OPSU's SOEA Chapter Wins 4 State Awards By Laura Nelson on 04/04/2013 Edmond, Okla.—Oklahoma Panhandle State University's chapter of the Student Oklahoma Education Association was recently recognized with four awards at the State Convention held on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma.
The group won Outstanding Chapter of the Year (out of 29 chapters around the state) for the second consecutive year. The OPSU group was chosen based on the members' large number of service activities and successful grant writing. Just a few of those activities in the past year included cleaning the home of a local veteran for the National Day of Service, sponsoring free admission and snacks for veterans attending the first home football game, participating in football Homecoming events and the OPSU Chili Cook-off as well as sponsoring workshops for education majors and painting hallways at Salyer Elementary school in Guymon.
Last spring, SOEA members wrote a grant to complete some work at Goodwell School. They painted murals to inspire students, bought classroom supplies and held a workshop to educate teachers about the new state standards. Their hard work in these endeavors won them the Outstanding Class Grant award.
OPSU's Kirsten Benyshek was honored as the Outstanding Local Leader after serving one year as president and one year as secretary of the OPSU Chapter. She was nominated by her peers who provided evidence of her character, leadership, and community service. Last, but not least, Jerry Mihelic was named the Outstanding Local Advisor for his leadership and commitment to youth in education.
In addition, Selma Balachander Belts and Torri Janzen received awards for their work as State Officers. Belts serves as the Legislative Representative while Janzen is the National Education Association Legislative Delegate.
While at the Convention, the students also attended workshops on classroom management, safe schools, new state educational standards, and bullying.
The day before the Convention, about 200 SOEA members, including 13 from OPSU, met at Fogarty Elementary School in Guthrie to paint hallway murals and repair and enhance the playground and basketball courts.
OPSU's SOEA continues to be one of the hardest working groups in the area. Mihelic said, "SOEA would like to thank the OPSU Student Senate and members of the community who continue to support us in our outreach efforts."