The Shawnee Educational Foundation is pleased to announce that Mary E. Oppegard has been selected as the 2019 recipient of its annual Max Brattin Award for Excellence in Education and Community. The award will be formally presented at the Shawnee Educational Foundation Hall of Fame Banquet on Monday, February 25, 2019, at the Geiger Center on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University at 6:30 pm.
It is difficult to condense Mrs. Oppegard’s accomplishments in such a limited space. Mrs. Oppegard has made a tremendous educational impact on Shawnee while teaching at Shawnee High School from 1974-1993. She taught courses in U.S. government, Economics, International Relations, and Advanced Placement American History. In the testimonies to her teaching, former students noted her ability to make history come alive to make her students engage with the world around them. This ability was exemplified by taking her students to Washington D.C. annually and serving as Delegation Leader for The Initiative for Understanding: American-Soviet Youth Exchange in 1987. In addition, in 1983 she was one of ten people awarded a fellowship by the U.S.-Japan Education Group /Joint Council on Economic Education to tour Japan. Her efforts resulted in numerous commendations for her teaching at the local, state, and national levels. Even after retiring from Shawnee High School in 1993, Mrs. Oppegard still managed to remain active in education as an Adjunct Lecturer in history, geography, and education from the early 1990s-2011. Most notably, she used her experience, passion, and influence to prepare Social Studies Education majors for life in the classroom by teaching the methods course and observing student teachers
Her impact is best exemplified by the testimonials from her former students. One former student wrote, “no teacher has ever changed my views on a subject as has Mrs. Mary Oppegard…no longer did I consider history dull, dry facts, it became real.” A teaching peer noted, “She is a teacher seven days a week and twelve months a year. She is a model of teaching excellence.” A student who went on to become a Professor in Political Science acknowledges her influence on his career, stating that her teaching “helped form my own image of what education is truly about in away that has become foundational for me in my own vocation.” With such outstanding accomplishments and effusive praise, the Shawnee Educational Foundation is proud to bestow the Max Brattin Award for Excellence in Education and Community to Mrs. Mary Oppegard.