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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pathways to

Progress Community Living Quality of life & Volunteerism

Good memories from their university days, relatively cheap housing and access to quality medical care are reasons why “Boomerang” couples are moving back to Norman. Some of those housing options include loft apartments and condomimiums near campus and downtown. — Read all about it, Pages 4-5

The national recession, weather disasters and just higher operating costs have increased the need for volunteers at schools, non-profit agencies and even local businesses. With a reduction in paid staff, many groups are turning to volunteers, many of them seniors, to help balance the load and the bottom line. Young people aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, too. The University of Oklahoma’s Big Event, part of a national college movement, helps local non-profit agencies, schools and churches with special projects. But it also teaches the college students a lesson in giving back to their communities. — Read all about it, Page 2 & 9 Coming June 21: Pathways to Progress / Business and Industry


The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 2

Volunteerism

Residents step up when needs are identified How to help

By Chris Jones For The Transcript

Locating volunteer opportunities in Norman is as easy as a phone call or a computer mouse click.

M

embers of the Ugly Quilters gather twice a month at the Community Services Building in Norman, to make quilts for homeless shelters. The volunteers laugh and talk and stitch their way through 300 colorful blankets a year. Their motivation is to use their skills to provide warmth for those in need. Their reward is fun and friendship, and a potluck lunch on the days they meet. Those who are interested in the law lend their time to the OU Law Center where they sit on mock juries. A “Mailout Brigade” attracts volunteers who like to keep their hands busy and help nonprofit groups with sorting, labeling and distribution of newsletters and other vital donor information. Last year a pool of 15 men and women sent out more than 100,000 pieces of mail at the request of the J.D. McCarty Center and other non-profit agencies in need of help, according to Angela Bratcher, Retired Senior Volunteer Program director for Cleveland and McClain Counties. The need for volunteers is greater than ever because of the economy. Unemployment, higher food costs, and gasoline prices, and numerous weather disasters have hit nonprofits hard. Operating costs are up, contributions are down, and some agencies have had to reduce paid staff. “Budgets are tight and help is needed,” Andrea Seekings said. She answered the phone at the RSVP office in Norman recently. She and her husband Charles are volunteer tutors at Houchin Elementary in Moore, where she works with first grade children. She has been there for 10 years.

■ Retired Senior Volunteer Program A simple application is the beginning of a wide selection of volunteering opportunities with RSVP. The RSVP office in Norman is at 1125 E. Main St. Info: 701-2133 or go online www.cocaa.org ■ Second Chance Animal Sanctuary The sanctuary has a need for volunteers in many roles. Info: 405-321-1915, or general@secondchancenorman.com ■ Sooner Theatre Transcript File Photo / Kyle Phillips

Andy Paden presents Krystal Harrington with a plaque for her Volunteer of the Year Award in the Young Citizen catagory at the 2011 Volunteer of the Year awards ceremony.

“The pre-school children call my husband, ‘Grandpa Charlie,’” she said. It’s so good for the children to have a male role in their lives.” Volunteer opportunities by the hundreds are open to interested teens, college students, and men and women of all ages who want to enrich their lives and contribute to Norman, and the surrounding communities.

Among Friends

doesn’t mind waiting in a doctor’s office. This is a perfect combination for volunteers who are willing to take people to appointments through the Provide a Ride Program. One day a week she volunteers at Among Friends, a program for emotionally and physically disabled people. “It takes an effort for the physically disabled to get some place,” Sanders said. “They are so happy to get out of their apartments or group

Doris Sanders, retired school administrator and teacher, said she likes to drive, read, and

Joyce Collard is a volunteer usher at the theater. When all the guests are seated she sits down and watches the show. “I have seen dramas, comedies, musicals and bands,” she said. “I support the theatre wholeheartedly.” Katherine McLaughlin is volunteer coordinator as well as house manager at Sooner Theatre. Volunteer recruitment is in August. Info: 405-321-9600.

• See VOLUNTEERISM Page 6

Advertiser index

On the cover ■ Top photo: Condo living in Norman by Kyle Phillips / The Transcript.

■ Bottom Photo: OU Big Event by Kyle Phillips / The Transcript.

■ Middle photo: Battle of the Burgers by Doug Hill / For The Transcript.

■ Background Photo: Legacy Trail by Kyle Phillips / The Transcript.

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The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 3

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The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 4

Doug Hill / For The Transcript

Austin rock band White Denim played a free concert open to the public in 2010 on the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art lawn. The event was one of the OU alumni Associations periodic Metro Arts Circle parties.

OU alumni activities, events add to community The University of Oklahoma’s Alumni Association sponsors a wide variety of activities for it members. Some events such as the Metro Arts Circle’s parties and concerts on the OU campus are open to the public as well. Whether alumni interests involve sports, academics or reuniting with classmates many events are planned throughout the year. ■ Class reunions are organized for every Homecoming Weekend in the fall,

