On Friday, members of the Colcord High School Class of 2017 transition from high school seniors to graduates.

The event is set for 7 p.m., Friday, May 19, at Hornet Arena on the campus of Colcord High School. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Seniors are asked to arrive by 6:15 p.m. at the community center for final instructions. Attendees are respectfully asked not to save seats for other individuals at Hornet Arena.

During the ceremony, the top two students: Evan Rich, valedictorian, and Cainan Lay, salutatorian, will address their classmates. Students will also hear from guest speaker Larry Ellis.


Evan Rich - Valedictorian. Daughter of Rod and Traci Odle, Rich, 17, has been a part of cheer for three years, FCCLA, BPA, Indian Club and Student Council for four years and cosmetology for two.

She plans to attend Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, majoring in pre-medicine. 

She picked NSU because of its proximity to home and its size. 

"Northeastern State University is the perfect school for me to take my first steps into college life," Rich said. 

She hopes to become an obstetrician/gynecologist. 

"I have dreamt of this career since I was 4-years-old," Rich said. "It's my dream career."

One person who inspires you?

My mom is probably the biggest inspiration in my life. She has shown me how to lead my life, how to be respectful and a young lady. She is the strongest person I know.

Even when life knocks her down, she is able to get back up stronger than ever. I believe I am the luckiest person ever having her as my mom.

One book that's stuck with you?

Anthem. It's a book I read my freshman year of high school. I will probably remember it for the rest of my life because it teaches the importance of individuality.

One thing that might surprise people?

My favorite genre of music is classic rock. I've grown up with the noise ACDC, Guns and Roses, and Aerosmith. And it's not self-explanatory by my appearance, Stevie Nicks is my queen.

One thing you can't live without?

My family. They are my strongest supporters and i know I can always count on them being there for me when I need them most. I don't know what I would do without them.

One piece of advice that's stuck with you?

Not everything is perfect, life is full of imperfections and you can't fix everything.

I am the biggest perfectionist, and when I'm stressing about things not exactly as planned, this helps me stay calm and just ride through the bumps in the road.


Cainan Lay - Salutatorian. Son of Jason Lay and the late Amber Settlemyre. 

Lay, 18, jokes he "was literally the best mascot to grace this school."

He plans to attend Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, majoring in engineering. 

"[This school] will give me a chance to further my education while giving me an opportunity to learn a bit about my culture," Lay said.

When he finishes school, Lay hopes to become an aerospace engineer, because he has always been fascinated by space. 

One person who inspires you?

My mother. She was the most resilient, hardworking and loving person I have ever met.

One book that's stuck with you?

Heart of Darkness. Because it explores the nature vs. nurture argument, and who doesn't like a book about adventure through the jungle.

One thing that might surprise people?

I'm 6-foot, 1-inch but I can't dunk! Haha.

One thing you can't live without?

I can't live without Taco Bell! It's just simply too good to just take away.

One piece of advice that's stuck with you?

Wait until the last minute to do things, because diamonds are made under pressure.

This has stuck with me because this justifies all of my procrastinations throughout the years.

Meet the top 10

Other members of the top 10 for the Colcord High School Class of 2017 include:

No. 3 - Elysia Anderson - daughter of Michelle and Kevin Anderson. She plans to attend Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, and major in veterinary technology. She also plans to play soccer for the school.

"I want to be a vet tech and work at a zoo or a vet hospital," Anderson said. "My goal is to work with animals."

No. 4 - Skyler Ziebarth - daughter of Misty and Lesley Ziebarth. She plans to attend Northeast Technology Center in Kansas and pursue a degree in graphic design. She hopes to work in graphic design and photography.

No. 5 - Claire Dunn - daughter of Amy and John Dunn. She plans to attend Rogers State University in Claremore. While she remains undecided about her degree path, she plans to "graduate with a bachelor's degree and enjoy my life."

No. 6 - Keng Lee - son of Kia Lor and Lao Lee. He plans to attend Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami, and major in chemistry. He hopes to become a cardiothoracic surgeon when he finished school.

"I have always wanted to help other people and save them. I hate when people visit the hospital and they have to wait for a long time just to be checked. I want to become a doctor/surgeon so that people will not have to wait long to be checked."

No. 7 - Shania Brown - daughter of Angie Duckett and Jeff Brown. She plans to attend Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. Her major is undecided at this time.

No. 8 - Shania Bennett - daughter of Sheila Bennett. She plans to attend Connors State College in Warner, Oklahoma, and major in physical education - with the goal of becoming a coach.

"I hope to be a physical education teacher and coach for elementary kids one day," Bennett said. "The reason is, because I love spending time with kids, especially dealing with sports and physical activities.

"My inspiration to be a teacher came from my time assisting Coach Mark Sherrell, Coach Rick Hendren and Coach Brad Hickman."

No. 9 - Zane Thompson - son of Rebecca Comstock and Samuel Thompson. He plans to attend Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, and major in education. He eventually hopes to become a teacher in order to help other students.

No. 9 - Breanna Linn - daughter of Heather and Heath Linn. She plans to attend Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and major in elementary education.

Class of 2017 Facts

Class Song

I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack

Class Color

Blue and Gray

Class Motto

"It ain't about how hard you hit: it's about how hard you can hit, and keep moving forward. It's how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done." - Rocky Balboa.

Senior Class Sponsors

Sally Haggard, Frank Riddle, Neothia Hale and Jeremy Scott.

Class Favorites

Shaniah Bennett and River Craghead

Senior Class Officers

President - Keng Lee

Vice President - Cha Vang

Secretary - Claire Dunn

Treasurer - Cainan Lay

Sergeant at Arms - Shania Bennett

Reporter - Lyndsey Harrison

Student Council - Evan Rich