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Statewide News

(OKLAHOMA CITY) The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has announced that an error has been found on some Oklahoma driver licenses and identification cards. The holographic security emblem that should appear on the front of each individual license or card may, in some instances, appear on the back or not at all.

License holders and ID card holders are asked to examine their documents to make sure the image appears on the front. Please see attached image for an example of the correct holographic image.

DPS officials say the licenses and ID cards with incorrect or missing images are still considered valid, but will likely cause delays when the holder attempts to use them for personal identification in places such as airports, banks or federal buildings.

Those who have licenses or ID cards with incorrect images are encouraged to return to the Motor License Agency (Tag Agency) where the document was issued. A corrected license or ID card will be issued at no charge. Individuals are urged to do so at their earliest convenience.

To confirm which tag agency issued the faulty license or ID card, the bearer may check the four-digit number printed at the top right corner of the photograph on the card. The corresponding list of tag agencies is posted on the DPS website at https://www.dps.state.ok.us/dls/motor_license_agents.php.

Public inquiries may be directed to the DPS Driver License Help Desk at 405-425-2020.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Mary Fallin announced today she has approved the use of nearly $1.4 million from the state emergency fund to bolster the efforts of regulators and earthquake researchers in Oklahoma.

The funds will be directed to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) and the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS).

Fallin recently asked the OCC and the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity to determine what state agencies needed to better understand the earthquakes impacting parts of the state. She was presented with a list of needs totaling $1.387 million in one-time costs.

“I immediately made arrangements for the Corporation Commission and OGS to receive the money necessary to meet those needs,” Fallin said. “I’m committed to funding seismic research, bringing on line advanced technology and more staff to fully support our regulators at they take meaningful action on earthquakes.”

The emergency funds allocated by the governor will allow the OCC to proceed with much-needed computer updates and hire two contract geologists and other staff to work on seismic issues.

OCC Vice Chair Dana Murphy said the transfer addresses the need for essential resources.

“Efficient and timely handling of the huge amount of data involved is critical if we are to respond effectively to the earthquakes,” Murphy said. “The governor’s prompt action on our request addresses those concerns.”

OGS will use its share of the emergency funds to install additional seismic monitoring stations in western Oklahoma, update its monitoring network and upgrade its mapping systems.

The research agency also will conduct studies to shed light on how wastewater interacts with the Arbuckle formation, where most disposal wells operate, and the basement layer of rock below it.

OGS Director Jeremy Boak said the additional funding will meet a variety of the agency’s needs related to the increase of earthquakes in Oklahoma.

“The funds will enable us to provide better recommendations for remedial action to further reduce the rate and magnitude of induced earthquakes,” said Boak.

Breakdown of funding for earthquake research

Governor Mary Fallin has transferred $1.387 million from the state’s emergency fund to aid regulators and researchers working to understand Oklahoma’s increase in earthquakes.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission will receive $387,000 for:

· Information technology upgrades

· Two contract geologists, contract clerical worker and geophysicist consultant

· Senior-level oil and gas attorney

The Oklahoma Geological Survey will receive $1 million for:

· Installation of additional permanent seismic monitoring stations

· Update seismic monitoring network and software

· Analyze the response of seismicity to regulatory and market forces driving changes in produced water injection

· Characterize the properties of the Arbuckle formation and basement rock in a complex fluid reservoir

· Workshops to share research results and define needs for additional studies

For additional information about how the emergency funds will be spent, visit earthquake.ok.gov.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 28, 2016) — The Oklahoma State Board of Education today unanimously approved the final draft of new state academic standards for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, sending the standards to the Legislature for approval and concluding a robust and transparent process of revisions that incorporated feedback from thousands of Oklahomans.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister thanked the board for its vote and praised the many Oklahomans who took part in creating the new standards.

“These new standards are rigorous, user-friendly and most importantly created by Oklahomans to address the particular needs of our state,” Hofmeister said. “They strengthen expectations of what our students can achieve and set a high bar that ensures all Oklahoma schoolchildren will be well prepared to enter higher education and demanding careers. I am thankful to every Oklahoman who participated in this process — from writing the standards to providing essential feedback. Oklahoma can truly be proud of these standards.”