2011’s date to be determined. The reunions honor specified graduating class years and selected members of the President’s Medallion Club. ■ Boomer Bash is a pre-football game event featuring a pep rally at the Student Union. ■ Faculty Webinairs, are academic lectures conveniently available on-line for anyone to view. Currently posted is a lecture by OU assistant professor of Art History Allison Lee Palmer presenting an

overview of colonial architectural construction at Jamestown and Williamsburg. ■ Softball Nights at the Ballpark in season are scheduled periodically with special ticket pricing that includes T-shirt, hot dog and a drink. ■ The Metro Arts Circle parties and concerts are free and open to the public. Held at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in 2010, they have included a guest lecture by Bill Goldston, Director of Universal Limited Arts Edition, a special

choreographed dance by the OU School of Dance and concert on the lawn by rock band White Denim. ■ Caravan to Norman highlights some Men’s and Women’s basketball games with the OU alumni association hosting a meal and pep rally for alumni at Lloyd Noble Center. — Doug Hill, for The Transcript

Quality of life

Platoons of service people retire to area By Doug Hill

“My last Navy assignment was as the executive In 2010 the metro area was director of the Reserve ranked second in a top ten Officers Training Corps at list of best places to retire by the University of OklaUnited Services Automobile homa,” Davis said. “I was Association, a financial automatically a faculty services company catering member and OU was a exclusively to U.S. military good place to work.” personnel. They based their As an important man on ranking on 20 factors that campus with a demonstratincluded proximity to VA ed leadership background hospitals and military bases, he found himself becoming recreation, arts and culture, entwined with the communicrime levels and affordability. ty through relationships Not surprisingly, it was found beyond the job. that the University of “When it came time to Oklahoma plays a leading decide where we’d live role in initial attraction and after retirement it was retention of these valued apparent we knew far members of our community. more people in Norman Retired Navy Cmder. Jim than anywhere else,” Davis didn’t grow up in Davis said. “Many of our Oklahoma but has lived good friends were here.” here since 1965. He was Although his mother, other born in the Kansas City, family and eventually the Mo.-area 91 years ago Doug Hill / For The Transcript couple’s two daughters were in when automobile travel After a career that took the Kansas City-area, Jim and just a short distance away him around the world, Bunny decided to stay in from home could be an retired Army Col. Oklahoma. Not rocking chair ordeal. Woodrow Wiltse has folks, they were both involved “After going into the called Norman home for in social and civic activities military I had traveled nearly five decades. such as Kiwanis, Square through Oklahoma to Dance Club and as active other places but that was members at McFarlin about it as far as spending any time here,” Memorial United Methodist Church. Davis said. A 1942 Naval Academy “Mayor Bill Morgan kept appointing graduate, he was assigned to duty and me to unpaid committees and boards of lived in Hartford, Conn.; Norfolk, Va.; directors,” Davis said with a laugh. Pensacola, Fla.; Corpus Christi, Texas; They also used home as a base for Seattle, Wash; and post-war Japan. travel to far away destinations such as Both as an active duty officer and from Australia and New Zealand. traveling during retirement Davis has “Norman has a safe, friendly atmosvisited 72 countries around the globe. He phere and it’s centrally located,” Davis has seen a large part of the world and said. “Most small cities with a university basically could live anywhere. However have an advantage over those that don’t. Davis and his wife, Elizabeth Lee “BunWe’ve attended many OU functions such ny,” (now deceased) chose to reside in as concerts and plays over the years.” Norman after retirement in 1970. Asked about his many military peers For The Transcript

who made the same Oklahoma choice, he has some highly credible theories. One is the Southern Belle factor. “When the Naval Air Technical Training Center and hospital were in full swing during WWII and later the Korean War, lots of guys were stationed in Norman,” Davis said. “Many dated and married Norman girls and when their careers concluded they settled back here in their wives’ home town.” He also cited Tinker Field as another reason for the nation wide exposure to central Oklahoma as a good place to live. “Lots of those military people saw that Norman in particular was a more attractive place to live than Midwest City,” he said. In addition to recognizing the valuable leadership experience of many of our senior citizens, the University of Oklahoma also has emphasized the benefits of lifelong learning for decades. Partnered with California’s Bernard Osher Institute, OU has administered a generous grant and been part of the 125 member network of Osher Life Long Learning Institutes since 2006. For a $40 annual fee anyone over the age of 50 may participate in programs that offer non-credit courses in music, science, art, religion and journalism. “Right now we have over 700 members participating,” program coordinator Natalie Beasley said from the Institute’s 1600 S. Jenkins Ave. office. “Some classes have as many as 80 people and some are as small as six or seven, it just depends on the topic. “We have professors who come back each semester and their classes grow as word gets around,” she said. Beasley said that participants enjoy the classroom setting but without the pressure of taking tests. Classroom discussion is a large part of the program dynamic. The social aspect of having lunch together and being part of a sponsored book club adds to OLLI’s attraction. Retired Army Col. Woodrow Wiltse grew up in Dearborn, Mich., and was a 1943 graduate of then-Michigan State

College. Entered into Officer Candidate School as an artilleryman, the young husband was sent to Fort. Sill. “It was 114 degrees in the shade when we stepped off the train in Oklahoma,” Wiltse said. Just a few months of training later and Wiltse was a lieutenant leading troops who were among the divisions that liberated Cherbourg, France after the invasion of Normandy. “We got the hell beat out of us at areas like St. Lo,” he said. Later a German tank round exploded near Wiltse spraying his eyes with shattered concrete. Temporarily blinded he recovered and continued after the war as a reservist before becoming a career officer later. Stints at language and military intelligence schools for attaches landed Wiltse assignments in 1958 Saigon, the Pentagon and Korea. “At one point I applied for an ROTC assignment hoping they’d send me back to Michigan State but ended up as a Commanding Officer of the Army ROTC at OU from 1964-69,” he said. Wiltse and his wife bought a home in Norman to share with their two sons and a Chinese boy they’d begun caring for in Vietnam. “Then they shipped me to the NATO Defense College in Rome,” he said. “That was really a pleasant tour.” Wiltse retired in 1965 and they came back to the Norman home they’d kept while in Europe. “I was hired to run the Parking and Traffic Office at OU and quit after nearly nine years,” he said. The Wiltse family returned because of the residents. “It came down to basic recognition that we knew the people here, the University, the hospital, police and fire departments,” he said. “Norman has been a good place to anchor after tilting my lance at life’s windmills. It’s been a satisfactory place to avoid the turmoil and just live.”

