Suburban Conference honors have been awarded to several members of the Shawnee High School girls and boys basketball teams.
Senior Lauren Fields was named Girls Player of the Year, and Coach Wendi Wells received Coach of the Year honors.
Makyra Tramble was named to the first team, while Aubrie Megehee and Ashley Kasterke both received second team honors. Emily Hudson was named to the third team.
Saidey Smith and Alesia Thomas were both given honorable mentions.
For the boys, DeAndre Love was named Defensive Player of the Year along with first team honors and a place on the all-defensive team. Freshman Jaylon Orange received Newcomer of the Year and a place on the conference's third team.
Joining Orange on third team are J'Briell Easley, Tyler Huebert and Isaiah Willis.
AJ Howard received an honorable mention.
Shawnee girls finished their regular season 25-1 with a 6-0 conference record and a place in the state tournament. The Shawnee boys finished 14-10 in regular season with a conference record of 4-2.
Tyreonna Fair was moments away from becoming a dropout statistic.
The self-described older student had already dropped out earlier in her high school career after her grandmother began suffering from serious health problems. Someone needed to take care of the elderly woman, and Fair decided to become her caregiver. Her grandmother's eventual death and Fair's involvement in a relationship that she described as "toxic and abusive" left the young woman with little desire to return to school.
After Fair was free of that relationship, she said she knew she wanted to finish her education. That is when she found Jim Thorpe Academy, Shawnee Public Schools' alternative education program.
"No one judged my age here," Fair said. "Everyone was very supportive and understanding."
Her enrollment at JTA has proved successful. Fair started in August 2018 lacking more than half of the credits required to graduate. However, Fair said through her own hard work and support from the teachers and administrators at JTA, she will be able to graduate in May 2019.
The success Fair has experienced inspired her and other JTA students to travel to the Oklahoma State Capitol to speak to legislators about the importance of funding alternative education in Oklahoma schools. These students shared their own personal educational struggles and their current alternative school success stories with Representative Dell Kerbs and Senator Ron Sharp. Kerbs introduced the JTA students from the floor of the House of Representatives as they watched from the gallery, and the entire House floor gave the students a standing ovation. Sharp also introduced the students to Governor Kevin Stitt.
Brendan Tungate, a senior at JTA, said it was important for he and his fellow students to tell legislators how alternative education has helped them to succeed. Tungate described his situation as similar to what many other JTA students have experienced. He had moved around to several different schools during his high school career, and he felt that he was not receiving the support he needed to complete the credits necessary to graduate. During a stay at Hope House, an emergency shelter for children up to age 18, Tungate met JTA's Director of Alternative Education Debra Watson, who showed him what the alternative academy could offer him.
Tungate said that meeting gave him hope that he could graduate high school. He now is living with a family member, working full time at a local fast food restaurant, and planning to graduate in December 2019.
"If there were more schools like JTA," Tungate said, "then more people could be helped."
The other students who traveled to the Capitol all shared similar stories of struggles and eventual success with alternative school. Senior Trinity Adams spoke of how close she was to dropping out of high school. She related a history of problems at her previous school in Texas, including numerous fights and falling victim to poor peer influences. After moving to Shawnee, a friend who had found success at JTA encouraged her to enroll in the program. Now, Adams is on track to graduate this May.
Fellow students Shaye Brittain and Gabby Baptiste spoke of stories that shared many of the same themes the others had mentioned: they started out attending traditional schools and quickly felt lost in the crowd. They began skipping classes and failing because they were not able to keep up with assignments. They all said the support system afforded them at JTA saved them.
What makes the difference between the struggles these students experienced at traditional schools as opposed to alternative education? JTA Counselor Teri Johnston credits the methods the alternative school uses to reach each student's needs. Students are advised on a plan to graduate, a plan that usually involves a mix of independent credit recovery classes and small teacher-led courses.
"When the students look at the graduation plan, they can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and they often become highly motivated to reach their goals," Johnston said.
Fair described the support system at JTA as "above the bar."
"The classes are smaller and less distracting," Fair said. "The teachers realize that everyone's life has a back story," she said, adding that the students at JTA never feel judged for past problems.
"We are like a big family here," she said.
All the students who traveled to the Capitol shared how far alternative education has taken them toward future success. Brittain, for example, is on track to graduate this May at the age of 17, when only a year before she was in danger of dropping out. She works at a local daycare and has already been admitted to the University of Oklahoma in the fall. Her ultimate goal is to become a pediatrician. Adams plans to attend a culinary school and study business after high school. Tungate is investigating several programs at Gordon Cooper Technology Center. Baptiste, who works at a local restaurant, plans to graduate in December and continue her education in a medical field program.
Watson praised Shawnee Public Schools administration for making a commitment to all children in the district to find school success. She said that alternative education is necessary for students who are struggling in traditional school.
"We have a saying here at JTA," Watson said. "Why give up when there is an alternative?"
Seventh grader Marilyn Bartley won first place at the Shawnee Middle School National Geographic GeoBee on Thursday.
Bartley's win qualifies her to compete at the Oklahoma State GeoBee on March 29 at the Thurman J. White Forum in Norman. She will be competing for the top prize of $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the National Championship.
Eleven students competed in the final round of the SMS GeoBee. These students were the top scorers in a preliminary round given to SMS students in sixth through eighth grade.
Eighth grader Aaron Rother finished in second place, and seventh grader Reid Bowlan finished third.
