OETA To Broadcast Tribute to Academic Award Winners

With the cancellation of its May 16 Academic Awards Banquet due to COVID-19, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is partnering with OETA Public Television to broadcast a 30-minute tribute to award winning-students and educators at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 17. The program will also be shown on OETA World Channel at 8:30 p.m. May 23 and 7:30 p.m. May 30.

The program, featuring videos submitted by the 2020 Academic All-Staters and other special guests, will be hosted by longtime Tulsa television anchor Scott Thompson, a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. The program is produced in partnership with Red Rock Video Services of Edmond.

“When we learned that our Academic Awards Banquet would need to be canceled, we immediately began seeking creative ways to give our honorees the statewide recognition and honor they deserve,” said Emily Stratton, executive director of the foundation. “OETA has been a loyal supporter of our Academic Awards Program, broadcasting our banquet for many years. We are so grateful they agreed to help us pay special tribute to our award winners through a broadcast to premiere May 16 – the same evening we would have held our banquet.”

The televised program will honor 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors as Academic All-Staters. Selected from 495 nominations statewide, the student honorees hail from 75 schools in 69 Oklahoma school districts. The 2020 Academic All-State class is the 34th to be selected by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in what has been described as “Oklahoma’s most rigorous academic competition.”

Since the award program’s inception in 1987, some 3,400 high school seniors from 326 school districts have been named Academic All-State scholars. Each of this year’s All-Staters will receive a $1,000 merit-based scholarship and a medallion. This year’s All-Staters scored an average of 33.9 on the ACT, with 15 recipients scoring a perfect 36. The students’ average GPA was 4.20. In addition, 40 of this year’s All-Staters are National Merit semifinalists, and two are National Hispanic Scholar semifinalists.

The program will also recognize five innovative public school educators as recipients of its $5,000 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence Awards. This year’s honorees are elementary teaching winner Michelle Rahn, a sixth-grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teacher at Will Rogers Junior High in Claremore; secondary recipient Shelley Self, an art teacher at Coweta High School; elementary/secondary administration winner Chuck McCauley, superintendent of Bartlesville Public Schools; regional university/community college teaching winner Dr. David Bass, professor of biology at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond; and research university teaching recipient Dr. Edralin Lucas, professor of nutritional sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

Educator and author Erin Gruwell, who was scheduled to be the keynote speaker for this year’s Academic Awards Banquet, plans to deliver the address at the 2021 banquet. All 2020 honorees will be invited to attend next year’s banquet as guests of the foundation. The annual gala event, which is attended by nearly 1,000 people, has been described as the” Academy Awards of public education in Oklahoma.”

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a nonprofit, charitable organization founded in 1985 to recognize and encourage academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation has awarded more than $4.8 million in merit-based scholarships and cash awards to outstanding students and educators.

Following the OETA broadcast, the tribute will also be available on the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence website at ofe.org.


Bob and Marion Wilson Teacher Institute of Colonial Williamsburg on-site Summer 2020 Sessions Cancelled Due to COVID-19

Special online programming under development; all 2020 teacher scholarships can be deferred to 2021

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (May 4, 2020) – On-site sessions of the Bob and Marion Wilson Teacher Institute of Colonial Williamsburg are cancelled for summer 2020 as part of the foundation’s continued effort to limit health risks associated with COVID-19.

Teachers who received scholarships for 2020 can defer them to 2021. In addition, special summer 2020 online programs are under development for the scholarship recipients and other interested teachers.

“We’re inspired every day by the work of our nation’s teachers, particularly during the COVID- 19 crisis,” said Tab Broyles, Colonial Williamsburg’s Peter L. and Patricia O. Frechette director of teacher development. “Cancelling the 2020 Bob and Marion Wilson Teacher Institute of Colonial Williamsburg is a difficult decision but one based on public health guidance, and it is the best solution for the safety of teachers, staff, students and our communities.”

Since 1989, the Teacher Institute has hosted more than 10,000 primary and secondary school educators for week-long sessions and three-day themed seminars, immersing them in an interdisciplinary approach to teaching social studies with a focus on American history.

“We are grateful to the program’s dedicated teachers for their patience, and to the generous donors who funded 2020 Teacher Institute scholarships,” Broyles said. “We look forward to hosting our 2020 scholarship recipients next year.”

Teacher Institute participants experience includes:

  • Presentation of primary source-centered, standards-based historical content
  • Immersive living-history experiences with classroom applications
  • An inclusive approach to analyzing people and events of the past from multiple perspectives
  • Innovative, engaging teaching strategies to bring history to life in the classroom
  • Collaborative idea sharing with Colonial Williamsburg staff and fellow teachers

Additional information about the Teacher Institute is available by visiting colonialwilliamsburg.org/cwti, by calling 1-855-296-6627 toll-free, and by following Colonial Williamsburg Education on Facebook.

Colonial Williamsburg public sites are closed through May 31 to limit health risks associated with COVID-19.

A growing library of virtual program content and resources for parents, teachers, other educators, lifelong learners and lovers of history is available by visiting the “Explore from

Home” section of colonialwilliamsburg.org, by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram, and on the Colonial Williamsburg streaming channel, which is free to account holders via the “Education” sections of Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV.

Media contact:                   
Joe Straw

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg. Innovative and interactive experiences highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life and the importance of an informed, active citizenry. The Colonial Williamsburg experience includes more than 600 restored or reconstructed original buildings, renowned museums of decorative arts and folk art, extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers, lodging, culinary options from historic taverns to casual or elegant dining, the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club featuring 45 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son Rees Jones, a full-service spa and fitness center, pools, retail stores and gardens. Philanthropic support and revenue from admissions, products and hospitality operations sustain Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs and preservation initiatives.


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