OETA Broadcast of Academic Awards Ceremony to Honor Best in Public Education

OKLAHOMA CITY – Five outstanding Oklahoma educators and 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors will be recognized when OETA premieres its statewide broadcast of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 36th Academic Awards Celebration at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 28, and 10 a.m. Sunday, May 29.

The program will also feature a keynote address by Vijay Gupta, a renowned violinist and artistic director of the Street Symphony, a nonprofit organization providing musical engagement, dialogue and teaching artistry for homeless and incarcerated communities in Los Angeles. 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.

The gala celebration, recorded May 21 at the Omni Oklahoma City Hotel, 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 Lori Zimmerman, a reading teacher at Shattuck Middle School; Secondary Teaching winner Elaine Hutchison, a math teacher at Fairview High School; Elementary/Secondary Administration recipient Scott Allen, principal of Monroe Elementary School in Enid; Regional University/Community College Teaching honoree Elise McCauley, professor of speech at Redlands Community College, El Reno; and Research University Teaching recipient Dr. K. K. “Muralee” Muraleetharan, professor of civil engineering and environmental science at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. Bios of this year’s honored students and educators are available online at ofe.org.

In his keynote address, “What Makes You Come Alive?,” Gupta shares life-changing experiences as a musician and social activist working in Los Angeles’ Skid Row, the largest homeless community in the United States. He invites audience members to reflect on life experiences that make them come alive and reveal their own true calling. Following his speech, Gupta joins the Oklahoma Arts Institute Orchestra to perform “Concerto for You, III” composed by Gupta’s wife Reena Esmail, artist-in-residence for the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

A link to the broadcast will be available in June on the foundation website at ofe.org. For more information, contact the foundation office at (405) 236-0006.

Vijay Gupta, violinist and artistic director of the Street Symphony of Los Angeles, delivers the keynote address at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic Awards Celebration. His speech, “What Makes You Come Alive?” will be featured during the OETA Academic Awards program broadcast at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 28, and 10 a.m. Sunday, May 29.