Under House Bill 3399, which repealed Common Core State Standards in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Board of Education (OSBE) was tasked with adopting a set of standards for use in schools beginning in the 2016-17 school year. As directed by that law, the drafted standards were sent to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the State Regents for Higher Education for review. This morning, the Regents certified the standards as college- and career-ready.

The Oklahoma Academic Standards for ELA and Mathematics improve on and replace the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards, which were temporarily re-implemented by HB 3399 after the repeal of Common Core.

The new standards were written by teams of educators from Oklahoma institutions of higher education and school districts across the state that based their research on successful, non-Common Core standards in other states. These standards provide measurable goals and benchmarks for instruction. Specific curriculum and lesson plans remain under the control of local school districts.

The standards have earned accolades from a host of experts.

Dr. Frank Wang, president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, has worked as a textbook publisher, where he studied math standards he considered vague and immeasurable. The new Oklahoma standards, he said, bucked that trend.

“Given my prior experience studying state standards, I approached this task with a healthy amount of skepticism. I was pleasantly surprised,” said Wang, who holds a doctorate in pure math from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Overall, I found the standards to be clearly stated, explicit, relevant and appropriate. I feel that students who are in classes that follow these standards will be well prepared for college and capable of pursuing STEM majors if they choose to do so.”

Dr. Priscilla L. Griffith, director of the Oklahoma Writing Project (OWP) at the University of Oklahoma, praised the ELA standards.

“The content of the standards is rigorous and requires students to engage in analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creativity beginning as early as prekindergarten. OWP is confident application of these standards will ensure students are prepared for workplace and college success,” wrote Griffith and Audra Plummer, OWP’s director for in-service, in a letter to OSDE.

Hofmeister said the heavy lifting for educators begins after the standards are finalized.

“Districts and schools have a mountain of work to begin as soon as these standards are approved,” she said. “Before students arrive for the next school year, districts must align the curriculum framework for both subjects in every grade level, and teachers will need professional development. We owe it to our teachers and students to get them finalized and approved as quickly as possible.”

Extensive review process and new features

Since June 2015, standards drafts have been reviewed by classroom teachers, school curriculum specialists, parents, legislators, statewide and national education organizations, representatives of business and higher education and members of the general public who participated in multiple rounds of public comment.

The new standards are more rigorous than PASS. They offer a renewed focus on foundational skills, including phonics, cursive writing, basic grammar and writing research papers in ELA; and counting money, standard algorithms, patterns, ratios and proportions in math.

They are also the first standards in Oklahoma to be published with vertical progressions, which allow teachers to base their lesson plans not just on where students should be performing in their grade, but also where they will be expected to go in future grades, allowing for interconnected instruction with fewer knowledge gaps between grades.

Educators, leaders and organizations from across Oklahoma and the nation have already reviewed the final draft and offered multiple endorsements of the standards.

The South Central Comprehensive Center (SC3) at OU, which aims to sustain reform efforts and improve teaching and learning in four U.S. states, assembled committees to compare the new standards to Common Core standards and found significant differences between them, such as the incorporation of multimodal literacy in ELA and beginning the standards in prekindergarten to identify and eliminate gaps in learning as early as possible.

Of the ELA standards, the SC3 report states: “These rigorous standards establish a solid foundation in all aspects of literacy and incorporate higher-order thinking skills as students engage in research, decipher multimodal texts and become independent readers and writers. The inclusive approach toward historical, social and cultural connections to content grounds learners in the knowledge needed for further study, work and citizenship engagement.”

More than 1,900 teachers across the state were directly involved in the standards-creation process. Educators from across the state are writing in support of the standards as a rigorous and direct answer to the needs of Oklahoma classrooms.

World Literature Today executive director Robert Con Davis-Undiano, who is also a Neustadt Professor and Presidential Professor at OU, praised the final draft of the ELA standards.

“I believe that the new standards will raise the level of student preparation in the ELA area, and I am pleased to anticipate the enhanced knowledge base and sophistication that will be evident in students coming from Oklahoma high schools to attend The University of Oklahoma and study literature and the arts,” wrote Davis-Undiano.

