The Takini High School graduation and 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony took place at Takini School Gymnasium on Thursday, May 16.
Six Skyhawks achieved their high school diplomas, and sixteen eitheth graders met requirements to transition to high school.
The commencement ceremony was filled with tradition, gift giving, remembrance, and honoring.
Platform guests were School Board Chair June Hollow Horse, School Board Vice Chair Gloria Sitting Crow, School Board Member Delores Curley, School Board Appointee/Tribal Council Representative Buddy Knife, and respected elder and spiritual leader Vernell Sitting Crow. This year’s guest speaker was Jami Sheridan.
The ceremony opened with a prayer from V. Sitting Crow and was followed by the presentation of eagle feathers or plumes to each high school graduate from their family members.
Scholarships were awarded to several students and included Skyhawk Pride Scholarship recipients Valedictorian Wigmunka Little Sky and Salutatorian Teylor Albers, who both received scholarships in the amount of $300 and $200 respectively.
The first annual Tanner Albers Shooting Star Scholarships were awarded to one male and one female athlete who displayed leadership roles on and off the court, and who had a “never quit attitude” throughout the school year. Recipients of the $200 scholarship were Nolan Two Dogs and Teylor Albers.
The Albers family are known throughout Indian Country for their athletic ability, in particular, Tanner Albers who was a Takini School graduate and a renowned basketball player. In the late 90’s, Tanner and his brother Travis, who is now a teacher and athletic director at Takini School, took United Tribes Technical College to the NJCAA national tournament.
Tanner passed away in 2011, and to date his memory is alive and legacy lives on through basketball/hand game tournaments, and scholarships.
At the graduation ceremony, the Albers Family gifted Takini School with a drum which belonged to Tanner when he was singing with the drum group Midnight Express.
Salutatorian Teylor Albers gave a speech about her family’s ties to the school and community- her grandmother Donna is also a former employee of the school. She shared how proud her late uncle and father have been about being Skyhawk alumni, and that in a special way, her graduation from Takini and the gift of the drum was symbolic of the family coming full circle.
High school graduates were Teylor Albers, Latia Bear Stops, Luke Carlson, Wigmunka Little Sky, Anthony Red Elk, and Nolan Two Dogs.
Eighth grade graduates were Kaileon Ashley, Llewellyn Bagola, LaQuan Belt, Jai’Enna Big Eagle, Kyson Crow Ghost, Shantay Crow Ghost, Angel Charging Cloud, Alissia Charging Eagle, Annatia Hayes, Kyninna Hayes, Tyrus Hollow Horn, Damion Red Elk, Halo Waloke, Alecia Oakie, Blake Peterson, and Tristian Collins.
Graduates were then presented with their diplomas and family members gather around and offered hugs, smiles, and personal gifts.