Outstanding leadership, civic involvement and academic talent have earned four Oklahoma high school seniors a scholarship named in honor of one of Oklahoma’s former chancellors.
Austin Christopher, Wright City High School; Juliann Jantz, Dickson High School, Ardmore; Quynh Phi, Southeast High School, Oklahoma City; and Zachary 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 2010 Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars were selected from 50 nominations made by high school principals statewide.
“These talented high school seniors portray outstanding leadership ability and a commitment to the enhancement of their communities,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “They will bring a vibrant, energetic presence to Oklahoma campuses, adding to the intellectual environment that fosters student success. We wish them the best as they begin their college experience.”
Christopher has served her community in a variety of efforts. After noticing that several 18-year-old students had not yet registered to vote, she personally developed a voter registration drive that has now registered every eligible student in her high school. Christopher was a volunteer for Wright City’s High School Alumni Association and Oklahoma Trash-Off Day. She has spent countless hours helping teachers and students throughout school and has served as an aide during summer school. Christopher designs an art project with second-graders each year and spends an hour each day volunteering in a pre-K class. She also volunteers with the local Chamber of Commerce to take photographs and publicize the Lumberjax Festival in her community.
Christopher has attended several conferences and trainings for leadership and has participated in Take the Lead, A+ and Take Aim. She served as a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) representative and served on the first State Superintendent’s Advisory Council. Christopher is editor of the school yearbook, student government president, president of the senior class and Art Club secretary. As team leader of the award-winning Pennies for Patients Program – which benefits leukemia patients –she organized and assembled collection boxes, counted change, and tracked the progress of the program. She has volunteered to coach a little league basketball team, served as secretary of the town’s Democratic precinct and was active in campaigns for the state House of Representatives and Senate.
Christopher is in the top 10 percent of her class, is a member of the Oklahoma High School and National honor societies, and will graduate as valedictorian with a 4.09 grade point average. She plans to attend Carl Albert State College in the fall.
Jantz has been heavily involved in her community working with the Student Council blood drive, Teddy Bears for Kids, Pack the Bus – collecting more than 2,000 stuffed animals for emergency services – and Hanna Project – collecting school supplies for children in Africa. She established a youth center in her community by researching the cost, drafting a budget of $10,000 for the first year and making personal contacts to local community members for donations. After reaching her goal in less than two months, she developed the remodel design and building décor. Today, the center is open three days a week and serves more than 120 students.
Jantz raised money, volunteered and conducted fundraising projects for Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Spanish Club; varsity basketball; varsity cross-country; Students Against Drunk Driving; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America officer projects; class officer projects; and many more. Her leadership includes Youth Leadership Oklahoma, Young Women’s Leadership of Ardmore, EdgeWire, Youth Action Council and Source. She has also served as a camp counselor for Project Circle, on the student council and as a class officer.
Jantz is ranked first in her class and is a member of the Superintendent’s Honor Roll, Oklahoma High School and Oklahoma Indian Student honor societies, and Who’s Who Among American High School Students and All-American Scholars. She will graduate with a 4.27 grade point average and plans to attend the University of Oklahoma in the fall.
Phi donates her time by volunteering and organizing her school’s first blood drive, which is now an annual event, and Soups & Socks Week, which is a food drive that collected nearly 2,000 donated items for the Regional Food Bank and the Christmas Connection. She is active with the Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters and served three years on the Upward Bound Student Council.
Phi organized, promoted and facilitated a schoolwide dance for United Way that raised $1,000 for the Boys and Girls Club. In addition, this event raised students’ social awareness and encouraged them to begin volunteering their time to United Way organizations.
As a freshman, Phi joined the school’s 2Much2Lose organization and worked tirelessly in promoting their activities. That year, 2Much2Lose experienced its greatest expansion of membership, jumping from 38 members to 215, largely due to her efforts. Her leadership roles also include academic decathlon team, senior class treasurer, co-captain of the tennis team and chair of the Service Committee.
Phi is an Oklahoma Academic and National Commended scholar, president of the National Honor Society and was distinguished with membership in Phi Theta Kappa. She has received academic decathlon awards and a place on Oklahoma City Community College’s President’s Honor Roll. She will graduate with a 4.46 grade point average as valedictorian and plans to attend Southwestern Oklahoma State University in the fall.
Youngblood worked for Habitat for Humanity in the tornado-devastated town of Greensburg, Kan. Realizing the similarities to his hometown, he and his parents gave up their vacation and, along with a few friends, traveled to Kansas to aid in the recovery effort.
In Tushka, Youngblood organized a drive for donations from the community to create 37 Thanksgiving baskets for families of military men and women. He also started the Samaritan’s Purse program at his church to collect donations, including toys, for children in Africa. He volunteers his services for tutoring students and reading to younger students at the library. He collected a truckload of food for Feed the Children and served dinner to the homeless at Families Feeding Families.
Youngblood and his brother began a program at their church – the Adopt a Grandma Program –
where young people volunteer to do yardwork or other chores for elderly women in the church. He volunteers at the Atoka Volunteer Fire Department with bean dinners and cake walks and at the Salvation Army as a bell ringer.
Youngblood has served as a page for Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, vice president of his senior class, president of the Tushka Gifted/Talented Program, vice president of the National Honor Society and captain of the Quiz Bowl.
Youngblood is a member of the Superintendent’s Honor Roll, the Oklahoma and National honor societies and a recipient of the All-American Scholar award. He will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average as valedictorian and plans to attend OU in the fall.
The first Chancellor’s Scholars were recognized in 1992. Since then, 75 students have received the award. Private gifts, including professional honoraria from the current and past chancellors, support the program, which honors not only Brisch but the office of chancellor and all individuals who hold that office.