Claremore Educator, Michelle Rahn,  to Be Featured on OETA

OKLAHOMA CITY – Five outstanding Oklahoma educators and 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors will be recognized when OETA Public Television broadcasts the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 35th Academic Awards Ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 29, and 10 a.m. Sunday, May 30.

Keynote speaker Erin Gruwell, an education activist and author, will also be featured in the program. The broadcast will air on OETA Channel 13 in Oklahoma City and Channel 11 in Tulsa. Subsequent broadcasts will be shown on OETA’s OKLA channel. For digital broadcast listings, visit the station’s website at www.oeta.tv. A link to the broadcast will also be available in June on the foundation website at www.ofe.org.

The celebration, recorded May 22 at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa, is sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. This year’s ceremony was emceed by Tulsa veteran television news journalist Scott Thompson, a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

The awards ceremony recognizes 100 public high school seniors from throughout the state as Academic All-Staters. Also honored are this year’s recipients of Oklahoma Medal for Excellence Awards: Elementary Teaching recipient Michelle Rahn, a sixth-grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teacher at Will Rogers Junior High School, Claremore; Secondary Teaching winner Shelley Self, an art teacher at Coweta High School; Elementary/Secondary Administration recipient Chuck McCauley, superintendent, Bartlesville Public Schools; Regional University/Community College Teaching winner Dr. David Bass, professor of biology, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond; and Research University Teaching honoree Dr. Edralin Lucas, professor of nutritional sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. Bios of this year’s honored students and educators are available online at www.ofe.org.

The broadcast will include Gruwell’s keynote address, “Be a Change Maker,” in which she recounts her journey as a rookie teacher at Long Beach, California, working with students whose lives had been plagued by gangs and violence. Gruwell’s innovative teaching methods gave new hope to students forgotten by a broken system, motivating them not only to graduate high school, but to aspire for college, become published authors and more. Inspired by the personal essays of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager in hiding in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, Gruwell’s students captured their collective experience in the book “The Freedom Writers Diary,” which inspired a major film in 2007. Inspired by her students, Gruwell began The Freedom Writers Foundation, which shares her unique teaching methods with educators and inspires young people to be change makers.


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