Tara L. Fair, associate superintendent at Edmond Public Schools, said: “As a school district, we have been extremely involved with the standards writing process. Our content specialists, administrators and teachers have also had numerous opportunities for reviewing the standards. Many of our stakeholders have participated in the opportunities that have been provided by the state and through content consortiums. It is our determination that these standards are a quality product and will benefit the students of Edmond and Oklahoma.”

Janet C. Dunlop, associate superintendent at Broken Arrow Public Schools, said: “It is with full confidence that Broken Arrow Public Schools endorses the new Oklahoma [Academic] Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics … The alignment of the standards to college- and career-ready skills and the precise vertical alignment provide a much better roadmap for our teachers to use. We feel strongly that these standards will provide our students with a more rigorous and deep understanding of the concepts and skills needed to be equipped citizens and successful in college and career.”

Once new standards are approved by the Legislature, the OSDE will immediately begin working to ensure all local schools are adequately prepared to begin using them as soon as possible.

Copies of the standards, support letters and ancillary booklets are available here.

“SIMPLY SHOCKING”… OKLAHOMA NOW AN ENERGY INDUSTRY ‘SACRIFICE ZONE’

OKLAHOMA CITY – In a Jan. 15 hearing chaired by state Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-OKC) and co-chaired by Rep. Cory Williams (D-Stillwater) at the Oklahoma State Capitol to review data on the state’s recent earthquakes, attendees crowded into three large committee rooms, forcing a move to the House Chamber and its galleries.

The attendees, and interested citizens who listened via the Internet, heard presentations by geologists and environmentalists as well as residents’ accounts of experiencing earthquakes and damaging after-effects.

Morrissette announced Wednesday that he plans to request emergency legislation to establish guidelines for a victim reparation fund endowed by the oil and gas companies, and he encouraged attendees to contact their legislators immediately to insist upon legislation to deal with all of the earthquake issues, to include a call for moratorium.

Rep. Morrissette opened the hearing with the following statement: “The goal of this hearing is to begin to honestly and forthrightly establish an unbiased knowledge base from which our state and our wounded communities can draw the confidence necessary to move forward, without fear, after years of enduring earthquakes of dangerous and destructive magnitude, while having no one in government or industry truly willing to listen or accept responsibility.

“Now that the testimony section of the hearing has concluded, I can say that the level of damage to both lives and property is simply shocking,” Morrissette said. “Until these testimonials, our state had no collective record of the scope of the damage. We had no record of how many ways drilling and injection disposal might forever ruin our land and water. And peace of mind no longer exists for our residents. The intensity and severity of the damage has the potential to ruin our economy and our Oklahoma way of life, in my estimation, for years to come.

“The reckless decisions by gas and oil companies to ‘drill baby drill’, obviously without a clear understanding of the potential dangers, threaten to ruin our economy and the environment. And the irresponsible legislation that permits the industry to make these decisions must immediately be repealed. It could take decades, or God forbid, forever, to entirely repair the damage. No victimized private citizen should be made responsible for an energy company’s mistakes. No citizen should have to shoulder the burden of home repairs and earthquake insurance policies. We need a reparation fund established by the industry to begin the process of making these people emotionally and financially whole and we need at least a partial moratorium on injection well disposal.”

Contributors to the hearing included Todd Halihan, professor of hydrogeology, Oklahoma State University; attorney for a class-action lawsuit, Scott Poynter of Arkansas, Poynter Law Group of Counsel to Steel, Wright, & Collier PLLC; Robert Jackman, Tulsa petroleum geologist, Jackman, Inc.; Johnson Bridgwater, director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club; state Insurance Commissioner John Doak; and perhaps the most powerful message was delivered by Ponca Tribal Council member Casey Camp-Horinek, who spoke of how energy companies operating disposal wells in north central Oklahoma treat the area as a ‘sacrifice zone’ and she also raised the issue of water and its sacred value and purpose and how by hydraulic fracturing and injection well disposal, millions of gallons are fouled and wasted while we languish in intermittent and continuing drought. Ms. Camp-Horinek recently returned from the International Climate Summit in Paris, where she participated as an environmentalist on behalf of her sovereign nation.

