Tahlequah High School is fortunate to have strong community partnerships that support our students with post-secondary opportunities. THS collaborates with Indian Capital Technology Center. Tahlequah High School students tour ICTC during their sophomore year to allow them to see what kind of programs are available. Students that are interested apply and if accepted will attend during their Junior and Senior year. After completion of the two years, they can earn certifications in their area of study. THS currently has 192 students attending ICTC in programs such as Welding, Nursing, Heavy Equipment Operator, HVAC and many more.

We also have a long-standing partnership with Northeastern State University. THS Juniors and Senior attend concurrent classes at NSU and this year we have 22 Juniors and 91 Seniors attending. The Oklahoma State Regents pays for up to 18 hours of tuition for a Senior enrolled in concurrent classes. This year Northeastern State University pays at least 9 hours of tuition for a Junior enrolled in concurrent classes. Tahlequah High School has been a part of the State Regents GearUp Grant for the past 7 years which covers the cost of fees and books for our concurrent students. This is the last year of the grant, and we are hoping to be in the next one. The grant also has helped with FASFA and provided college visits for our students. In addition, Native American students have additional opportunities through their tribe to get financial assistance to attend concurrent college classes and college after graduation.

Tahlequah High School offers an internship class that partners students with local businesses to intern and job shadow to determine if this is what career they are interested in when they graduate high school. We have thirty-two students enrolled in Mr. Valdez’s internship class and the following are community businesses that have accepted student interns: Downtown Family Dentistry, NHS, Tahlequah Police Department, Tahlequah Public Library, Tahlequah Fire Department, Premier Pet Clinic, Clyde’s Tire, Lloyd Legal, Chris Pruitt Auto Sales, BJ Baker Trial Attorney, Associated Vet Clinic, Cherokee County Courthouse, NSU, Walnut Grove Vet Clinic, Creative Care Daycare and TPS classrooms.

THS collaborates with the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. On March 12th, the Tahlequah Chamber teams up with local businesses to create a Reality Check simulation activity that the senior students participate in. During economics classes students learn how to create a budget and recognize which expenses are essential to living and which are luxury expenses. The culminating activity is provided by local businesses that set up booths that students will visit, including housing, transportation, banking, insurance, utilities, and luxury expenses. Students visit all booths to determine if they can afford the services they provide within their budget.

May 9th the Tahlequah Chamber Education Committee will collaborate with NSU and local businesses to honor the top 5% of the Tahlequah High School 2024 graduating class at an Honor Graduate Luncheon. Each student is sponsored by a local business and is partnered with a representative of that business. The student and business representative will sit together at lunch so that the business representative can get to know the student and their academic accomplishments. The business representative will introduce them at the event and present them with a plaque.

The wonderful partnerships that Tahlequah High School has within the community are essentials to our students. They provide rich post-secondary opportunities as well as showcase and honor our students. We are all blessed to live in such a community that focuses on our students.

Written by, DeAnn Mashburn, TPS Assistant Superintendent