For one resident, Norman’s draw is the people Retired Texas oil patch executive the city seems to be organized around David Saunders was introduced to offering concerts, arts walks, and other Norman by his wife Marilyn and her events.” family who have been here for many Many in town know Saunders years. David and Marilyn chose to live because he founded the Canadian here for a variety of reasons. River Cruisers motoring club a few “Norman is not a megacity like years ago. In no small part it’s because Houston with the associated traffic, of his charming personality and David the pollution, or the humidity,” selflessness that so many people have Saunders Saunders said. “What we found been attracted to the club’s regular Norman to be, was a town with a Saturday morning meetings at the cultural and arts bent, with an abundance to Midway Market. do. While a major University offers a number “No discussion of the appeal of Norman and of enriching civic and arts events for the area, of Oklahoma would be complete without

saying something about the genuineness of the citizens. They are simply the nicest people as a group that I have ever met,” Saunders said. “I recently took a pretty good spill on my bike over on Flood. Traffic stopped in all directions as people poured forth to help me to my feet, to untangle my bike, and to offer me rides to the hospital. This may happen in other parts of the country, but I believe it is an ingrained behavior in the Midwest. — Doug Hill, for The Transcript

The regulars A group of military veterans and retirees meet for coffee at Homeland on NW 24th Avenue at Robinson Street. All these men call Norman home. Bill Stone, graduate of West Point and OU, is one of the group. “Norman is a great town with great people,” Stone said. “Per capita, it has more high quality community service agencies than other towns this size. OU’s cultural and athletic resources help make it a very vibrant place to live.” — Doug Hill


The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 5

Andy Rieger / The Transcript

A southbound freight train passes through the intersection with Boyd Street as crews work on the nearby Lofts 401.

Quality of life

Loft living is the life some seek By Carol Cole-Frowe For The Transcript

L

oft living is on the upswing in Norman, with more historic lofts upstairs from downtown Norman businesses being refurbished into living space or office space with a vintage vibe. “They are fun,” said Jim Adair of Adair Properties, which rents five renovated lofts downtown. “(Lessees) want the comfort they’re used to, but they want something different.” Most lofts have some of the original amenities still intact, like original wood floors, exposed brick, large windows and an open, flowing floor plan. Renovating the upstairs lofts from downtown businesses can be challenging. A loft that could be residential or office space currently is being used for office space by DeAnna Thompson, co-owner with husband Johnny, of Impulse clothing store at 209 E. Main St. in downtown Norman. The loft is upstairs from their business. Thompson got an unexpected bonus when they rented their loft. An original wall with several layers of green and brown paint on concrete plaster was in one of the bedrooms. They now use the wall as a backdrop as they photograph many of the products that are displayed on their highly successful websites, vintageflax.com and funkyflax.com. “We use it for the background of all of our photographs,” Thompson said. In fact, Adair said it’s written in their lease that they can’t paint that particular wall. When he started renovating the space, it had not been occupied in at least 60 years and he describes it as “a mess.” He learned little tricks along the way, like to update the knob-and-block electrical system, they put in a slightly wider wooden cavity baseboard to run wires behind. They exposed the original brick in several places from under the concrete plaster throughout to increase the link with the past. ` Adair said their lofts range from about 800 to 1,600 square feet. They rent from about $800 to $1,200 a month and have single or double garages. The double garages require stacking vehicles one behind the other, much like single-car driveways in older neighborhoods. A city ordinance created the zoning that made it possible to renovate the lofts.

Lofts to lease To lease or get on the waiting list for a loft: ■ Magnolia Apartments, nativerootsmarket. com/pages/magnolia_apartments, 310-6300 ■ Adair and Associates, 321-8984 ■ Equity Realty, equityrealty.net, 364-5300 ■ Mister Robert Fine Furniture, 321-1818

“They seem to be quite successful,” said Doug Koscinski, manager of the city of Norman’s planning division, who worked on the ordinance. Koscinski said the movement started when local downtown merchants got the area designated a historic district, although some other merchants had reservations about it. “Slowly, one-by-one, people started peeling off the metal fronts,” he said. “Now a lot of these places have funky, old charm. … I consider it a big success story.” He said there are about 15 downtown lofts available, including four Magnolia Apartments upstairs from Native Roots Market at 132 W. Main St. Judy Hatfield of Equity Realty said her firm is converting a loft upstairs from one of their clients, Bison Witches Bar and Deli on E. Main St. “It was a loft many years ago and has been in a state of disrepair and that is an understatement,” Hatfield said. The loft should be completed in June, she said. Box Real Estate currently is building a complex of loft-style condominiums, Lofts 401 at the northwest corner of Boyd Street and Classen Boulevard within walking or biking distance of the University of Oklahoma. “What makes this a loft,” said Andy Ridley of Box Ventures. “ … It’s more of an open concept with clean lines. … We focus on the quality of the finishes. It’s kind of a boutique style.” The one-bedroom units are about 800 to 900 square feet and range up to twobedroom units at about 1,200 square feet with 10-foot ceiling heights. They start in Kyle Phillips / The Transcript the high $150,000s. Old Towne Lofts leases these homes at 375 Triad Village Road on Norman’s east The five two-story “penthouse” units side. are about 1,660 square feet and have rooftop terraces.