Since the hearing on Jan. 15, the Associated Press and KWTV-9 have reported at least half a dozen earthquakes around the state. Additionally, KOCO-TV reported Wednesday that through the first 19 days of January, Oklahoma recorded eight earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater – a new state record for a single month. The previous record was seven occurrences in November 2015 – just two months ago. In yet another related matter, the estimated damage from a recent fracking fire near Chickasha was around $50 million.

Audio of the Capitol hearing:

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A FREE, international campaign organized by The Girls Gone Green is challenging people to go meat-free for 31 days. The goal is to help people think about their food in a whole new way and the results are more than astounding they are life-changing!veggies

According to Executive Director of the nonprofit Julie Watkins, "March is National Nutrition Month and what better way to celebrate than by participating in a community-supported initiative developed to help you feel and look better. I truly believe No Meat March has saved people's lives and will continue to do so with each challenge we offer!"

Participants go online and pledge to eschew meat during the month of March. There are also options for them to give up dairy, eggs and cheese. It invites those curious about exploring a plant-based diet to become part of a growing population seeking healthier alternatives to animal protein. All the questions about health, food, protein and more are answered making the transition easy and effective for everyone.

Watkins explains, "We just want you to use the 31 days of going meat-free as a way to explore your body and health. It allows you to take a break from foods high in fat and cholesterol to see if you like the way it makes you feel. We are here to offer support and encouragement."

During the month participants will receive daily emails sharing nutritional information and recipes to support their commitment to No Meat March. A recipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided taking out the guesswork of what to eat next. Plenty of resources are available to foster community, allowing participants to communicate, ask questions and get feedback.

"The best part about this challenge is hearing from people years later who say they are still meat-free because of No Meat March."

The Girls Gone Green is a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 2007 devoted to environmental, animal and health issues. They organize several events, campaigns and online programs to support these causes.

For more information please visit www.NoMeatMarch.com.

(Shawnee, Okla. – January 18, 2016) The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners has awarded St. Gregory’s University accreditation of its business programs.

"A degree from an accredited school is more valuable to students and employers. The ACBSP accreditation schools focus on student learning and success,” said Dr. Angela James, chair of St. Gregory’s Business Department. “Being ACBSP accredited is a signal to students and employers that the program meets standards of rigor and excellence required to compete in the global market place."

Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only organization offering specialized business accreditation for all degree levels, from associate to baccalaureate to doctoral degree programs. ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes within the undergraduate and graduate business programs offered in the Department of Business at St. Gregory’s University meet the rigorous educational standards established by ACBSP.

“St. Gregory’s University has shown their commitment to teaching excellence and to the process of quality improvement by participating in the accreditation process,” said ACBSP Chief Accreditation Officer Dr. Steve Parscale, who will present the Certificate of Initial Accreditation at ACBSP Conference 2016 in Atlanta, Ga., on June 19. “This accreditation is evidence that St. Gregory’s is committed to providing the highest quality business education for their students.”

Based on the criteria of the National Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award, ACBSP accreditation evaluates aspects of the institutional leadership, strategic planning processes, relationships with the community, quality of academic programs, faculty credentials and services, and educational support to determine whether or not the institution offers a rigorous educational experience and demonstrates continuous quality improvement.
For more information about St. Gregory’s business degree programs, contact Admissions at 1-844-BE EXTRA, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.stgregorys.edu/business.

Founded in 1875, St. Gregory’s University is Oklahoma’s oldest institution of higher learning and only Catholic university. St. Gregory’s offers a liberal arts education rooted in the Benedictine tradition of cultivating the whole person – mind, body and spirit. With campuses in Shawnee and Tulsa, St. Gregory’s features both traditional and adult degree programs, including associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. For more information about the University, visit www.stgregorys.edu.

