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Oklahoma City Education Briefs – June 2015

Football Coach Robert Walker, Athletic Director Brian Sexto and Principal Tarrance Rodgers proudly accepted a grant from the Wes Welker Foundation this spring. The gift will finance purchases of football equipment, basketballs and new uniforms at the public charter alternative school. Photo Provided
Football Coach Robert Walker, Athletic Director Brian Sexto and Principal Tarrance Rodgers proudly accepted a grant from the Wes Welker Foundation this spring. The gift will finance purchases of football equipment, basketballs and new uniforms at the public charter alternative school. Photo Provided

Compiled by The City Sentinel Staff

Wes Welker Foundation grant to boost Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy’s athletics

The Wes Welker Foundation has named Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy a first-time grant recipient for the 2015-16 school year. The $8,400 presented to school officials will allow purchases of football equipment, basketballs and new uniforms.

Accepting the boost in resources were Principal Tarrance Rodgers, Athletic Director Brian Sexton and Football Coach Robert Walker.

In other news from Seeworth, the charter school’s storm-delayed graduation ceremonies were held Thursday, May 21.

Wes Welker is a Heritage Hall graduate who was a star receiver at Texas Tech University who has played professionally for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. He has led the National Football League (NFL) in pass receptions three years in his career.

Welker says he started his foundation in 2006 “because I wanted to level the playing field for at-risk youth in my hometown of Oklahoma City. I was lucky enough to attend one of the best schools where I lived, and therefore was given the opportunity and resources to learn and play sports. These experiences taught me teamwork, how to work hard, and leadership: all principles that I use in my life today.”

An essay on his website explains his perspective: “While academics are certainly a critical part of a child’s development, athletics play an integral role as well. Research shows that kids who play sports are more likely to graduate, more likely to stay out of trouble, and more likely to be productive citizens. Yet with all the research showing the positive impact of physical activity on youth, the physical education programs in many of our schools continue to decline or are simply not funded at all.”

ASTEC Charter School holds commencement, student achievers honored

The 2015 commencement ceremony for ASTEC charter school was held May 22 at First Presbyterian Church (1001 N.W. 25).

May 16, the school’s rowing team completed on the Oklahoma River in the Spring Regatta. Senior Rower Reggie Trevino garnered the “Commitment to Excellence” Award for competing throughout his four years of high school.

Eighth-grade ASTEC student Cristina Delgado was honored for over 100 hours of community service, including completion of the SHINE (Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods.

Everywhere) program. County Commissioner Brian Maughan leads the volunteer program.
ASTEC Senior Allen Colston is attending the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI). Junior student Raquel Blanco is one of the five nominees for student of the year from the MetroTech Superintendent.

Anna Egas is McGuinness May Student of the Month

Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School has named the May student of the month, and the 2014-15 Alumni of the year.

McGuinness designated Anna Egas as May Student of the Month. She was nominated by peers and faculty for her leadership and dedication to the school.

The daughter of Charles and Maria Egas of Oklahoma City, Anna maintained a GPA of 4.629 and was a co-valedictorian this year. She is a National Merit Scholar, an Oklahoma Academic Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction and was selected to the National Hispanic Recognition Program. Other awards include the President’s Education award and the Father David Monahan award.

Taking numerous AP classes, Anna is a three year member of National Honor Society.  She was a member of the French Honor Society for three years, and was President this year. Anna was a member of Student Council and Senior Class Secretary/Treasurer.

Anna has represented McGuinness at various events in the community. She was the Chairman of Feeder School Visits Committee. Other involvements include Politics Club, Vice President of Book Club and Student Adviser on Technology.

With over 300 community service hours, Anna earned the distinction of graduating with a red cord. Activities included Youth Leadership Exchange program, Peru Mission Trip, Senior Service Project and the Canned Food Drive.

Anna plans to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, majoring in International Comparative Studies with a minor in Political Science.

Richie Touhy is McGuinness Alumni of the Year

In other news, McGuinness has bestowed the 2015 Alumni of the Year Award on Richard “Richie” Tuohy. Presenting the award at graduation ceremonies in May was Alumni Executive Board President Becky Burgess.

A 1969 graduate, Tuohy has been a diligent supporter of the school and charitable causes in the city area. He attended the University of Central Oklahoma and studied Business. His daughter, Ashly, is a 1996 McGuinness grad.