Senior center activities abound for 50-plus set By Doug Hill For The Transcript

Doug Hill / For The Transcript

Norman seniors participate in a Tai Chi class at the Senior Citizens Center, 329 S. Peters.

Three mornings a week, Norman’s Senior Citizen center is a hotbed of Chinese martial arts. Some may know of Tai Chi only as depicted in the movies. Invariably it is shown as venerable men and women moving slowly and meticulously very early in the morning as they prepared for another day. Here in Norman, Tai Chi just one of the many activities scheduled at the Senior Center for our 55-plus population to keep us physically and mentally fit. Tai Chi utilizes ancient Asian techniques that prepare one for both combat and the physical and mental rigors of everyday life.

It’s just one of over 10 different activities regularly scheduled for participation on a daily basis. “I have diabetes and it has certainly helped with my balance,” Tai Chi student Maria Ozmet said. “I’ve been learning it for about two years. I knew nothing about Tai Chi before starting here but (the doctor) recommended it for me.” Ozmet enjoys the company of other participants as well as the exercise it provides. For 50 cents a visit and $30 for the entire year Norman’s golden girls and boys may engage in pastimes that range from the artistically creative to shaking one’s booty on the dance floor. The center is at 329 S. Peters St.


The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 6

Volunteerism • From Page 2 homes. We have coffee in the mornings, lunch, and play table games, watch movies, and just visit. People in Norman are so fortunate to have these programs.” Bratcher said there are 185 active volunteers in Norman, through Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Some volunteer 20 hours a week, while others may volunteer once a month. Crossroads Headstart, Norman Regional Hospital, Norman Veterans Center, Meals on Wheels, and the Sam Noble Natural History Museum are sites where many of the volunteers give their time in a variety of helpful ways. Lynda Grimsley, is retired, and said she likes to stay busy. She volunteers with Special Olympics, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, Angel Food Ministry, and she said she is interested in helping with plans for a possible free health clinic in Noble, where she lives. “I have worked since I was 15, and I was a Girl Scout leader,” Grimsley said. “I am a people person, and I try to think of ways I can help.”

Jumping rope at 81 I am very active for my age,” Dorothy Claxton said. “I can still jump rope. I had to teach my grandchildren how to do the fancy jumps.” Claxton, 81, of Norman, said she isn’t the type of person to sit home and watch television soap operas. She said she has a lot of energy, and she enjoys working with children, and she said people who want to volunteer should choose something they enjoy. Claxton volunteers in the Kids are Special program at Norman Regional, and she is available once a week early in the morning in the surgery waiting area to make coffee, welcome families, and make them comfortable as they spend time in the waiting room. She also volunteers at the Veteran’s Center in Norman, where she enjoys helping veterans celebrate their birthdays. Once a year she is available to help at the annual free Norman Christmas dinner. “When you have had a good life you have to give back,” Claxton said.

Red Cross stands ready By Chris Jones

How to help

For The Transcript

Not everyone wants to get out at 2 a.m. and respond to a house fire, but for others, it’s a privilege to help people in need any time day or night. Rusty Surette, regional director of communications for The American Red Cross, said the agency relies heavily on volunteers. “We are happy and grateful for the help we get,” Surette said. “We don’t have any requirements for the amount of time volunteers spend. Some volunteer once a year, while others are there all the time. We are flexible, and volunteers pick and choose what they want to do.” Robin Outland, American Red Cross Heart of Oklahoma Chapter in Norman, said budget cuts have been responsible for staff reductions, and created a need for more volunteers. Helping hands are needed in many ways because of tornadoes, fires, floods and earthquakes. Residents who have experienced death and destruction are grateful to see the faces of American Red Cross volunteers. Terry Baine, LCSW a clinical social worker from Moore, was interviewed by phone from Mississippi, where she was sent as a Red Cross volunteer. She said she is the only mental health person in the local chapter. She recently retired, giving her more time to play with her grandchildren, take vacations, and volunteer for the Red Cross. While in Mississippi, Baine talked to a woman who survived the destruction of her home, but needed advice and direction. “Some are burying their loved ones, they are

American Red Cross volunteers go through a background check and application process. Orientation events give volunteers the basic information they need to get started. Info: 405-321-0591 or smcclure@arcok.org coping, they need a hug,” Baine said and someone to listen. “They want to know what is normal, what to expect, where to go for help. Many need immediate help to replace eyeglasses and prescriptions. I like helping people, and it helps me appreciate what I have.” Sara McClure, a stay-at-home mom with a young child, said she volunteers on the board for the American Red Cross Heart of Oklahoma Chapter, and she coordinates the volunteer program and conducts orientation for new volunteers. The Norman resident said her volunteer work provides adult interaction, keeps her skills current, and is a way to give back to the community. The areas of need are great, ranging from staffing First Aid stations at May Fair, and Medieval Fair, to the behind the scenes volunteer work done by Al Singleton, retired Air Force pilot. “I go in every week and help with the financial paperwork at the Red Cross,” Singleton said. “I’m also on the disaster relief team. The Red Cross does really good work taking care of people.” The Norman resident laughed, and said he has retired three times, but he can’t seem to stay home. He enjoys the camaraderie of working at the Red Cross, and the satisfaction of helping others.

