McAlester High School GEAR UP students tour the University of Central Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Capitol


WILBURTON, OK (April 22, 2016) – Sixteen GEAR UP students from McAlester High School recently traveled to Edmond to tour the University of Central Oklahoma. UCO Service Representative with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Gina Hickey welcomed the students on campus and discussed admissions requirements as well as Academic and Leadership Scholarship information. Hickey noted that when students apply to the University, the application includes questions which could qualify students for these scholarships.

Students were divided into groups to complete a scavenger hunt around the state’s third largest campus. GEAR UP Education Coordinators Rachael Ranallo and Ron Sullivan helped students navigate through the large campus. Students were taken through the African Art and Artifacts of West Africa Exhibit in the library, as well as to the Pendulum in Howell Hall, where science classes are held. Students also went to the Wellness Center and Wantland Stadium, home of the Broncho football and soccer teams, and to Broncho Lake. Students traveled to 11 different locations that define UCO’s campus. Students enjoyed seeing the hustle and bustle of campus life. There were many UCO students on campus to attend class and visit student organization tables set up on the main floor of the Nigh University Center.

“The students really enjoyed the tour,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo. “Students learned about the various services offered at UCO and many college campuses throughout the state. UCO offers the only Forensic Science program in the state, as well as the region.”

Students boarded the bus and traveled to the State Capitol Building, located on more than 100 acres in NE Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma State Capitol is the only capitol in the world surrounded by working oil wells. One is even named Petunia #1 because it was drilled in the middle of a flower bed. The architecture is Greco–Roman and the structure comprises 650 rooms and 11 acres of floor space with murals, restored stained glass, tribal flag plaza and changing art exhibits.

The students were given an inside look at the Capitol and learned about its magnificent history from Tour Guide Bill Parks. Parks took the students through the Senate and House of Representative Chambers where important legislation is presented, discussed and voted on to add to Oklahoma’s legislative history. Parks gave the students an inside seat to the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.

Students were in awe of the art and detailed architecture that make up the Oklahoma State Capitol building. Parks explained how the construction was done in multiple stages and why. Materials and labor were scarce at various times throughout history, specifically during war.

Students saw important figures in Oklahoma history including George Nigh, Carl Albert, Sequoyah, Jim Thorpe, T. Boone Pickens, Will Rogers, Edward P. McCabe, as well as an individual bronze bust of each Oklahoma Governor.

McAlester GEAR UP students Kaitlyn King, Destiny McElvany and Anahi Alvarez wait for their group to finish in the campus bookstore before moving on to the next scavenger hunt clue.

McAlester students posing in front of the Broncho Rock are Anahi Alvarez, Ashley Todd, Destiny McElvany, Nancy Stahmer, Kaitlyn King, Guadalupe Molina, René Collins and Arturo Aguirre.

McAlester High School soccer players, Guadalpe Molina, Ashley Todd and Anahi Alvarez pose in front of the Broncho Soccer banner.

A group of students stop in front of Broncho Lake to learn where the next scavenger hunt clue leads them on campus. Pictured are Emma Alexander, Haley Watson, John Engelson, Eugene Stover, Keeley Pillow, Bobby Barnhill, Destiny Rodebush and Steven Mitchell.

McAlester High School students participate in UCO student activities. Emma Alexander, Haley Watson, John Engelson and Destiny Rodebush play a game at one of the student organization tables.

McAlester GEAR UP students stop for a quick photo before touring the Oklahoma State Capitol Building. Pictured are: Front Row: Haley Watson, Anahi Alvarez and Destiny Rodebush. Back Row: Nancy Stahmer, Destiny McElvany, Kaitlyn King, Emma Alexander, Guadalupe Molina, Ashley Todd, Eugene Stover, Bobby Barnhill, Steven Mitchell, John Engelsen, Arturo Aguirre, René Collins and Keeley Pillow.

Oklahoma State Capitol Tour Guide Bill Parks discusses the art work displayed in the building. Pictured are: Front row: Guadalupe Molina, Ashley Todd and René Collins. Row 2: Eugene Stover, Bobby Barnhill, Keeley Pillow, Nancy Stahmer and GEAR UP Education Coordinator Ron Sullivan. Row 3: Arturo Aguirre, John Engelson and Anahi Alvarez.

McAlester students explore the Oklahoma Senate Floor and the desks where Senators vote on legislation. Picture are: René Collins, Ashley Todd, Haley Watson, Anahi Alvarez, Bobby Barnhill and Emma Alexander.

McAlester students get an inside look at the Oklahoma Senate floor. Pictured are Capitol Tour Guide Bill Parks, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo, Ashley Todd, Haley Watson, Guadalupe Molina, René Collins, Anahi Alevarez, Kaitlyn King, Keeley Pillow and Bobby Barnhill.

McAlester GEAR UP students sit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court while Tour Guide Bill Parks explains the appointed process of the Oklahoma Justices. Pictured are: Front Row: Nancy Stahmer, Emma Alexander, Guadalupe Molina and Ashley Todd Row 2: Steven Mitchell, Destiny Rodebush, Haley Watson, Destiny McElvany, Anahi Alvarez, Bobby Barnhill, Keeley Pillow and Eugene Stover. Row 3: OK Capitol tour guest and Kaitlyn King Back Row: John Engelson, Arturo Aguirre and René Collins

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