McAlester 7th grade boys tour Bacone College and the Five Civilized Tribes Museum


WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 26, 2018) – Students from Puterbaugh Middle School recently toured Bacone College and the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee. First stop was Bacone College where Vice President of Student Affairs Kaila Harjo shared the history of the academic institution.

Harjo said Bacone College was initially a private school founded 138 years ago and was the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma. Bacone is related to the American Baptist Association but participation in religious services was not mandatory.

She stated Bacone offers all athletic programs except football and wrestling to the 300 students currently attending. Students are offered programs such as Fort Nite and Smash Brothers Tournaments which leads to increased social interactions.

Bacone students Roshaun White and Kendall Scott assisted with tours of the campus stating activities including bowling nights, movie nights, and trips to Tulsa are offered to students.

They explained that Bacone College offers the TRIO program which assists students with graduation, acceptance into other programs, as well as maintaining eligibility.

Librarian David McMillin enlightened students in regards to becoming a historian saying to write papers, you write one page at a time and do not forget to write an outline. He also encouraged students to develop credibility by building a foundation of knowledge through research of books, computers, and knowledgeable individuals.

Students were provided lunch in the Palmer Center Gym by Sodexo, Inc. before traveling to The Five Civilized Tribes Museum.

Museum Director Sean Barney provided students with information regarding tribal history, walked students through the museum, and allowed students to view artwork created by master artists specifically for the Master Artists Show. Students evaluated art, choosing favorite pieces. They discussed why they felt the pieces they selected were their favorites. Many students felt Enoch Kelly Haney’s “Still Here-Growing Stronger” should be displayed at Puterbaugh Middle School.

GEAR UP Educational Coordinator Stephanie Dow stated, “Today was a wonderful day for McAlester students. We are grateful to both Bacone College and The Five Civilized Tribes Museum for not only providing students with Native American history, but helping the students have fun while learning.”

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. In 2017, Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.

McAlester students and staff pause for a photo opportunity after their tour of the Bacone College campus. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Bacone student Kendall Scott, McAlester Para Professional Meaghan Green, McAlester Teacher Ronda Collins, (row 2) Brayden Hall, Charles Lott, Zachary Rogers, Christian Santamaria, Ayden Shumway, Jayden Shumway, Chase Slone, (row 3) Jasyn Stewart, Kaden Stubbs, Gavin Sutmiller, Domanick Swing, Tegan Tatman, Jeremiah Thomason, Jaston Todd, (row 4) Carter Vaughan, Johnny Villegas, Evan Warnock, Ethan Watkins, Gavin Watkins, Ra’Shon Watts, Waylon Wittliff, (back row) McAlester Teacher A. J. Mason, Xavier Wright, Lucas Zietz, Chase Williams, Hayden Weiher, Treyce Morgan and Miles Siever.

McAlester GEAR UP students Jayden Shumway, Ayden Shumway, Gavin Sutmiller, Zachary Rogers, and Ra’Shon Watts observe art work as Director Sean Barney explains the cultural significance of the piece.

Puterbaugh GEAR UP students Chase Williams, Gavin Sutmiller, and Tegan Tatman can’t decide if they want to stop eating long enough to smile for a photograph.

McAlester 7th grade GEAR UP students Zachary Rogers and Evan Warnock enjoy lunch in the Palmer Center Gym.

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