, Muskogee, OK

May 8, 2013

Muskogee honors top academic performers

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Muskogee High School freshman Malindi Holder expects to attend the Muskogee Public Schools’ next three Academic Awards Banquets.

Over the past five years, she’s attended five annual banquets. She attended the 2013 Academic Awards Banquet on Tuesday night, along with top students at other Muskogee schools. The banquet honored the student with the highest grade point average at each school in grades four through seven. Students in grades eighth through 12 were honored for cumulative grade point averages.

Many of the 93 students honored at the banquet had been there at least once before. Malindi’s sister, MHS senior Zuri Holder, attended her eighth academic banquet, as did MHS senior Dylan Oney.

Malindi said she’s going to set an eight-year record, and she knows how to get there.

“I just try to focus in class and do my best,” she said, adding that because of her sister’s honors, “I feel I need to be that much better.”

Grant Foreman Elementary fifth-grader Cloe Evidson, who is in her second year as a top student, said her keys to success are to “work hard, listen in class and stay focused.”

Her mother, Leota Evidson, said her daughter loves to read.

“She’s the type who would read the ingredients on a can,” Evidson said. “When the teachers send home summer work at the end of the school year, she actually does the work.”

Pershing fifth-grader Caydon Crain had a similar key to success — “listen.”

“It’s hard to listen when the kids are screaming,” Caydon said.

His schoolmate, Jordan Bradley, said “I just do the best I can, and if I’m stuck, I just ask the teacher.”

Creek Elementary sixth-grader Irene Weng has been her grade’s top student for three years.

“I want to make good grades,” Irene said.

“If she wants to do something, she wants it to be good,” said her father, Jack Weng.

“In her 12th grade, we’ll see her up there for valedictorian,” said Creek Principal Rick Hoos.

Muskogee Superintendent Mike Garde encouraged the students to focus their energy on their goals.

“Aspire for it,” Garde said. “You need to do it because you love it.”

The banquet also honored district Teacher of the Year Angela Johnson, teachers of the year at each school site and nine retiring teachers. Also honored were recipients of Education Foundation of Muskogee grants.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

Academic honorees

Jose Arguijo, Hunter Avers, Caroline Barton, Kaleb Biglow, Jordan Bradley, Curtisiana Brown, Terah Bryson, Kalen Castor, Katelynn Catron, Andrew Chapuis, Matthew Chapuis, Gabriella Chitwood, Molly Cooper, Tye Covey, Caydon Crain, Kendra Dennis, Mattlyn Dragoo, Jocelyn Drywater, James Eaton, Emma Eaton, Stephanie Edwards, Keelie Englebrecht, Olivia Ericson, Joy Evans, Cloe Evidson, Ellen Fain, Tanner Felts, Kendall Few, Ashlee Fletcher, Imari Freeman, Hadley Garrett, Aniyah Gibbs, Braelyn Hale, Phillip Hamm, Millisa Henderson, Malindi Holder, Zuri Holder, Logan Howard, Makenna Hukill, Laura Jardine, Laysa Jimenez, Georgiann Johnson, Olivia Kinsey, Carson Lamont, Chloe Lamont, Gage Lee-Worthy-Harris, Kate Lester, Noah Lester, Tori Liles, Isabella Locke, Jayccye Mariano, Brenden Martin, Katie Matthews, Bella McWilliams, Jaden McWilliams, Siearah Milton, Abby Mix , Anna Mix, Hollie Moore, Loren Moore, Karoline Newell, David Nunez, Braden O’Dell, Morgan Olmstead, Dylan Oney, Jasmin Pacheco, Zachary Page, Michelle Perkins, Angel Puckett, Maria Puckett, Madison Reavis, Makalynn Richardson, Mayci Roberts, Caitlyn Robinson, Maxwell Rosson, Camryn Runyan, Arrianna Salisbury, Sierra Sanders, Samantha Shafer, Sarah Space, Michael Thompson, Daliyah Tolefree, Bailey Tull, Malachi Walker, Caitlin Wardour, Abby Wayman, Hannah Webster, Laura Webster, Irene Weng, Jacob Wilbourn, Kyle Wilbourn, Luke Wilbourn, Jayden Williams.