The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has announced the recipients of its 2019 Academic All-State Awards. These 100 top public high school seniors, selected from 535 nominations statewide, hail from 83 schools in 75 Oklahoma school districts.
Four students from Rogers County were recognized for their academic achievement with a $1,000 merit-based scholarship and a medallion.
To be nominated for Academic All-State, students must meet one of the following criteria: an American College Test (ACT) composite score of at least 30; a combined SAT evidence-based reading & writing and math score of at least 1370; or be selected as a semi-finalist for a National Merit, National Achievement or National Hispanic Scholarship.
Grace Brasfield of Claremore, Madison Watson of Oologah-Talala, Tori Wood of Claremore-Sequoyah and Aaron Reid of Verdigris were acknowledged.
Claremore High School
One student from Claremore High School, was given the honors of being selected for 2019 Academic All-State. Claremore senior Grace Brasfield was selected within the top 100 to receive this prestigious award. This is the 43rd recipient since 1967 in Claremore history.
When Grace began her high school career Academic All State was not on her list of goals - she just wanted to focus on graduating at the top of her class and complete the valedictorian requirements. She explained that her decision to strive for valedictorian led her through the academic steps that eventually gave her the opportunity to apply for Academic All State. The advanced placement and honors classes offered at CHS prepared her for the ACT and developed her writing skills, both essential in receiving this award.
When asked if there were any people that inspired her on her journey, Grace credited several CPS teachers.
“I have had many teachers that have had a major impact on my life. The first of these is David Isenbart, Advisor for the Technology Student Association, which I have been a member of for 7 years. His way of pushing me far beyond the limits of my comfort zone has led me to grow in confidence and also in my speaking skills. The amount of encouragement I have received from my high school teachers has been a true motivating factor for my academic career. Mrs. Jan McClaren, Coach Green, Mrs. Andrews, Ms. Farbes, and Mrs. Brace specifically, have continually challenged me to go beyond my limits and achieve more than what I thought would be possible.”
This May, Grace Brasfield will be graduating from Claremore as a valedictorian, with a 4.44 GPA. She has been accepted into five colleges: OU, OSU, ORU, TU, and U of A and has recently narrowed her final two choices down to the University of Arkansas and the University of Tulsa where she will pursue a degree in Business.
Grace exhibits the true meaning of the Claremore High School motto, “Excellence for all, excellence from all”. This is proven through her extensive school and civic involvement. While partaking in rigorous courses, She has also enriched her academic achievement by being an active member in a number of clubs, including: National Honor Society, Technology Student Association, FUZE (Freshman Mentoring Program), Christian Club, Student Council, Math Club, and Refresh Student Leadership Team.
With her whole life and all these opportunities ahead of her she says she strives to live according to the Stonecutters Credo by Jacob Riis. It states, “When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” This quote encourages her to work hard at
Achieving her goals and reminds her that one day that hard work will pay off. That day will be May 18, 2019 when she will accept this prestigious award at the Academic Awards Banquet
This esteemed award provides each recipient with $1,000 in scholarship money and a medallion. Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren has described the selection of Oklahoma's Academic All-Staters as, "Oklahoma's most rigorous academic competition."
To be considered for this prestigious honor, a student must possess one of the five criterias: composite ACT score of at least 30, combined SAT Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and Math score of at least 1340, National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist, National Achievement Scholarship Program semifinalist, National Hispanic Scholar Awards Program semifinalist. According to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence’s website, following obtaining at least one of the criterias, “..students will be evaluated on the basis of their leadership abilities, motivation, academic achievement and character as maximized within each student’s learning environment.”
Madison Watson of Oologah-Talala high school was one of only 100 recipients to win this prestigious award.
Madison has a 4.0 GPA, scored a 34 on her ACT and I one of ten students at Oologah-Talala tied for the top class ranking.
Her list of academic honors is extensive, including: National Honors Society, Oklahoma Indian Student Honor Society, Oklahoma Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, National Technical Honor Society, National Speech and Debate Honor Society- Degree of Merit, Superintendent's Honor Roll, Tulsa Community College Honor Roll, Highest Achieving Student Biology 2016, Highest Achieving Student Pre-AP English I 2016, Highest Achieving Student Pre-AP English II 2017, Highest Achieving Student AP English III 2018, AP Scholar, Technology Student Association Senatorial Honor Recipient, Technology Student Association Gold Degree and Member of the National Association of Parliamentarians.
Her extra-curricular and community activities include leadership positions in the Technology Student Association, Business Professionals of America, student council, academic team, National Honor Society, speech and debate, spirit club and equality club.
Madison is a co-founder and serving President of the equality club, which was founded to “create a safe environment for LGBTQ+ students and allies, as well as promote acceptance within the community.”
Madison has received multiple writing awards for essays and poetry.
For community service, Madison invested 80 hours in Archive Oologah.
“I established this community service project to preserve the stories of my hometown and engage multiple generations in an easily accessible for of history,” she said. “I collected interviews of community members and saved them in the Library of Congress as well as the town museum.”
Madison has also spent more than 400 hours volunteering at the Powdrill Therapy Clinic for kids, and 200 hours volunteering at community centers, coat and food drives, cancer care package events and other community projects over the course of her middle school and high school career.
Tori Wood is firmly first in her class at Claremore-Sequoyah high school with a 4.03 GPA and a 34 on her ACT.
Tori’s academic honors include being a National Merit Semi-Finalist, a member of the Oklahoma Honor Society and the Oklahoma Indian Honor Society.
Tori is a four-time state medalist, All-State and team captain in Cross Country.
In basketball she is tea captain and Tulsa World team honorable mention.
In track she is a state runner-up and eight-time state medalist.
Her other extra-curricular and community activites include: team captain and multiple challenge bowl championships in the Cherokee Cultural and Language Program, Sequoyah High School Character Award, Claremore Area Academic Athlete. Claremore Area Athlete of the Month for Oct. 2018, Good Samaritan Ministries volunteer, Claremore First Baptist Church small group leader and children’s ministry volunteer.
With a 4.0 GPA and a 35 on his ACT, Aaron Reid is one of eight students in the senior class at Verdigris High School to share the first in the class ranking.
Aaron’s academic honors include: National Merit Commended Scholar, Superintendent's Honor Roll, Principal's Honor Roll and Oklahoma
Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology Certificate of Achievement.
Aaron is the head drum major for the Verdigris Marching Band, vice president of the student council, captain of the academic team, co-captain of the FCA and chaplain of the Verdigris Soccer Team and Generation Next Students.
He is a member of the National Honor Society, recycling club, Verdigris Jazz Band, Verdigris Concert Band, Verdigris Bible Study and First Students Claremore.
Aaron also volunteers as a math tutor and Verdigris Soccer Club referee.