Corey Soap was awarded the Lucy Belle Schultz Memorial Scholarship.
Lucy Belle’s son Kurt Schultz was asked to present the scholarship on behalf of the Pryor Lions Club. He talked about his mother, her legacy and their family.
Schultz talked about Lucy Belle’s influence on Pryor, saying she didn't stop at being first, she was a continuous force for good in the community.
Given Lucy Belle’s passion for city government and local politics, it seemed appropriate that her scholarship go to Soap, who plans to major in political science.
The families found some connections at the ceremony. Lucy Belle’s daughter-in-law was Soap's teacher in elementary school and his cousin played ball with her grandson.
“I'm humbled and honored to give my mom's memorial scholarship to you,” said Schultz.
Soap's list of achievements could stretch from Pryor to California. He graduated first in his class of 267 from Pryor High School with a 4.0 grade point average. In addition to being valedictorian, he was in the National Honor Society, Oklahoma Honor Society and Indian State Honor Society.
Soap was active in student council and was instrumental in bringing the state convention to Pryor last year. He was in the ballroom dancing club, saying his girlfriend made him, as well as being an elementary school mentor.
He was a volunteer for the HOPE Coalition and volunteered for multiple local political campaigns.
Soap founded the film making club at school, which led to his work on a video tribute to his grandmother, Wilma Mankiller.
Mankiller was the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. Soap said he volunteered his time for the memorial video and assisted in putting together the press kit to accompany the movie, “The Cherokee Name for Water.”
Soap is exited to be working in the San Franciso Bay area with the same Native American groups his grandmother did.
When it came time to choose a college Soap set his sights high, on Stanford University.
“My parents told me anything was possible, so I did it. But I am honored to be accepted there,” said Soap.
“This is proof that a student from a small town school can get to an Ivy League university,” said Soap. “Pryor really emphasizes leadership. I know Dr. [Don] Raleigh is a driving force behind that. Pryor provides excellent opportunities.”
Soap credits a couple of Pryor teachers for his success.
“One big influence was Ms. [Tina] James. People shy away from her classes because she's hard, but it pays off,” said Soap. “And Ms. [Evette] Barham with all of her leadership lessons.”
The scholarship is for $500 per semester, for eight semesters.
“Best of luck, make Lucy Belle proud,” said Lion's Club President Jay Hogan.
“It's a great honor to be the recipient of this scholarship,” said Soap. “I didn't know Lucy Belle, but from what I understand she was one great lady.”
The Lions assured him that in carrying the legacy of two great women, Schultz and Mankiller, he would achieve greatness of his own.