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Pathways to

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Page 7

Progress Community Living Faith & Education

The University of Oklahoma has changed considerably since the days of the first president David Ross Boyd. The seeds sown before the turn of the century have brought quite a harvest of students. Nearly 30,000 students are studying in 463 major fields. The impact on the state’s economy is estimated at $1.5 billion. — Read all about it, Pages 8

Faith comes in all shapes, sizes and colors in Norman. Buildings used for worship, too. Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Church opened its doors on 12th Avenue NE in August of 2010. Its unique building causes passersby to do a doubletake. The same goes for the new Islamic student center under construction on East Lindsey, just east of the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. — Read all about it, Page 11


The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 8

University of Oklahoma

OU charts path of academic excellence By Kendall Brown Transcript staff

W

hen Chris Shilling first came to the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2005, he was unsure of what to expect. Like many students, Shilling had a difficult time deciding which university to attend. After his time at OU, however, Shilling said he knows he made the right decision. “You create your surroundings when you first come to OU,” Shilling said. “Then, when you least expect it, your surroundings start to create you.” The University of Oklahoma enrolls more than 30,000 students like Shilling each year. Within the University is housed 21 colleges offering 163 majors at the bacahelor’s level, 166 majors at the master’s level, 81 majors at the doctoral level, 27 majors at the doctoral professional level and 26 graduate certificates. Aside from being a major powerhouse in the state, turning out thousands of graduates for the workforce each year, OU has a Provided photo huge impact on Norman and University of Oklahoma President David Boren takes a wild ride in the Sooner Schooner during Oklahoma in so many other ways. OU’s 14-3 victory over the University of Texas on Oct. 6, 2001. Whether it’s academics or athletics, Each year, the university’s impact OU enjoys a spot at the top of the rankings. on the state’s economy is more than $1.5 billion. By the Numbers: Academically, OU also continues to be at University of Oklahoma the front of the pack. The student body at OU is the academically highest at a public ■ Students Enrolled: 30,000-plus university in Oklahoma history. In addition, OU has more National Merit Scholars ■ Full-time faculty: 2,400-plus enrolled than any other public university in the state. In fact, The Princeton Review ■ Colleges: 21 consistently ranks OU in the top 10 public universities in the nation when factoring ■ Majors (all levels): 463 student costs and academic excellence. The university also continues to expand its commitment to health sciences research. In fiscal year 2010, the OU Health Sciences Center secured more than would make it easy to get lost in the pack. $118 million in grants and contracts. Not so, according to Shilling. The OU Physicians group employs “This is a fantastic place to be,” Shilling Transcript File nearly 400 doctors, including about 125 said. “The opportunities here in OklaCreated by the territorial legislature in 1890, the children’s physicians, and is the state’s homa are second to none. largest physician group. “This is a place where you can separate University of Oklahoma has been a part of Norman virtually since the land run of 1889. Many would think all these numbers yourself from the pack,” he said.

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David L. Boren, who served Oklahoma as governor and U.S. senator, became the 13th president of the University of Oklahoma in 1994. He is the first person in state history to have served in all three positions. Boren majored in American History at Yale University, graduating in 1963, and went on to earn a master’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University, England, in 1965 as a Rhodes scholar. In 1968, he received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma along with several accolades during his time as a student at OU including winning the Bledsoe Prize and being on the Law Review. During Boren’s time at OU, the university has developed 20 new major programs, including the establishment of the Honors College, the International Programs Center and an interdisciplinary religious studies program. In addition, since he came to OU in 1994, almost $1 billion in construction projects have been completed or are under way on OU’s three campuses. Boren is married to Molly Shi Boren, who serves as President Emeritus of the Oklahoma Arts Institute. Boren has two children, Carrie Boren, an Episcopal minister, and David Daniel Boren, who just announced he will not seek re-election to the U.S. Congress.


The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 9

University of Oklahoma

Sooner service is a lifetime commitment for some By Aaron Wright Gray

How to participate

For The Transcript

Once every spring, hoards of students gather together on the University of Oklahoma campus in a spirit of generosity and community appreciation. They bring shovels and gardening gloves, wear the same T-shirt and are ready to get their hands a little dirty, all in the name of Sooner service. The Big Event, a day of volunteering, was created by students at Texas A&M in the 1980s. Four students brought the idea north to the OU in 1999, where it was adopted by the OU Student Association. The event is a conglomeration of thousands of students that come together to say thank you to the community that supports them by assisting local non-profits. In 2011, more than 5,300 students, staff and faculty went out to 142 sites in the metro area. “The Big Event is a compilation of a year's worth of work, with the thrust of the effort taking place on one spring day,” Clarke Stroud, vice president of student affairs, said. “While it is a day event, the message is clear to students, ‘give back to the community.’ In fact, in one day, our students do as much service in individual and group hours, as some universities may do in an entire year.” “For me, the Big Event is one of the most inspiring events of the year," President Boren said. “The Big Event is a very impor-

Organizations interested in being a part of the University of Oklahoma Big Event can e-mail bigevent@ou.edu to be put on a list to receive information when applications go out in the winter.

