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April 25, 2008 :: Five Outstanding Seniors Named Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars

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Outstanding leadership, academic talent and civic involvement have earned five Oklahoma high school seniors a scholarship named in honor of one of Oklahoma’s former chancellors.

Chrishelle Drew, Haskell High School; Brandon Highfill, Chisholm High School, Enid; Mallory Caitlyn Kutch, Putnam City North High School, Oklahoma City; Kylynn Pool, Jenks High School; and Bradley Ray Youngblood, Tushka 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 2008 Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars were selected from more than 90 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 will bring a vibrant, energetic presence to our campuses in the fall. We wish them the best as they begin their college experience.”

Drew has been actively involved in her community by volunteering more than 100 hours of service throughout her high school career. Through the student council, she has organized Teacher Appreciation Week, including a special initiative, You’ve Been Served, to provide teacher lunches at a special table with a decorated tablecloth and centerpiece. She also organized the placement of snack bags with motivational quotes in each teacher’s mailbox. Drew helped organize the annual ice cream social, was responsible for activities during Spirit Week and produced the Dating Game at the block party before homecoming. She also demonstrated her leadership skills by assigning student council members for programs including Rake-n-Run, the holiday food drive, Angel Tree Wrap and Operation Clean Sweep.

As Leadership Council president, Drew has participated in her church youth group’s puppet ministry, served lunch and read to patients at a local nursing home, and volunteered in the Feed the Hungry program and at Camp Gruber after Hurricane Katrina.

Drew is the 2007-08 senior class valedictorian and has a 4.0 grade point average. She will attend Northeastern State University, where she will study in the College of Science and Health Professions this fall.

Highfill is active in his community as the leader of Garfield County’s 4-H Community Service Project Club and the Clovers Serving Intensely Club. He has volunteered 109 hours to plan, organize, promote and lead 23 service projects. Under Highfill’s leadership, 229 volunteers have reached 3,900 individuals through the completion of a variety of service projects, including the recording of five public service announcements promoting the service projects on three local radio stations.

Highfill has served as a legislative page for both the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma State Senate. He has served on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council and as a counselor at a Quad-County Junior 4-H Camp. In 2007, he served as an Oklahoma delegate to Citizenship Washington D.C., where he met with Oklahoma’s congressional delegation to learn more about government, bill writing and committee work. In 2008, Highfill was selected to attend the Oklahoma State University President’s Leadership Council, Leadership Conclave, served as District 4-H president and was a team member for the state 4-H team.

Highfill is a member of the National Honor Society and the Superintendent’s Honor Roll. He is the 2007-08 senior class valedictorian and has a 4.24 GPA. He will attend Oklahoma State University this fall.

Kutch served on the student council and was selected by a panel of teachers to serve as state secretary at the State Student Council Convention, where she fully planned and executed the 2007 Oklahoma Association of Student Councils’ State Convention. She was also a delegate for the National Association of Student Councils’ Conference.

Kutch has volunteered with the Special Olympics, Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, the Bethany Children’s Center, the Harvest Food Drive and the annual Care Share project, which provides Christmas presents for underprivileged families within her school district. She organized Jeans for Teens in which schools from all over the state donated jeans to local charities, and she co-chaired the annual cancer carnival, which raises money for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

Kutch served as class president her freshman and sophomore years, played varsity tennis, was on the varsity pom squad and was an all-school musical participant. She is a member of the National Honor Society and will graduate with at least a 4.0 GPA. She plans to attend the University of Oklahoma in the fall.

Pool has served her community in a variety of efforts, including volunteering at the Walk for Diabetes, district emergency drills and the Cornerstone Assistance Network. She also tutored at the high school. She has held positions as board member, chair and lieutenant governor for the Key Club and Relay for Life chairperson. While serving on these boards, she has planned, organized and implemented activities for more than 300 high school students. She is currently working to raise $50,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation as part of the Oklahoma State Student Council’s community service project.

Pool has received the Distinguished Service Graduate honor by documenting more than 450 hours of volunteering. She has volunteered for a local political campaign as administrative intern, assisted elementary school classes and helped students at school registration.

Pool has been named to the Principal’s and Superintendent’s honor rolls and the National Honor Society. She plans to attend Oklahoma State University in the fall.

Youngblood initiated, developed and implemented Adopt-a-Grandma, which originated one Sunday morning in church when he noticed elderly women who needed help with their chores. He made a list of the women and matched them with young volunteers to assist them with some of the chores they could no longer manage.

After noting the deterioration of the Atoka county judge’s chambers, Youngblood was given permission to recruit inmates from the county jail to help him restore the chambers. This experience gave him the opportunity to visit with the inmates about religious and personal goals.

After hearing that a historic house was donated to the Atoka Confederate Museum and Park, which lacked the funding needed for remodeling, Youngblood and his father enlisted volunteers to donate labor and materials to renovate the old house.

Youngblood is also a volunteer for PSI (Postponing Sexual Involvement) and makes presentations to area schools in an attempt to convince students of the importance of postponing sex.

Youngblood is a member of the Oklahoma and National honor societies and the Tushka Gifted and Talented Program. He is the 2007-08 senior class valedictorian and has a 4.0 GPA. He will attend the University of Oklahoma in the fall.

The first Chancellor's Scholars were recognized in 1992. Since then, 67 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.