the beginning of Thursday’s ceremony.

She added, “Most classes, I dare say, do not start their ninth-grade year with the intention of making memories, or they’re probably not even aware of them.  But, I believe this class is different.  They knew they were making memories every step of the way, and they took us along for the ride to enjoy, support, and applaud them.”

Blake Smith, CHS Class of 2019 salutatorian, said in his address, “As I reflect on the past going back to middle school when I met my group of friends that have become my brothers, I can’t help but laugh at some of my favorite memories.  From all of us getting in trouble in eighth grade to all of us winning a state ring together in our junior year, I will never forget all of the great times we had together.”

He went on to say, “Without these friends, who have become family to me, I would not be the person I am today.  Throughout these four years of high school, I’ve learned many life lessons.  I’ve learned to be successful and to get what you want, it takes hard work, determination, and sacrifice.  These memories and these sacrifices have shaped us into the people that we are now.”

Jayden Crowe, CHS Class of 2019 president, commented, “Over the past 12 years, many memories were created with these people sitting behind me…over the last four years, we’ve created some of the most memorable and influential memories of our lives.”

Joaquin Layno, CHS Class of 2019 valedictorian, walks into Ray Kinsland Stadium at the beginning of Thursday’s ceremony.

He added, “Behind you, all of your memories; before you, all of your dreams; around you, all who love you.  Thank you for the most memorable four years of my life Class of 2019.  I wish you all the best in whatever your life brings upon you.”

Joaquin Layno, CHS Class of 2019 valedictorian, said, “This Class of ’19 has been full of surprises.  We took part in Cherokee’s first state championship in football.  We took part in the school’s first play coming up as freshmen, also creating an outstanding performing arts program.  We’ve had state qualifiers in wrestling, track and field, and cross country.  In my opinion, we’ve had the best class officers ever: Class President Jayden Crowe, Vice President Shirley Peebles, Historian Darius Lambert, and Treasurer Emma Stamper.”

He quoted Denzel Washington stating, “I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks.

Layno added, “Every failed experience is one step closer to success. You’ve got to take risks.  You will fail at some point in life.  Accept it.  You will lose.  You will embarrass yourself…but, don’t get discouraged.  Never look back.  Give everything you’ve got, and when you fall throughout life, fall forward.”

Several specialty awards were given during the ceremony including:

  • NAIWA (North American Indian Women’s Association) Awards presented by Loretta Bolden: Blake Smith, Joaquin Layno
  • Award from Cherokee Central School Board Chairperson: Emma Stamper, Kyler Hill
  • Award from Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed: Blake Smith, Joaquin Layno
  • Jerry Wolfe Gadugi Award presented by WCU Cherokee Center Director Sky Sampson: Kylee Tramper, Kyler Hill

Following is a list of the graduates of the CHS Class of 2019:

Joaquin Gabriel Leonardo Layno (Valedictorian, Highest Honors, National Honor Society)

Blake Lawson Smith (Salutatorian, Highest Honors, National Honor Society)

Jalyn Gail Albert

Troy Douglas Anthony Jr.

Isaiah Running Wolfe Armachain

Michael Eugene Bernhisel

Logan Seth Blankenship

Damian Xavier Blanton

Tylina Rae Blanton

Ivan Jacob Calhoun

Averii Nycole Cotton (Honors, National Honor Society)

Jayden Chazmond Crowe

Nathaniel Stephen Crowe

Sylas Gauge Davis

Jimiqua Lynn Driver

Joshua Isaiah Driver

Jazlyn Janea Dunn

Annie Danielle Durant

Isaiah Darius Evans

Joshua Dwayne French

Moira Cait-Linnea George

Joshua Douglas Girty

Adrian Gomez

Adriana Gomez

Chayton Oriuela Hernandez

Kyler Dean Hill

Marianna Hornbuckle

Danicka Brooke Huskey (Honors, National Honor Society)

Harvey Ray Jacobs

Jacelyn Celise James

Darius Ian Lambert

James Tay Lambert

Terence Lee Ledford (National Honor Society)

Lucina Lynn Lira

Jamie Marie Lossiah

Jarron Pierce Lossiah (Honors)

Josiah Nv-ga-di-hi Lossiah (Honors, National Honor Society)

Tihjah Bre Lossiah

Dylan John Francis Mangold

Julian Dean Martin

Landen Isaiah Messerly

Lori Denise Meuse

Brianna Jade Murphy

Savannah Kay Owle

Korrina Lynn Owle Perez

Rebekah Shaeleigh Panther

Jullian Diego Parra-Rubio

Shirley Annette Peebles (Honors, National Honor Society)

Juakina Esmerelda Perez

McClay Lelewis Phillips (Honors, National Honor Society)

Niobe Inez Redus

Ietan Marx Reed-Littlejohn

Mariana Sherayna Reyes

Jacee Elissa Smith (Honors)

Seth Allen Smith (Honors, National Honor Society)

Jacob Colon Sneed (Honors, National Honor Society)

Samuel Otter Sneed

Emma Nicole Stamper (Highest Honors, National Honor Society)

Dani Raelene Swayney

Lataya Ge-di Taylor

Tori Teesateskie (Honors, National Honor Society)

Derek Edward Torres (Honors, National Honor Society)

Malakai Tooni

Alyssa J-Ann Tramper

Daniel Edwards Tramper

Kylee Ashton Tramper

Dylan Allen Wachacha

Amaris Lynn Watty

Aweeusti Watty

Jaia Alexis Watty

Carla Angeli Wolfe

James Robert (Tre) Wolfe

Terrance Russell Wolfe