Through his work with non-profits and businesses, Moravits said he often hears people dismiss the value of “episodic volunteerism,” short-term, widespread events similar to the Big Event. Moravits, though disagrees. “Thousands of hours of essential projects, services and tasks have been completed by the tens of Transcript File Photo / Kyle Phillips thousands of students who Zoe Kimpell and three other OU students carry a railroad tie that will be used to mark a path to a nature area have participated in The at Roosevelt Elementary during the 2011 Big Event. Big Event over the years— so, so many of these tasks tant symbol of the thoua small-scale in high school, Davis remembers his students to get involved in necessary for these sands of hours of voluntary being a part of the Big favorite part being the kick- volunteerism. agencies and organizations service given by OU Event altered his view of off ceremony, with eager OU alumnus Mark and ones that would have students to the community community service. students all decked out in Moravits chaired the Big never been completed all year long. It also serves “Before being introduced the same shirt ready to get Event twice, once in 2004 without the help of The Big to introduce students who to The Big Event at OU, I their hands dirty. Davis and once in 2005. A born Event,” Moravits said. have not previously been had never before witnessed continued to serve with the and bred Longhorn, “Sure, some of these involved to the rewards of volunteerism on such a Big Event for several years, Moravits crossed the Red students who volunteer volunteer service. Our grand scale,” he said. “To eventually serving as River to OU because he only volunteer on this one newest Rhodes Scholar, put our single-day impact chairman at the spring 2007 was attracted to the day, but I’m confident in Sarah Swenson, is an into perspective, if you event. campus’ strong sense of saying that their experience example of a student who consider 4,200 volunteers These days Davis community involvement. with The Big Event opens volunteers when she is (roughly how many continues to volunteer in Even so, he was especially their eyes to what needs home in South Dakota in participated in 2007), and a his community, especially impressed with the Big exist in the community and her local hospital. Football low estimate of three hours with Junior Achievement, Event. how, perhaps, they can be player Quinton Carter is a of volunteer work per where he spends his time “I learned about The Big part of the solution. What is leader in his home town of individual, that comes out teaching first graders the Event when I first visited most memorable to me Las Vegas in athletic to 12,600 hours of volunteer importance of community, OU and remember about The Big Event is the programs for underwork in a single day. It family and school. As thinking to myself ‘Wow, realization that people, privileged youth.” would take one person 525 assistant director of student this is one of the coolest regardless of age, income, For OU alumnus Joshua consecutive days working affairs at the OU-Tulsa ideas I’ve ever heard of.’ I background, are at their Davis, although he was 24/7 to contribute this Schusterman Center am proud to be a Sooner,” best when they’re voluninvolved in volunteering on many volunteer hours.” campus, Davis encourages Moravits said. teering.”

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The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 10

Education

Schools in Norman offer Blue Ribbon learning opportunity By Jocelyn Pedersen

Blue Ribbon Legacy

For The Transcript

P

ride and progress walk home from school hand in hand in Norman. Since 1987, the coveted Blue Ribbon School award has been presented nine times to various Norman Public schools and once to a local private school. This is no small feat. Of all the schools in the nation, 340 were named Blue Ribbon Schools in 2010 and Norman’s Longfellow Middle School was one of them. Longfellow Middle School Principal, Darien Moore said schools can be nominated for Blue Ribbon School status in one of two categories: High Performing and Improvement. Longfellow was recognized in the Improvement category. “We were recognized for making a giant leap in the Academic Performance Index,” she said, indicating a 30-point jump in state testing results over a period of a year. “These tests are a reflection of performance at your school. A lot of people look for that when moving into schools.” Moore explained that API measurement is based on test scores. She said every school takes the Criterion Reference Tests which measure how well students perform and teachers instruct, while End of Instruction (EOI) tests measure how much students know. Moore said all students, regardless of demographics-are evaluated using the same criteria. “No matter what disability, ethnicity or demographic group-we found a way for everyone to improve,” she said. “That’s why the award meant so much. It takes a whole school. It really does. It takes every grade level and every teacher to make that kind of gain.” Blue Ribbon Schools are presented with a flag and granted permission to display the Blue Ribbon School seal on newsletters and letterhead, etc. Moore said Longfellow staff members have new nametags displaying the seal. “We are very proud of it and we’re trying to put it on everything,” Moore said. Longfellow students and parents are very proud of their school’s Blue Ribbon Status, Moore said. Faculty and staff members talk to students and let them know that this is the highest honor bestowed from the Department of Education. Students learn what it takes to be a Blue Ribbon School and how important their behavior and performance are. She said they are very honored to be recognized for the hard work teachers and students put forward. As for the future, Moore says she plans to continue to maintain high standards at Longfellow. “We’ll continue to close the gaps between groups to make sure all students are successful,” she said. “We are a small school, but we work very hard.” Bryan Young, principal at Norman North High School, has a lot to be proud of. Norman North received Blue Ribbon

