Fifteen outstanding freshmen have been selected for the enhanced President's Leadership Class this fall at East Central University.
ECU President John Hargrave has revived the PLC program to include free tuition and residence hall room waivers for four years for full-time PLC students who maintain an overall 3.0 grade point average. He added a one-semester credit course on leadership to help the students build on their existing leadership strengths and acquire new leadership skills.
Previously, PLC students were offered early enrollment, attended a one-day orientation and received only small scholarships each semester.
Students selected for the class, and their high schools, are Josiah Biles and Corissa Hood, Ada High School; Reana Burnett, Tushka; Joshua Burton, Bowlegs; Chance Carey, McAlester; Tyler Davis, Wewoka; Ellyn Jones, Norman; Joanne Keith, Putnam City; Sarah Kiper, Westmoore; Macy McDonald and Elizabeth Medina, Vanoss; Ashlie Simpson, Valliant; Lori Stanton, Dickson; Kaylee Thompson, Noble; and T.J. Winkler, Union High School, Tulsa.
Local members of the President's Leadership Class at East Central University meet with ECU President John Hargrave (center) in Danley Hall. Josiah Biles (from left) and Corissa Hood, graduates of Ada High School, and Elizabeth Medina and Macy McDonald, graduates of Vanoss High School, are among the 15 outstanding high school graduates selected for the program which will help build their leadership skills and includes free tuition and residence hall room waivers for four years.
"We want to offer freshmen who demonstrated a high level of leadership in high school the opportunity to cultivate their potential," Hargrave said. "We will help them strengthen their leadership skills by studying leadership styles and characteristics and encouraging them to participate in university activities, all while maintaining their high academic standards."
Hargrave was among the freshmen selected for ECU's first President's Leadership Class in 1973-74.
"Learning about leadership was a valuable experience," Hargrave said, "but so was getting to know and go through ECU with so many outstanding students. One of them was Bronson Warren, who is now ECU's dean of students."
The one-semester course will be taught by Hargrave, Warren and Dr. Diane Berty, vice president for student development.
To qualify, high school seniors had to have a minimum 3.3 grade point average and score 22 or above on the ACT test. They were selected after group and individual interviews.
"This is a very well-rounded group of students. They are coming to ECU with a wide range of accomplishments and leadership talents. We are looking forward to working with them and will be proud to call them ECU Tigers," Hargrave said.
The students will learn about various leadership theories and models, study group dynamics and community building, analyze ethical dimensions of leadership and learn how to use basic ethical principles to make decisions, and develop and refine their critical thinking skills as well as their oral and written expression.
The students must earn at least a C in the class to continue to participate in the PLC program.
Many of the 15 freshmen are valedictorians or ranked near the top of their class, are members of the National Honor Society or have been honored for academic achievements and have participated in numerous school and community service activities.
Students selected for the program include:
Josiah Biles, who maintained a GPA above 4.0 all four years at Ada High School, was a member of the Ada High Scholastic Meet team and the mock trial team and was selected to attend a mock trial workshop at Harvard Law School in November. He participated in a cultural exchange program in Wales for two summers. He was a member of the AHS cross country team for three years and was named All State Cross Country. He was senior class vice president, a Vision Bank Board student representative and active in community service. He is the son of Charlie and Merrianne Biles and plans to major in pre-medicine.
Reana Burnett was ranked first in her senior class at Tushka High School, made A's in honors classes and was a member of the Gifted & Talented Program and Talent Search. She participated in curriculum contests each year and was on the yearbook staff one year. She was student body secretary in the 9th grade, representative in the 10th grade and president in the 11th grade. She helped kindergartners learn to read for an hour a day during her senior year. She is the daughter of Donny Burnett of Atoka and Cyndi Burnett of Broken Bow.
Joshua Burton was valedictorian of his senior class at Bowlegs High School and was concurrently enrolled at Seminole State College. He was captain of Bowlegs' football team and also played basketball and baseball and lifted weights. He received awards in Algebra II, U.S. history and government. He was president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, treasurer of Beta Club and a member of the Quiz Bowl team, Focus and Bison Buddies. He is the son of Randall and Carrie Burton.
Chance Carey was president of the Student Council at McAlester High School, co-captain of the football team and captain of the track team. He was a weightlifting state qualifier two years, a regional track medalist three years and a state medalist two years. He was an Oklahoma 5A District 4 All-District safety and an All-Star team qualifier. He was co-founder of the McAlester High School Crime Stoppers and was named the Outstanding Student in English I and II, Geometry and Spanish I and II. He was a Boys State delegate in 2009. He is the son of Mary Carey and plans to major in kinesiology/athletic training.
