Two Oklahoma high school seniors have been named Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars for outstanding leadership, civic involvement and academic talent.
Emily Sanders, Epic Charter School, Kingfisher, and Madison Walters, Muldrow High School, will each receive a $2,000 award through the Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholarship program.
The Chancellor’s Scholars Program was created in 1990 with private funds. The program 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 2020 Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars were selected from nominations made by high school principals statewide.
“The State Regents congratulate both of these exceptional students who have distinguished themselves both academically and by giving back to their communities,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These students join an elite group of young Oklahoma leaders and will bring a vibrant, energetic presence to our campuses. We wish them the best as they begin their college experience.”
Sanders has contributed over 5,000 hours in community service, and one of her greatest passions has been working with the Granville Community Music School, where she prepares and teaches music classes that include piano, guitar, and voice lessons to underprivileged children.
She has volunteered with various service projects, such as Folds of Honor and Guitars for Vets, where she raised money to help with a ceremony of retiring American flags. Guitars for Vets helps veterans integrate back into society after being deployed and gives them an outlet to express their feelings through the guitar. Sanders has also led an Oklahoma Music History program with the Opry Heritage Series for over 6,000 students.
As president of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Teen Board, Sanders organized fundraisers and connected with the kids being treated at Children’s Hospital. She continued her passion of serving others with the American Heart Association and Go Red For Women Campaign of Oklahoma City, where she helped deliver CPR kits to schools. Additionally, she wrote a theme song for the organization in 2018 called “Write Your Own Story.”
Sanders is Miss Tulsa Outstanding Teen and will compete for the title of Miss Oklahoma Outstanding Teen in June. She is taking concurrent courses, was chosen to attend the University of Oklahoma’s High School Leadership Conference, is a member of the National Honor Society and is ranked first in her class. She will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and plans to attend OU in the fall.
Walters volunteers with several local community organizations and projects, including Future Farmers of America, Veterans Day programs, programs through Beta Club and the First Baptist Church, and the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council.
The project that Walters is most proud of is Tools for Schools, a project she started with the help of her father. Two schools in northeast Oklahoma, Moffett and Webbers Falls, suffered extreme damage when the Arkansas River flooded in 2019. Walters and her father organized a fundraiser to raise money for the schools. Her father owns a woodworking store; she sold raffle tickets for 13 prize packages of tools. Walters helped with advertising, social media posts, flyer distribution, ticket collection, and the final drawing. The project raised over $21,000 to support the two schools.
Walters owns and operates Madison’s Laser Engraving, a custom laser engraving business. She is FFA Chapter President, Oklahoma Electric Cooperatives Youth Tour Representative, Beta Club Treasurer, Spanish Club Representative, and a member of American Farmers and Ranchers. Additionally, she has served as an Oklahoma House of Representatives Page and Oklahoma Senate Page.
Walters is a Girls State Delegate, Cookson Hills Essay winner, 2020 FFA State winner and State FFA Reporter. She was named Outstanding Student in many subjects, is a member of the Superintendent’s Honor Roll and Oklahoma Honor Society and is ranked first in her class. She will graduate with a 4.43 grade point average and plans to attend Northeastern State University in the fall.
Brisch Scholars are academically talented high school seniors with outstanding leadership ability and a commitment to the enhancement of their communities as demonstrated through their involvement in high school and/or community programs or projects that have resulted in an improvement of the learning environment of the school or the social betterment of the community.
In the 30 years since its inception, the Chancellor’s Scholars program has provided scholarships for more than 100 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.