Foundation announces 2021 Academic All-State scholarships

The Shawnee News-Star

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has announced the recipients of its prestigious 2021 Academic All-State Awards. These 100 top public high school seniors, selected from 379 nominations statewide, hail from 77 schools in 69 Oklahoma school districts.

Those selected in Pottawatomie County include Noah Drew from Bethel High School, Jared Stone from Chandler High School and Olivia Todd from Shawnee High School. 

The 2021 Academic All-State class is the 35th to be selected by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.  Since the award program’s inception in 1987, some 3,500 high school seniors from 330 school districts have been named Academic All-State scholars. Four high schools will celebrate their first Academic All-Stater: Davenport, Porum, Soper and Stigler high schools.

Each of this year’s All-Staters will receive a $1,000 merit-based scholarship and a medallion. The All-Staters will be recognized at the foundation’s 35th annual Academic Awards Celebration on Saturday, May 22, at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa.

David Boren, founder and chairman of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, describes the selection of the scholars as “Oklahoma’s most rigorous academic awards selection process.” 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.

This year’s All-Staters scored an average of 33 on the ACT, with 11 recipients scoring a perfect 36. The students’ average GPA was 4.26. In addition, 34 of this year’s All-Staters are National Merit semifinalists, and two are National Hispanic Scholar semifinalists.

Academic All-Staters are selected based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities and community involvement, as well as letters of recommendation and an essay submitted by each nominee. The selection committee, which is chaired by retired Tulsa attorney Teresa B. Adwan, works independently of all other foundation activities. The committee members are a diverse group of business, education, and civic leaders, as well as past Academic Awards Program honorees.

The foundation will also recognize five innovative public school educators who were selected in 2020 as Medal for Excellence winners but were unable to be honored last spring due to the pandemic. The Medal for Excellence honorees are elementary teaching recipient Michelle Rahn, a sixth-grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teacher at Will Rogers Junior High in Claremore; secondary teaching honoree Shelley Self, an art teacher at Coweta High School; elementary/secondary administration recipient Chuck McCauley, superintendent of Bartlesville Public Schools; regional university/community college teaching recipient Dr. David Bass, professor of biology at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond; and research university teaching honoree Dr. Edralin Lucas, professor of nutritional sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Academic Awards Celebration will have limited attendance for the safety of honorees and their guests. The awards ceremony will be televised statewide May 29 by OETA, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. For more information, call the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence office at (405) 236-0006 or visit its website at www.ofe.org.