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June 30, 2017 - Two Outstanding Seniors Named Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars

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Two Oklahoma high school seniors have been named Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars for outstanding leadership, civic involvement and academic talent.

Jace Konner Neal, Broken Bow High School, and Andrea Dawn Hopper, Sharon-Mutual 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 2017-18 Chancellor Hans Brisch Scholars were selected from nominations made by high school principals statewide.

 “These academically talented students distinguish themselves through their active involvement in their local communities,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “They join an exceptional group of past scholarship recipients who are making a difference in the lives of others. The State Regents congratulate the honorees and wish them continued success.”

Neal has been heavily involved in his community through participation in various service projects, such as volunteering with Relay for Life, assisting with local food drives, cleaning up the downtown area, helping the needy at Christmas, and regularly visiting the patients of local nursing homes.

As student life chair at Broken Bow High School, Neal led the Student Council in several projects, including the Freshmen Mentor Program, Pink Out, blood drives, drug-free programs and the Special Olympics.

Neal has also actively supported organizations that focus on initiating early childhood literacy in his community. For example, he collaborated with a children’s author and an area school superintendent to coordinate the distribution and presentation of 5,500 books to over 2,500 local children. He spoke to more than 400 people about the importance of reading as a key component of a solid education, and he reinforces this concept by volunteering his time to read with the children in the classroom.

With the Broken Bow Junior Chamber of Commerce, Neal has completed over 350 hours of volunteer service, which qualified him for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

Neal is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was selected captain of both the football and basketball teams at Broken Bow High School. For his significant achievements and leadership, he has been recognized as a Who’s Who Outstanding Boy, a Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY) award recipient and a Wendy’s Heisman state finalist. He was selected Senior of the Month by both the Lions Club and the Kiwanis Club. He currently serves as student life chair of the Student Council, treasurer of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Gifted and Talented program, Oklahoma Honor Society and National Honor Society. He was nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program and was ranked first in his class.

Neal graduated with a 4.619 grade point average and plans to attend Northeastern State University in the fall.

Hopper initiated and implemented a service project in her community focused on maintaining the local cemetery, which included picking up trash, old flowers and tree branches; fence repair; and filling in sunken graves. In addition to her cemetery beautification efforts, she created an electronic directory of burial plots, which documents the names and locations of those buried in the cemetery to assist members of the community, caretakers of the cemetery and local funeral directors. She also developed a plan and fundraising initiative for a directory to be located at the front of the cemetery as a reference for visitors.

In addition to this project, Hopper has helped coordinate many leadership activities, such as Class Leadership and Sharing Strategies (CLASS). Through her participation in CLASS, she assisted in teaching leadership skills and providing interactions and promoting networking opportunities among students.

Hopper has volunteered with local blood drives, the March of Dimes, the Regional Food Bank and Feed the Children, as well as tutored math students.

Hopper is a vice president for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and she has competed in several of their leadership events, earning first place in culinary arts, second place in the Regional Star Events Creed Speaking competition and third place in State Star Events.

Hopper is a member of the Western Oklahoma Choir Director’s Choir, an Oklahoma Northwest Academic Conference All-Star, captain of the Academic Team and captain of the volleyball team. She is president of the Student Council; a member of the National Honor Society, Superintendent’s Honor Roll and Oklahoma Honor Society; and an Oklahoma Academic Scholar.

Hopper is valedictorian, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and receiving the title of honors graduate and the diploma of honor at her graduation. She plans to attend Southwestern Oklahoma 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 more than 25 years since its inception, the Chancellor’s Scholars program has provided scholarships for 97 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.