ACBSP’s mission is to promote continuous improvement and recognize excellence in the accreditation of business education programs around the world. ACBSP, www.acbsp.org, is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a specialized accreditation agency for business education. ACBSP currently has 1,220 member campuses, 233 of which are located outside of the U.S. Of those campuses, 962 have achieved accreditation and more than 160 are in candidacy for accreditation. Individual members on these campuses now exceed 13,000.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 17:58

Tips to Beat the Winter Blues

If you have been feeling down lately,  you’re not alone. The mid-winter blues are a common phenomenon.

When clinically diagnosed, it is formally referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  The National Institute of Health characterizes SAD as a type of depression that can leave those who suffer from it with less energy and feelings of sadness and anxiety.

While light therapy, talk therapy and medications are often prescribed to those diagnosed with SAD, there are also some lifestyle measures anyone can take to beat the blues.

Exercise regularly. Exercise is not only great for your physical health, it can also be beneficial to your mood, boosting endorphins and raising self esteem.

Make plans.  When the weather outside if cold, it mat be tempting to spend every night curled up indoors.  However, making a conscious effort to stay connected with friends and family can combat feelings of loneliness.

Take a vacation.  Plan a vacation somewhere sunny and warm, to get a dose of summer fun during the long, cold winter.

Staying inside can still be fun if you have to.  Here are some fun things to do:

Cleaning out closets can be fun.  Pull out everything and reorganize.  In the process, chances are you will find old items, photo albums you have not seen in a while. You will have time to stop and look through them and reorganize and throw some old things out.  Vacuum or sweep out and spray a little insect spray before putting everything back.  This can lighten the spirits to know where things are and usually makes a person feel accomplished to have their spaces tidied up.what heirs want even more than money

Buy a puzzle or two and work on a few hours each day.

Do you have an old record player and records you haven't listened to in a while?  This would be a good time to break them out and listen to some old favorites.

Buy a new book that is inspiring and has a happy or comical storyline.  You can take a journey through the pages and escape to other worlds that leave you happy hearted.

Pull out those board games and invite people over to play.  Plan refreshments and include hot chocolate or apple cider.  Just planning and preparing will get your mind on your task and laughing with friends is great medicine.

Pull out the old cook books and search for new or old favorites you have not fixed in a while. Do some baking.  Not a cook?  Why not pick something simple and give it your best try.  If it doesn't turn out, they fun was in the activity, but chances are you will do just fine if you follow the instructions carefully.  Cookies are an easy item and a little sweet treat can be nice with hot tea or coffee.

If you can purchase some lean proteins,they carry plenty of amino acids, which may positively affect your mood. Lean proteins are also a great source of energy, which is something you’ll need to help beat fatigue. Besides being high in omega-3s, salmon is a great source of lean proteins.

Last but not least, do yourself a favor and have a little willpower. Even though it's cozy under those blankets in the morning.  Don't draw the blinds at night.  Let the daybreak wake you up and push yourself a little get on up out of bed and get your day started.  Too much sleep can add to your woes.

And if the sun should break through at all, take advantage of getting outside for a brief walk.  Breath in some fresh air and take in what sunshine you can get on your face. You will be glad you did!

Walking

(Shawnee, Okla. – November 10, 2015) St. Gregory’s University invites prospective students and their family members to experience Cavalier Day on Thursday, November 12 beginning at 10 a.m. in Benedictine Hall.
Students and their families are able to visit with current students, tour the historic campus, learn about student activities and campus life, attend a college class and meet current faculty and staff who are able to assist with the admissions process.

Additional Cavalier Days are scheduled for February 11 and April 14.

Cavalier Day is free to attend, and lunch will be provided. For more information, or to RSVP, contact St. Gregory’s Admissions Department at 1-844-BE EXTRA, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register online at www.stgregorys.edu/cavalierday.

Founded in 1875, St. Gregory’s University is Oklahoma’s oldest institution of higher learning and only Catholic university. St. Gregory’s offers a liberal arts education rooted in the Benedictine tradition of cultivating the whole person – mind, body and spirit. With campuses in Shawnee and Tulsa, St. Gregory’s features both traditional and adult degree programs, including associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. For more information about the University, visit www.stgregorys.edu

StG 51115 0476

2015 has lost too many lives due to driving off into flood waters and some of them could have been prevented. Fema is asking for your help to read these tips to help save the lives of you and your loved ones. This video will show you why you should TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!