Involved in the Celtic Catholic Youth Organization for numerous years and also served on the Alumni Association Board, Richie has been the head McGuinness football statistician for 32 years.  He is a long time member of Christ the King Parish.

Editor Patrick B. McGuigan of The City Sentinel, also a McGuinness alum (class of 1972), praised Tuohey, saying, “I remember with great fondness covering football games and sitting next to Richie. He is a great citizen and a great human being. His years of dedicated service is a testimony to his integrity –  and a sign that he has his priorities right.”

OSU nabs top 10 finish in national campus conservation competition

Oklahoma State University finished in the top 10 of the 5th annual Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), a nationwide competition among colleges and universities to conserve electricity and water.

From March 30 to April 19 residents living in the Villages C, D, E, F, Human Sciences and College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources ranked in the top 10 in the electricity category by saving 53,664 kilowatt-hours. These efforts resulted in $3,756 of savings and the avoidance of 92,624 pounds of CO2 emissions. OSU competed against 125 colleges and universities.

Village C, D, and CASNR won the campus energy reduction competition on campus by lowering their consumption by 20.4 percent. Residents received T-shirts and recognition for their efforts.

OSU joined the ranks of more than 100 institutions nationwide that participated in Campus

Conservation Nationals, and was the first college in Oklahoma to participate.  For this year’s competition, residents organized in their suite-style community and online to demonstrate sustainable behavior and prove that the buildings they live in do not need extensive renovations to be greener.

Residents achieved their results by turning off lights in bathrooms and common spaces at night, turning off lights in unoccupied spaced, taking stairs instead of the elevator, unplugging electronics when not in use, washing clothes with cold water, turning computers on power save mode, and other efforts.

CCN is hosted by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, Lucid, the Alliance to Save Energy and the National Wildlife Federation. CCN offers valuable educational opportunities, such as enabling students to teach themselves conservation behaviors, as well as environmental and economic benefits. This empowers the future generation of energy and environmental leaders and fosters a culture of conservation within campus communities.

“CCN teaches that small behavior changes can make a big impact on the environment,” noted Kristy Jones, Campus Ecology senior manager at the National Wildlife Federation. “These behavior changes can easily be replicated at home, at work, and as students move into their careers after graduation.”

To learn more about Campus Conservation Nationals, sign-up to host a competition on your campus next year, or follow leading schools, visit or follow CCN on Facebook and Twitter.

Oklahoma City University Film Professor Releases Book on Japanese Director

A film professor at Oklahoma City University recently released a book titled “Ozu International” about Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, who made one of the highest regarded films of all time – “Tokyo Story.”

Marc DiPaolo, who teaches English and film courses at OCU, chose Ozu as the subject for his latest book because he doesn’t think enough people have heard of him in America, in contrast to how respected and beloved Ozu’s work is in Europe and Japan.

“Ozu’s movies are about real people, not superheroes or assassins,” DiPaolo said. “His characters are heroic only in that they struggle to find love, pay bills, get jobs and get along with their spouses, children and parents. They are underpaid military veterans, office cubicle workers, teachers, secretaries and housewives who deal with their problems by ignoring them, making jokes and trying not to do too much shopping or drinking to make themselves feel better. I can see myself and my family and friends in his characters.”

In 2012, Sight and Sound’s poll of directors named “Tokyo Story” (1953) the best film ever made. The film has grown in stature in recent years, placing among the top 10 in Sight and Sound’s critics poll. Japanese critics named it the best Japanese film ever made (Kinemo Jumpo magazine, 2009).

Prof. DiPaolo specializes in cultural studies. He has taught courses in film studies, film genres, international cinema and political commentary movies, as well as courses in literature and comic books for the English Department. “Ozu International” was released by Bloomsbury Publishing. Read more about the book or order a copy on the book’s Web page at

Television host Chris Harrison signs books to support city causes

Chris Harrison, host of the television shows “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” as well as the new host of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” debuted his new novel Friday (May 22) in Midtown. The event benefitted Oklahoma City University and the National Bombing Memorial.

OCU worked with Best of Books in Edmond to sponsor the event at Fassler Hall at 421 N.W. 10th St. Harrison will speak to the group about his book “The Perfect Letter” with a question-and-answer session afterward. Fans had the opportunity to buy books and get the author’s signature.

“We are thrilled Chris Harrison chose Oklahoma for his new book,” said Joe Hight, president of Best of Books. “We were told he feels deeply about the bombing memorial and Oklahoma City University, where he graduated, so we wanted to do events that benefit both.”

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