The other students competing in the final round of the SMS GeoBee were Evan Babbie, sixth grade; Aidan D'Amours, seventh grade; Juliet Hanks, eighth grade; Jaisy Ramirez, eighth grade; Preston Stanfill, seventh grade; Emerson Thomas, sixth grade; Kaeden Worley, eighth grade; and Titus Wright, eighth grade.
Shawnee High School will host its first "Parent University" April 6 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The event is open to all parents who will attend classes dealing with relevant topics involving their students. Refreshments will be served and door prizes awarded.
Class options include the following:
The Shawnee chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA) was well represented recently at the 2019 Pottawatomie County Junior Livestock Show (PCJLS). Seven Shawnee High School students exhibited their livestock.
FFA student Kensington Kerbs credited Dr. Brett Scott with the students' success and wanted to thank him for "his guidance and support for these students and all of the hours that he spends working with these students and countless others."
The results of this show for the Shawnee FFA students are as follows:
- Keegan Carrera
- Kensington Kerbs
- Dassie May
- Emmie Varselona
- Isabel Webb
- Peri White
- Langston Yort
The following FFA students had livestock that qualified for the Premium Auction at the Pottawatomie County Junior Livestock Show.
The Shawnee Board of Education voted to hire Dr. Teresa Wilkerson as assistant superintendent of personnel for 2019-2020 during its March 4 board meeting.
The position previously had been held by Brent Houston, who is now serving as assistant superintendent of finance for the district.
Wilkerson has served in public education for 31 years, most recently as the Mustang High School principal, a position she has held since 2013.
Wilkerson began her career as a language arts teacher in the Mid-Del School District in Midwest City where she taught English, reading, leadership and communications for 14 years before moving to administration. She served four years as an assistant principal at Midwest City High School before becoming the Mid-Del director of student services. In this position, she experienced a district-level perspective of education at both the elementary and secondary levels.
In 2008, she took a position with the Edmond Public School District where she opened the Santa Fe Freshman Academy, serving as the freshman principal over the Freshman Academy. She served there for four years before becoming the curriculum and instruction principal at Edmond North High School.
In 2016, Wilkerson also began serving as an adjunct professor at Southern Nazarene University in the master of administration and educational leadership program where she strives to prepare future administrators and educational leaders for today's learners.
Dr. Wilkerson has a doctorate degree in educational administration, curriculum and supervision. Her educational research focused on remediation practices and intervention programs that help prevent high school dropouts. Her passion lies in creating engaging educational environments where students can develop their purpose, passion and pride to make a difference in the world around them. She has facilitated the creation of a virtual academy, maker spaces, STEM pathways and other alternative educational routes for students to excel in their areas of interest. She believes in a future-focused vision of schools that allows for a multitude of career and college pathways for students.
Wilkerson is a member of several professional organizations, including the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, the Oklahoma Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals. She served as the OASSP National Honor Society State Director from 2013 through 2015, participated as a member of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Interim Studies state committee and of the SMART Start Teacher Induction team, and served as an Advanced Ed Review Team member for several different school audits.
Dr. Wilkerson's awards include an OASSP Service Award 2015, a CAJH Teacher of the Year 1993, Mid-Del Rookie of the Year 1989, and the Max C. Chambers Outstanding Student Teacher Award from the University of Central Oklahoma 1988. She has attended numerous professional development workshops over the course of her educational career, and she is a believer in the Professional Learning Community tenants.
Wilkerson has two sons, three granddaughters and two grandsons who inspire her to continue her fight for a quality education for every child.
Waiting for the school bus to arrive during cold or rainy mornings can be difficult. A new app available for all Shawnee students and their parents makes knowing when the school bus will arrive much easier on these and all mornings.
With the Versatrans My Stop app, parents and students know exactly where their school bus is and what time it will show up at their stop - all from a mobile device. The My Stop app displays the bus's location on a map as well as the estimated time of arrival to a student's bus stop. The school bus's location and ETA are automatically updated every 30 seconds.
How to Download the Versatrans My Stop App
Step 1: Download the app from your app store. A search for "My Stop" will reveal the Versatrans My Stop app.
Step 2: Choose your school. Be careful to select Shawnee Public Schools in Oklahoma.
Step 3: Login with your Username and Password. Your Username is the Student ID number provided by your school. The Password is your student's date of birth. DOB must be entered in an 8-digit format without any hyphens or slashes. (For example, if the DOB is 1/10/08, the password would be 01102008.)
Step 4: Go to the SETUP menu and turn on notifications if you would like to receive school notifications about bus routes. You may also update your password to one of your choosing and add your email address.
Shawnee High School Senior Alexander Lunsford has been named as one of the 2019 recipients of the Academic All-State Award, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence announced recently.
Lunsford is one of only 100 members of the 33rd class of Academic All-State scholars. These 100 students were selected from more than 500 nominations received from districts across Oklahoma.
To be eligible for this prestigious award, high school seniors are evaluated on the basis of their leadership abilities, motivation, community involvement and character, in addition to their extensive academic achievements. The selection committee is made up of a diverse group of leaders in Oklahoma as well as alumni of this award and Medal for Excellence-winning educators.
Lunsford's future plans are to attend college and study computer science.
As an Academic All-State recipient, Lunsford will receive a $1,000 merit-based scholarship and medallion at the OFE's Academic Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 18, at the Renaissance Tulsa Convention Center. This event will be televised statewide by the foundation on OETA.