Dr. Joseph Siano, superintendent of Norman Public Schools, reported the following Norman schools have received Blue Ribbon School status over the years. 1987-88 McKinley Elementary 1988-89 Norman High School 1988-89 West Mid High before schools were consolidated 2000-01 Roosevelt Elementary 2000-01 Truman Elementary 2005-06 McKinley Elementary 2007-08 Lakeview Elementary 2008-09 Norman North High School 2010-11 Longfellow Middle School Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Of note: All Saints Catholic School 2007-08 School Status in 2008 in the Excellence category. He said North’s EOI scores are always very high and they have one of the highest API scores. Additionally, he said Norman North is the only 6A school in Oklahoma to receive the ACT award of excellence for continual growth in ACT scores and the number of students taking the ACT over a five year period. Young said enrollment in Advanced Placement classes over the last two years has doubled. Two years ago, there were about 400 students taking AP classes. Next year, 1053 students will be enrolled in AP and AEGIS courses as well as almost 500 seniors enrolled in not only the required English class, but in math and science classes which are not required. All of this hard work on the part of students and teachers has paid off in Blue Ribbon School status. “It’s one of the biggest honors bestowed on schools,” he said. “Students talk about it and are proud of it. Parents are proud of it too.” Young said they do a big promotion at Norman North to make sure students are aware of the achievements they attain. It’s important to him that students and faculty know they do a good job. “We strive to accomplish the same standards each and every year,” he said. Pride in Norman’s Blue Ribbon Schools spreads all the way to the top. Dr. Joseph Siano, Superintendent of Norman Public Schools, said very few schools around the state are recognized. The number of Blue Ribbon Schools Norman has makes it one of the top school districts in Oklahoma. He explained that the Blue Ribbon Schools program evaluates the effectiveness of the entire school-the types of programs offered, academic performance, and instructional competence. “It’s the highest designation in our field. It’s highly competitive and a highly appreciated honor. I feel the number of Norman Blue Ribbon Schools is very representative of good schools across the district,” Siano said. “Any time independent schools are successful, several factors come together: Talented students, talented and professional staff, engaged community, families and businesses.”

What makes a Blue Ribbon School? Each year, the U.S. Department of Education invites each state to nominate schools meeting recognition criteria in one of two categories: ■ High Performing Schools are those schools scoring at the highest performance level on tests referenced by national norms or those ranked among a state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in English language arts and mathematicsregardless of demographics or student body percentage from disadvantaged backgrounds. ■ Improving Schools are those with demographics showing 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students at these schools have improved their performance to high levels (scoring in the top 40 percent of schools in the state) in English language arts and mathematics as evidenced by state assessments or tests referenced by national normsthereby significantly narrowing the achievement gap. Results for all students tested must be similar across all demographic groups. ■ Info: Public and private Blue Ribbon Schools, www.ed.gov.a

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The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 11

Faith

Diverse faith communities find home in Norman By Shana Adkisson Transcript Features Editor

M

embers of the congregation of Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Church have been in the new church since its first Sunday service Aug. 15. This year, the church celebrated its first Pascha in the new facility at 3350 12th Ave. NE. Pascha, church member Edward Adwon explains, is also known as Easter. The move to the new church wasn’t the first for members. Prior to its current facility, which had a groundbreaking ceremony January 2009, the church hosted services at the Norman Chamber of Commerce, Norman Public Library and St. Thomas More University Parish and Student Center. Before moving to its new location, members gathered at a downtown storefront at 230 E. Main St. The church had many problems arise when it was being built. One of those problems was when the chandeliers that originated from Greece were stolen. The chandeliers were later found and returned to the church, Adwon said. “The guy who stole them must have thought they were gold. And they are not.

They are brass,� Adwon said. All Orthodox churches, Adwon said, are built with the congregation and the altar facing east “because the east is where the Holy Land is.� The 7,000 square foot church was dedicated Oct. 23 and The Rev. Justin McFeeters, who has been with Holy Ascension since 2002, is pleased with how far his congregation of less than 100 have come. “For a group this size, to accomplish this much in that short of time, is pretty Transcript File Photo remarkable. So, we feel great,� McFeeters said. A new Islamic Student Center is under construction on East Lindsey Avenue, just Of course with construction comes east of the University of Oklahoma campus. debt. “The church cost $1.1 million. What we are short on is real rich members,� Adwon joked. “We are working on the debt. Our people are good about giving.� The church, McFeeters said, gets a lot of attention from passersby because if its architecture. The hollow gold dome that sits atop the church can be seen for miles. “People drive by. It’s like a parade. The architecture doesn’t look like most churches,� McFeeters said.

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The Norman Transcript

Pathways to Progress

Page 12

Recreational sports

There are opportunities to play for love of the game By Michael Kinney Transcript Sports Writer

D

uring the summer Reaves Park is full on almost any given night of the week. Men and women from around Cleveland County converge on the public fields for recreational softball leagues. Recreational sports is a booming business in Norman. From softball to basketball or soccer to volleyball, there are different types of leagues for anyone who wishes to take part. Whether it’s public organizations or private church groups, everyone seems to be getting involved. “The benefits to being in a community rec league is that you are able to join together with all sorts of people, all barriers come down because you are all there for one common reason and that is the love of the sport,” said CrossPointe Community Center sports director, Brandy White. “At the end of the night you benefit in so many ways other than just getting to play your favorite sport, you get to know those who you may never have came into contact with otherwise. Also getting involved in a rec league allows you to get a great workout while having fun.” The Norman Parks and Recreation Department runs throughout the year around the city. That includes 55 neighborhood and community parks, three recreation centers, a golf course and driving range, two disc golf courses, a swim complex, 32 tennis courts and three special services facilities. The Norman Youth Soccer Association is one of bigger organizations that offers recreational sports. The NYSA is divided into three levels. They include academy, competitive and recreational, which is the biggest. It includes players in the U5 to U19 age groups. Games are played at the GillisRother Soccer Complex in Griffin Park, 12th Avenue NE and Robinson Street. They have more than 1,750 total players in NYSA and 1,000 of the players fall into the 5- to 12year-old range. The NYSA recreational program is intended to promote youth soccer through participation, player development, friendship and fun, according to the group’s

