Keota sophomore GEAR UP students tour East Central University


WILBURTON, OK (April 22, 2016) – Nine GEAR UP sophomores from Keota High School recently toured the campus of East Central University in Ada. ECU Tour Guide Lacy Lofton greeted the group and provided an educational tour of the ECU campus. The tour began in the Bill S. Cole University Center, also known as the wellness center. College students eat, play pool, workout, hangout, blow off steam, swim in the pool, play basketball or walk on the indoor track in the Center. Keota students loved the fact there were students playing pool and Pokémon War in the lobby when we arrived. Lacy explained there are clubs on campus for any type of hobby including these wars.

The campus bookstore and post office are located across from the wellness center. Students learned that books may be purchased new or used, rented, or they can get ebooks for almost all classes.

GEAR UP students ate lunch in the Tafe Cafeteria where ECU students can participate in a flex plan for meals. Tour guides explained that this is cheaper than making own meals because the cafeteria serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Students may get as much as they want to eat. Tour guides revealed the most important thing—most of the events on campus are free—as long as you have your student ID.

The Science Hall was the next stop. Keota students learned ECU graduates have a high acceptance rate into medical schools. Students saw a mannequin that simulates giving birth to a baby. The nursing program is working to increase the number of scholarships awarded for its program to help more students get into and through nursing–related majors. Science Hall also contained math labs with free tutoring. Lofton took the students into the Jim Gray Center where they were able to see the showcase of awards for criminal justice and business majors. Students were able to see the beautiful campus as they stood on the balcony of the third floor.

Students then visited the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center which includes the theater, band and choir programs. The students toured the William C. Thrash Television Studio and had the opportunity to see the digital equipment the students use to record shows. Danley Hall houses the main computer lab and help desk. If students need help with anything regarding their Blackboard or signing in, staff is available to help.

Director of Admissions B. J. Echard spoke with the students after the tour and encouraged the students to take the ACT as many times as possible to raise their scores to qualify for more scholarships. He also discussed different scholarships for which students could apply and how they should put forth the effort, watch their GPA and making good grades.

“As an important part of the GEAR UP grant, the students get the opportunity to see a college campus and get outside of their box,” explained GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self. “By taking the students to tour ECU, we give the students the ability to see anything is possible and encourage them to pursue higher education.”

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature.

Keota GEAR UP students listen as East Central University Tour Guide Lacy Lofton explains that each of their goals and dreams can come true with hard work and dedication. Pictured clockwise are Zachary McClary, Brendan Adams, Raney Perry, Ettie Williams, Daryan Heffner, Noah Turner, Jerry Hurt III, Joseph Whaley and ECU Tour Guide Lacy Lofton.

Keota GEAR UP sophomores stopping at the ECU Tiger Fountain are Brendan Adams, Jerry Hurt III, Noah Turner, Zachary McClary, Joseph Whaley, Ettie Williams, Audrey DeShazo, Daryan Heffner and Raney Perry.

Keota GEAR UP students look at the Business Awards Showcase in the Jim Gray Center. Pictured are ECU Tour Guide Lacy Lofton, Ettie Williams, Zachary McClary, Joseph Whaley, Jerry Hurt III, Brendan Adams, Daryan Heffner and Raney Perry.

ECU Tour Guide Lacy Lofton explains the recording process in the William C. Thrash Television Studio to Daryan Heffner, Ettie Williams and Audrey DeShazo.

Keota GEAR UP sophomores Brendan Adams, Joseph Whaley, Ettie Williams, Daryan Heffner and Audrey DeShazo enjoy the nice weather outside the ECU library as Tour Guide Lacy Lofton concludes the campus tour.

Keota GEAR UP students Audrey DeShazo and Jerry Hurt III appear to be in a deep thought process as they tour the campus of East Central University.

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