Safety and Preparedness Tips

.· It’s important for all residents and visitors in flood-prone and low-lying areas to monitor local radio or television stations for updated emergency information and follow the instructions of state and local officials.

· If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.

· Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

· If roads are closed or there is water over a road, do not drive through the water.

· Be prepared to take detours and adjust your route due to road closures if there is standing water.

· Don’t put yourself at risk; follow the instructions of local officials – and if told to evacuate, do so immediately.

· Familiarize yourself with the terms used to identify a severe weather hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Some of the more common terms used to describe severe weather and tornado hazards include the following:

o A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.

o A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

o A Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

o A Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

o A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours.

o A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.

· Ensure you have a flashlight, NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries on hand. Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

· Injury may occur when people walk amid disaster debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.

· Be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in or around your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards and before going back to a property with downed power lines, or the possibility of a gas leak. Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.

· If your power is out, safely use a generator or candles.

o Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.

o Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions.

o If using candles, please use caution. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire.

· Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. More information is available on WEA atwww.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts.

· Businesses of all sizes should prepare for all hazards including severe weather to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations.

o Review and update your business continuity plan and ensure your workforce knows what to do in the event of severe weather. Resources are available on web sites such as Ready.gov/business and the Sba.gov/disaster-planning including exercises and preparedness tips.

o Encourage your employees to update their family emergency plan to stay connected with during severe weather while at work and develop alternate methods of communication. Also, download the commuter emergency plan to identify evacuation routes while at work, school, or home.

· To learn more about what to do before, during and after severe weather, visit www.Ready.gov.

 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 30, 2015) – Two Oklahoma high school students have been named this year’s state delegates to the prestigious 54th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

Nathan Levit, a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, and Matthew Welborn, a senior at Norman North High School, will join 102 other delegates from around the country for an exclusive week this spring in Washington D.C.

Pranoy Behera from Bartlesville High School and Caleb Morrow from Altus High School were chosen as alternates.

“I am proud of the accomplishments of these distinguished students. Their exemplary academic achievement combined with dedicated community service has well prepared them for this unique honor and opportunity,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Hofmeister said. “Across the course of this program, many of the alumni have gone on to become leaders at all levels of government, business and philanthropic endeavors. These distinguished students are without question some of Oklahoma's finest leaders of tomorrow.”

Levit serves as president of the Model UN, senior student council representative, president of the Washington Economics Society, and is co-captain of the golf team. He is the founder and president of Youth for Action and the regional vice president for the Jewish teen leadership organization BBYO. Levit has worked in multiple local political campaigns. He plans to attend law school and work in Washington D.C.

Welborn is president of the Norman North student council and is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. He is active in youth leadership in Norman as a member of the City of Norman Youth Council, the Chamber of Commerce Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, and the United Way Teen Advisors of Norman. Welborn runs his own tutoring company and is currently tutoring 14 students. Welborn also attends Moore-Norman Technology Center’s Engineering Program. He plans to earn an engineering degree and attend law school.

Both were nominated by the Oklahoma State Department of Education after going through an application process that adhered to high standards set by the USSYP.

On March 5, two student leaders from every U.S. state, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Department of Defense school system will arrive in the nation’s capital for a week-long look at how the country functions. They will meet with prominent officials from every branch of government and related fields, including members of Congress, the President, a Supreme Court justice, an ambassador and members of the media.

Each will also receive a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship.

The USSYP has been sponsored by the U.S. Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundation since its inception in 1962. Alumni of the program include Robert Henry, former U.S. judge, state legislator and attorney general. He is the current president of Oklahoma City University. Other alumni include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Richard Burt, former ambassador to West Germany; Thomas “Mack” McLarty, chief of staff for President Clinton; Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff for President Bush; Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Sen. Gory Gardner of Colorado.

Delegates generally rank academically in the top percent of their states, and they have shown great leadership ability and a commitment to volunteer work.

For more information on the USSYP in Oklahoma, visit http://sde.ok.gov/sde/social-studies#USSYP.

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