website. Players participate in one to two practices a week and eight games throughout the season. Coaches are encouraged to run activities in practice which involve multiple players and minimize standing in lines. Players receive at least 50 percent playing time during games. “Our goal is to develop players so they will continue to enjoy soccer and be successful at it,” said NYSA officials. “Even at age four, players begin soaking up information and learning real skills.” It’s not just public organizations that offers recreation activities. Through CrossPointe Community Church, the CrossPointe Community Center is one of Transcript File Photo / Jerry Laizure the newer facilities that offers a variety of Blake Barnhart of Norman lines up his putt durign the South Central PGA Junior recreational sports. Tournament at Westwood Glof Course. Norman’s various sporting venues are “Leagues like ours are so popular in the big draws for teams and enthusiasts from all over Central Oklahoma. community because adults and youth are looking for somewhere to be active in a safe, fun, controlled environment,” White said. “So many people grow up having a favorite sport, we want to continue to allow them to enjoy it no matter what age they are.” CrossPointe has had leagues for three years. They consists of basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, softball and dodgeball. CCC’s adults men’s basketball league has approximately 315 players a year, while its adult co-ed volleyball league has around 335 adults who participated this year. They have 100 kids who are involved in the youth volleyball program and 35 in thei dodgeball league. “Rec leagues are a great time to get together with your family and friends and play together,” White said. “We see so many teams that have 14 year olds to 60 year olds all playing on the same team. It’s great to see the rest of the family on the bleachers cheering on those who are on the court. Eventually everyone needs a friend or comes to a tough spot in life. It is at those moments that we hope we have built good relationships with our members 522 N. Porter Norman, OK (405) 701-3725 that they know we are not only here to provide a great rec league but we truly love www.ladiesworkoutexpress.com/norman them and care about them.”

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Deedra Jaye Vice was raised in Clinton, Oklahoma, graduating Clinton High School in 1985. She is the daughter of Darrell Lee and Judy (Cabaniss) Stehr. Deedra has a younger brother, Brennon. Deedra married Shane Vice on September 1, 1990 in Clinton, Oklahoma. Shane and Deedra have two sons, Dalton, a Junior at Norman North High School and Brant, a 5th grader at Truman Elementary. Deedra is a graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma Sate University in Weatherford, Oklahoma, where she obtained a Secretarial Science Degree. Deedra’s focus is in hospital administration, which encompasses Medical Staff Services and Quality Resource Management. Deedra has been on staff at Integris Clinton Regional Hospital, Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City, and in 2001 was on the development and start-up team to open the Integris Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon, Oklahoma. In addition to her hospital administrative career, Deedra was appointed to lead a United States Federal Program that prepared Senior Citizens to re-enter the workforce. This program equipped seniors with the necessary skills to begin a career that prepared them for healthy, longtime business careers. After the Vice Family assumed ownership of Havenbrook Funeral Home, Deedra retired from Integris Canadian Valley Hospital after 21 years of dedicated service to Oklahoma’a Health Care Industry. Deedra’s affiliations include the Jaycees, Junior Service League, Yukon Community Education Council, and the Advisory Council of Yukon, Oklahoma. Deedra, Shane and their two sons worship at Bethel Baptist Church in Norman. Deedra is enjoying being a stay-at-home mom and providing administrative support to Havenbrook Funeral Home.

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Samuel Flores began his career in the Funeral Business in 2010. Sammy is currently serving as a Funeral Director and Embalmer Apprentice at Havenbrook Funeral Home. Sammy was raised in Clinton, Oklahoma, graduating from Clinton High School in 2006. In May of 2011, Sammy graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Funeral Services. While attending UCO, Sammy served as a Vice President of the Gamma Chapter, Sigma Phi Sigma, and the Funeral Service Advisory Board as a student representative. During the summer months, Sammy serves as a youth counselor for a Christian Church Camp.

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A Norman resident for more than 20 years, Jules is a native Oklahoman and a 1952 graduate of John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City. Jules retired from AT&T after more than 30 years of service. Jules joined the Havenbrook Funeral Home staff in May of 2010, assisting families in various capacities. In 1976, Jules founded her own company, Artistic Decor. She remained active in the business before retiring from Interior Design in late 1996. Jules has remained active in the business community, participating in the legal, medical, and oil and gas industries. Widowed at an early age, Jules enjoys spending time with her two daughters, grandchildren and traveling.

Darla Dickerson was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She was raised in Liberal, Kansas, graduating from Liberal High School in 1981. Darla moved to Oklahoma in 1988, beginning a career in funeral home administration in 1995. Darla began her career with Havenbrook Funeral Home in May of 2010. Darla is married to Jeff Dickerson and has four daughters and one son. Darla enjoys spending time with her family, and shopping with her four daughters.

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Pathways to Progress  

The Community Living edition of the 2011 Pathways to Progress.

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