DURANT, Okla. – The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Scholarship Advisement Program has been chosen to receive the Education Award at the inaugural Native American Drum Awards to be held Nov. 1 at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Okla.
The Scholarship Advisement Program focuses on college preparation and retention for Choctaw students and strives to support and encourage college-bound students to set and achieve high goals and standards. The Education Award honors outstanding educators or programs that instill wisdom, impart knowledge and contribute to the growth of Native American communities.
The Drum Awards is a national program recognizing both individuals and tribes whose contributions represent the best path forward for the Native American community. Nominations for the Drum Awards originated from several states and tribes. A committee of representatives from different tribes made award selections through an in-depth evaluation and interview process.
“The short-range goal of the Drum Awards is to recognize leaders throughout Indian country and the long range goal is to build leaders in Indian communities,” according to Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith.
“We are very excited to receive the Education Award, from the inaugural Drum Awards Program” said Jo McDaniel, SAP director. “This is a validation of everything we’ve been working for from providing test preparation to guiding students towards the best choices in higher education and a rewarding career.”
SAP supports college-bound Choctaw students by guiding them to the best school for their educational goals. Once enrolled SAP tracks and follows its students. Through a series of programs and one-on-one support, SAP helps high school students prepare for college and keeps students already in college on track to graduate and receive a diploma. SAP was created to combat high college attrition rates in the American Indian community. Recent statistics show even though 44 percent of American Indians aged 25 or older have attended some college in their lifetime, only 9 percent have gone on to earn a bachelor’s degree.
To combat the high college attrition rate in the American Indian community, SAP has developed a multi-faceted approach to keep Choctaw students on track for success, including helping students find funding through scholarships, grants and internships. SAP also supports students through peer advisement, mentoring programs, and college test preparation activities.
Since its founding in 2006 more than 3,000 Choctaw students and parents have joined SAP’s member rolls and more than 13,000 students, parents and Native American educators follow the program closely via its online newsletter, SAP News – www.choctawnation-sap/newsletter.shtml. SAP is looking forward to continuing its successful operation in the years to come by reaching out to as many Choctaw students as possible.