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June 21, 2007 :: Four Outstanding Seniors Named Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars

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Academic talent, leadership ability and commitment to their communities have earned four Oklahoma high school seniors a scholarship named in honor of one of Oklahoma’s former chancellors.

Chelsea Marie Ball, Stroud High School; Lydia C. Gray, Union High School; Christina Hanvey, Westville High School; and Summer James, Boise City High School, will each receive a $2,000 scholarship as part of the Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholarship program.

The Chancellor’s Scholars Program, created in 1990 with private funds, was renamed in 2006 to honor Brisch, who served as chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education for 15 years. Brisch retired in 2003 and passed away in February 2006.

The 2007 Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars were selected from more than 80 nominations made by high school principals statewide.

“These students are an elite group of young Oklahoma leaders who have distinguished themselves through academic success and service to their communities,” Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said. “They join an impressive group of scholar leaders who are making a difference in the lives of others by consistently giving back to their communities. We wish them the best as they begin their college experience.”

Ball has been heavily involved in her community by volunteering more than 800 hours of service throughout her high school career. She raised funds and purchased toys, books, televisions and other items for a children’s reading and play area at her community’s new medical facility. She has served on the board of directors for the Red Lands Council of Girl Scouts and was selected to represent the service unit at the annual meeting in Oklahoma City. She has been as a role model for the community’s elementary school children through the 2007 D.A.R.E. program, which encourages students to abstain from drug and alcohol use; has been involved with Habitat for Humanity and the Junior Chamber of Commerce; and was selected to the Stillwater District Design Team. She has also volunteered with the American Red Cross, the Stroud Food Pantry, the Lincoln County On-Stage Community Theatre, the Stroud United Methodist Church and voter registration drives.

President George W. Bush recently honored Ball with the 2007 President’s Volunteer Service Award, and she also received a 2007 Prudential Spirit of the Community Awards Certificate of Excellence. She has a 4.0 grade point average and received the Valedictorian Scholarship and the Sooner Distinction Award from the University of Oklahoma. During her junior and senior years, she accumulated 22 concurrent college credit hours by attending classes at the University of Central Oklahoma and Rose State College. She plans to attend OU in the fall and will participate in the OU Scholars Program.

Gray is active in her community, having volunteered more than 300 hours during her high school years. She has served on the Teen Team at the South Broken Arrow Library and has volunteered at SouthCrest Hospital, St. Luke’s Redemption Church prison ministry, the Tulsa State Fair, Angel Tree, Cornerstone Tutorial Center and KidsWorld. She served as a worker for the 2005 Oklahoma Association of Student Councils State Convention, helped implement the 2006 Broken Arrow Youth Festival, served as secretary of the Amadeus Piano Festival Student Board and also participated in numerous outreaches to local nursing homes. She has also been active in her church, serving as a Sunday School teacher and a Vacation Bible School instructor and as a missionary to Belize during summer 2006.

Gray was selected as one of 50 juniors in the state to attend Youth Leadership Oklahoma 2006, was on the Leadership Oklahoma Youth Council and is a graduate of the Youth Leadership School in Washington D.C. She has been a state Senate page and served on the Broken Arrow Youth City Council and Union High School Student Council and was selected to the University of Oklahoma President’s Leadership Class. She has a 4.0 grade point average and was named to Who’s Who Among American High School Students, President’s Honor Roll and National Honor Society. She was also concurrently enrolled at Tulsa Community College during her senior year. She has been accepted into the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma, where she plans to attend this fall.

Hanvey has been an active member of her church, school and community while also working part-time. At her school, she was instrumental in founding the Indian Heritage Club and is working to establish an Indian Cultural Day. She was elected to the Cherokee Tribal Youth Council and has been recognized for her leadership and community service by federal, state and tribal leaders, including former Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller, who recognized Christina as a great “ambassador” for the Cherokee Nation. Hanvey has volunteered with the Red Cross to assist tornado victims in her community, serves as a Sunday School teacher and has been a member of the Student Council. She was a Girls State Delegate to the summer leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion, and a delegate to the Johnson-O’Malley Youth Leadership Institute.

Hanvey was recently honored by President Bush with a President’s Volunteer Service Award and has received a Prudential Spirit of Community Award and the Commitment to Service Award from Westville Helping Out. She is a National Native American Youth Initiative Scholar, a Trail of Tears Award recipient for achievement in academics and was named Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma Student of Today. She earned a 4.06 grade average and is a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to attend the University of Oklahoma this fall.

James has served her community in a variety of efforts but is best known for her coordination of the Boise City’s Elks National Hoop Shoot Contest, which advocates the shooting of hoops instead of drugs. In 2001, she was a national runner-up in the Hoop Shoot Contest, but by 2004 the youth of the area no longer had the opportunity to participate in the program. James requested the Guymon Elks Lodge’s help in providing the program, and with their sponsorship, the contest is now a success and will continue to serve area youth for years to come. James has volunteered for the Red Cross Blood Drive; the Trick or Treat for Ministerial Alliance, which collects for a local food pantry; and Red Ribbon Week, a drug awareness program. She has served as class president, secretary/treasurer of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and team captain of the Academic Bowl Team and is on the board of the Rotary Interact Club. She has been a delegate to Oklahoma Girls State, the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference, the Oklahoma Association of Student Councils Basic Leadership Camp and the Oklahoma State Student Council Convention.

James is a graduate of Youth Leadership Oklahoma Class VI, received the Principals’ Leadership Award and served as a page to U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas in Washington D.C. She was also a football team manager and the 2006 Class A State Pole Vault Champion and lettered in varsity basketball and track. She has a 4.0 grade point average and was valedictorian of her graduating class, member of the Oklahoma and National honor societies, a Wendy’s High School Heisman Nominee, an American Citizenship Award recipient and a National Merit Commended Student. During her senior year, she was concurrently enrolled at Oklahoma Panhandle State University and completed 25 hours of college credit. She has been selected for membership in the University of Oklahoma President’s Leadership Class and will attend the OU in the fall.

The first Chancellor's Scholars were recognized in 1992. Since then, 62 students have received the award.

Private gifts support the program, which honors not only Brisch but the office of chancellor and all individuals who hold that office.