Tyler Davis was co-valedictorian of Wewoka High School, president of the band and the Science Club, co-president of the Academic Team, vice president of the National Honor Society and a member of the American Indian Student Association and the Renaissance Club. He was a member of the IAJE Oklahoma Jazz Band one year and participated in his school's jazz band. He was a member of Wewoka's mentoring program and is the son of Gary and Naoma Davis. He plans to major in pre-law.
Corissa Hood attended Vanoss Schools before graduating from Ada High School. She was vice president of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, reporter of FFA and chaplain of the Business Professionals of America. She placed first, second and fourth in Oklahoma BPA state competitions. She was freshman class secretary and participated in Ada High Leadership, ProStart, Ruff Ryders, Cougar Crazies, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, DECA and 4-H. She is the daughter of Earl and Christy Hood and will major in biology.
Ellyn Jones lettered in varsity soccer and cross country at Norman High School where she was ranked first out of 398 students in the senior class. She was the chair of the Oklahoma Association of Student Councils Convention in 2009. She took several advanced placement courses as well as two courses at Rose State College. She is the daughter of Steve and Carolyn Jones and will major in elementary education.
Joanne Keith graduated from Oklahoma City's Putnam City High School where she had a perfect grade point average, was named the outstanding student in eight core classes over three years and was a Student Council representative for four years. She lettered in varsity volleyball three years and was the Outstanding Offensive Player as a junior and the most Valuable Defender as a senior. She was a member of the Leadership Class and the Crew Camp Steering committee. She is the daughter of Craig and Mary Keith and plans to major in psychology.
Sarah Kiper had 10 hours of college credit when she graduated from Westmoore High School in Oklahoma City. She earned high school credit by taking algebra and Spanish in the 8th grade. Her score on an advanced placement chemistry class earned credit at ECU, and she was concurrently enrolled at Oklahoma City Community College in her senior year. She was drum major of the Westmoore Marching Band for two years, part of the Central Oklahoma Directors Association Honor Band four years and in the All State Band her senior year. She is the daughter of Frank and Donna Kiper and will major in music education.
Macy McDonald was ranked first in her class at Vanoss High School and completed several college courses as a concurrent ECU student. She was one of three students selected by People's Electric Cooperative in Ada for the Oklahoma Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., and participated in Oklahoma Girls State in 2009. She holds the Vanoss record for Science Olympics competition. She was an ambassador for the local Business Professionals of America chapter and has won numerous state and national BPA awards. She is the daughter of Monica and Wendell McDonald and will major in English.
Elizabeth Medina was treasurer of the Student Council at Vanoss High School. She also was secretary of her class, parliamentarian of Business Professionals of America and participated in the Academic Bowl. She was a member of the Art Club and Student Citizens of Tomorrow. She is the daughter of Marina Medina and Jose Luis Medina. She plans to major in nursing.
Ashlie Simpson of Garvin was the president of the National Honor Society at Valliant High School. She was a class officer for four years, including president of the junior and senior classes. She has won awards in essay, curriculum and music competitions and is a three-year medalist in the All-State Choir. She played basketball, was a member of the pom and flag squad and was second runner-up in the Miss Teen of Oklahoma Scholarship and Recognition Pageant. She is the daughter of Mark and Melissa Simpson and will major in psychology.
Lori Stanton of Ardmore was yearbook editor at Dickson High School, president of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a member of the band and captain of the color guard. She is an Oklahoma Academic Scholar and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Spanish Club. She is an All-American Scholar in English, history and math. She is the daughter of William T. and Donna Stanton and plans to major in social work.
Kaylee Thompson was valedictorian of her class at Noble High School. She was historian of Mu Alpha Theta and vice president of the Science Club and a member of the Art Club and Spanish Club. She is the daughter of Jess and Melissa Thompson.
Tony "T.J." Winkle was a member of the swim team at Union High School in Tulsa and is an Eagle Scout. On his first attempt at taking the ACT test, he scored higher than 99 percent of all applicants who took the same math section test. He was a member of the Key Club and was selected for a new program when he was a senior, the Union Collegiate Academy, that helps top students prepare to succeed in college. He is the son of Melissa Walker and Tony Winkle and plans to majoring pre-dentistry.
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