NSU graduate’s family fills bus to make commencement ceremony

Office of Communications & Marketing | Northeastern State University
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Graduation is truly a time of celebration, not only for the individual who will walk across the stage, but also for the family of the graduating student. The event was so important for Northeastern State University Theatre major Knickle Sloan’s family; they chartered a bus and hauled 47 people all the way from New Mexico just to see Sloan take those proverbial steps toward his future at his 2014 spring graduation.

“There was never a full count of how many people actually came to see me graduate, but I would say 61 would be a good rough estimate,” Sloan said. “There were 47 people on the bus, and they all met up in Albuquerque, N.M. and drove 13 straight hours.”

Sloan’s family believes not only in the worth of education, but also in Northeastern State University. Sloan makes for the third generation in his family to attend this institute of higher education.

“Both my parents graduated from NSU and my grandfather on my mother’s side did as well,” Sloan explained. “I was born in Gallup, N.M. in the heart of the Navajo reservation, but spent most of my childhood between there and Pawhuska, Okla. My grandfather chose to attend NSU because he wanted to be a teacher and he had family in Tahlequah. My mother and father also chose to attend NSU to become teachers, although my dad later changed his mind and pursued other areas.”

Like his father, Sloan also pursued other areas of interest.

“I chose to attend NSU not only because my mother and father went there, but also because NSU has an amazing hands on theatre program,” Sloan said.

Kay Nave-Mark, Sloan’s mother, was pleasantly surprised with her son’s decision to attend Northeastern.

“I was a little surprised Knick wanted to attend NSU,” Nave-Mark said. “Knick’s father had taken him to visit NSU over the years, attending productions at the Playhouse and Knick was interested in the Theater Department and loved the atmosphere there. I was glad because I loved attending NSU. I think one common NSU trait we all three appreciate is the sense of community at NSU. It was small enough to make you feel at home and big enough to have everything you needed.”

Sloan’s mother is the one who organized the travel plans with the charter bus, making it possible for the entire family to attend his graduation.

“My mother is the oldest of 12 sisters and four brothers. When we plan events, everything is big,” Nave-Mark said. “The 47 people on the bus consisted of my mother’s family from Arizona and New Mexico. We chartered the bus in Albuquerque, N.M. Our family had to travel four to five hours from the Navajo Nation to get on the bus. Many of them live in Tsaile, Ariz. The family group included four of Knick’s great-grandparents, his grandparents and many great aunts, great uncles, aunts, uncles and cousins.”

Sloan was involved in several extracurricular activities while attending Northeastern. He was an active member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, the NSU Theatre Company, the Homemade Fireworks Improv Group and Alpha Psi Omega honor society. He majored in theatre and minored in media studies.

“The key to a successful college career in my opinion is time management, make sure to balance school with leisure,” Sloan explained. “I had so many great times at NSU, but my favorite would be every instant I spent in the theatre department. It is my passion and I could not imagine myself doing anything else.”

The next step in this graduate’s life is to become a performer. Sloan has applied to teach in the humanities department at San Juan Community College in Farmington, N.M. and plans to move to Chicago, Ill. once he has some time to put some money aside for the move.

“I would just like to say that I am simply amazed by my family,” Sloan said. “They have always been the biggest supporters of my education, sometimes more so than myself, and I can’t begin to thank everyone enough who came to see me graduate. I’m beyond flattered.”
Regardless of where Sloan ends up, his family will always be there.

Nave-Mark continues, “No matter where he goes and what accomplishments he achieves in his life, I hope he remembers that there is a huge beautiful family that is always supporting him and tremendously proud of him.”

Published: 6/3/2014 2:26:56 PM

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