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 higher education chancellors.
Julia Benbrook, Woodward High School; Garrett Dollins, Perkins-Tryon High School; Taylor Kennedy, Lawton MacArthur High School; and Micah Workman, Tushka High School, will each receive a $2,000 award through 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 2013 Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars were selected from 58 nominations made by high school principals statewide.
“Congratulations to each of these students for the remarkable difference they make in the lives of others by consistently giving back to their communities while excelling academically,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “The Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholarship Program consists of an elite group of young Oklahoma leaders. These students will bring a vibrant, energetic presence to our campuses, adding to the intellectual environment that fosters student success.”
Benbrook initiated and implemented Dance for Shelter, a dance clinic for young girls that raised more than $5,000 for Western Plains Youth and Family Services Inc. She entered Dance for Shelter in the Leadership Oklahoma Helping Hands contest and was awarded an additional $2,000. Benbrook has emceed Rock N’ Run, which benefits a program to provide lunches for children who might not have food over the weekend. She has also served as the student co-chair for the Pros for Africa, a dodgeball tournament to raise money for clean water in Africa, and volunteered with Youth Force to provide simple home repair for needy seniors. Benbrook has participated in a church mission trip to the Regional Food Bank in Oklahoma City, Project Transformation’s summer reading program for at-risk youth, the Grace Outreach summer lunch program and Woodward County Toy Giveaway. She has also served her community through involvement with the Red Cross, Special Olympics, UNICEF, Kiwanis Club, Joseph’s Coat and Ronald McDonald House.
Benbrook is student council president, National Honor Society president and Key Club vice president. She was named Outstanding Sophomore Girl and was selected Woodward Chamber of Commerce Student Citizen of the Year for 2011-12 and Masonic Student of Today. She is a member of the superintendent’s honor roll and the National Honor Society and is ranked first in her class. She will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and plans to attend Oklahoma State University in the fall.
Dollins developed and implemented Scrap 4 Helping School, a program that recycles large pieces of scrap metal and donates the proceeds to Perkins-Tryon Public Schools to purchase first aid kits, first aid materials and equipment, and athletic safety equipment. Scrap 4 Helping School has raised $1,400, provided cleanup in the community and assisted individuals in cleaning up their homes. Dollins has also been heavily involved in his community by providing home repair and cleanup for the elderly and low-income residents through mission work during the summer. He also volunteered at a men’s homeless shelter by painting, installing sheetrock and laying flooring prior to its opening. Dollins has participated at his church’s food closet, worked with the Oklahoma City Regional Food Bank packaging meals and helped with a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to purchase Smart Boards for the elementary school.
Dollins is team captain of the varsity basketball team and an officer in the Perkins-Tryon 4-H program. He has served as project coordinator on FFA welding projects. He is a member of the National and Oklahoma honor societies and superintendent’s honor roll. He will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and plans to attend OSU in the fall.
Kennedy has implemented several programs in her community. Water of Life raised more than $3,500 through bake sales, silent auctions, donations and sales of sports bracelets to provide more than 70 water filters to families in underdeveloped countries. LIVE: 8 Healthy Habits to a Better Life is a program that asks students to focus on one healthy habit each month. To encourage her fellow students to be involved in the program, Kennedy held meetings with students, compiled promotional videos and organized walks. Fit Kid Fridays! is a program for local elementary school students that teaches them how to make easy, healthy meals, emphasizes the importance of exercise, and demonstrates how to make good choices for their future. Kennedy coordinated the Youth Relay for Life, raising more than $10,500 for the American Cancer Society. The relay also donated more than 72 inches of hair to Locks of Love, including 9 inches of Kennedy’s own locks. She has participated in local trash pickups, food drives, the Ronald McDonald House, Christmas wrapping for the Red Cross and pancake days for the local Kiwanis Club. Kennedy was chosen to attend Oklahoma Girls State and the University of Oklahoma’s Leadership Retreat, and to participate in Youth Leadership Oklahoma Class of XII.
Kennedy is student body president, vice president of the Key Club, treasurer of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, captain of the volleyball team and a member of Youth Leadership Oklahoma. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Oklahoma and principal’s honor rolls, and is ranked first in her class. She will graduate with a 4.0 plus GPA and plans to attend OSU in the fall.
Workman recognized a need for greater interaction with the school’s disabled students and developed a weekly Sharing is Caring program. Through the program, Workman randomly selects five students who gather during their breaks to learn about one another and promote communication between all students. The program has resulted in a significant change in the student body, creating a friendlier and more caring atmosphere for the entire school. Workman also devised a plan to help fund the building of new parking areas at his local school after the first school was destroyed by a tornado. The idea was to have a school reunion for every class that has graduated from a Tushka school. Fundraising items for sale during the reunion included bricks for a new school sidewalk, reunion T-shirts and lunches for those attending. Workman has volunteered for the Salvation Army, served Thanksgiving dinners for the homeless, donated and picked up for Toys for Tots, participated in the Relay for Life and is a member of the Families Feeding Families Program.
Workman is secretary of the senior class, president of Gifted and Talented, captain of the Academic Team, co-president of the Bible Club and chaplain of the National Honor Society. He is a member of the superintendent’s honor roll and will graduate with a 4.0 GPA. He plans to attend OU in the fall.
In the 20 years since its inception, the Chancellor’s Scholars Program has provided scholarships for 88 deserving students. Private gifts, including professional honoraria from the current and past chancellors, support the program, which honors not only Brisch but the office of the chancellor and all individuals who serve Oklahoma in that position.