McAlester High School GEAR UP students visit UCO and the Oklahoma State Capitol


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 25, 2015) - Fifty–eight GEAR UP sophomores and juniors from McAlester High School recently embarked on a challenging tour of the University of Central Oklahoma campus in Edmond. The students engaged in a scavenger hunt, rushing from building to building, in an attempt to be the first to complete their list. The “list” was comprised of the answers to questions involving the UCO campus and buildings. The answers could only be found at the specific locations designated in the packet provided to each team of students. By following the clues from building to building, with an occasional landmark thrown in, the students crisscrossed the campus while surveying such sites as Howell Hall, University Suites, Wantland Stadium, and the Broncho Lake Tower. UCO is the third largest university in the state of Oklahoma.

After lunch, the students were whisked off to tour the State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City. The tour wove them through the historic chambers and halls of the home of our state government. While at the capitol the students had the opportunity visit the Senate Chambers where State Senator Boggs gave them an inside look on how their government is supposed to function in order to meet the needs of the people. The message was stressed to the students that the government of our state and nation functions as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If it fails to do so it is because the people fail to uphold their responsibilities to themselves and their neighbors.

“The mission of GEAR UP is to impress upon the students the importance of continuing their education beyond high school as well as enable them to obtain a post-secondary education,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Ron Sullivan. “Students received a lot of information today that will help them navigate their college and career path.”

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 or educational in nature.

McAlester GEAR UP students standing in front of Allan Houser's monumental tribute to Native Americans, As Long as the Waters Flow, at the South Entrance of the State Capitol Building prior to the tour are Matthew Lalli, Justin Madden, Hanna Webb, Joshua Swartzlander, Gavin Randazzo; and Zoee Lovett.

Oklahoma Senator Larry Boggs addresses McAlester GEAR UP sophomores and juniors during a recent tour of the State Capitol. Senator Boggs stressed the complexities of government and the necessity of citizen involvement in the election process.

McAlester GEAR UP students Miguel Medrano, Cameron Vigil, Brooklyn Anderson, Marley Groves, and Matt Lalli closely examine their list as they contemplate their next move during the UCO scavenger hunt.

McAlester students barely escape the path of an unidentified college student as she rushes for class and they scurry to their next clue during the scavenger hunt activity at UCO. Pictured are Joshua Swartzlander, Zoee Lovett, Justin Madden, and Gavin Randazzo.

McAlester students Eric Clubb, Stephen Cain, Stephen Fontenot, Austin Craven, Thomas Barton, Ben Redman and Matt Herrea look for their next club after visiting the Broncho Statue in front of the Hamilton Field House. As the day progressed, the team definitely learned the meaning of resilience.

McAlester sophomore and junior GEAR UP students learn the significance of the Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma.

Stephen Crain, Matt Herria, Alfreado Mercado and Stephen Fontenot try to convince Shaun Dickey that they really are in a library because they have all seen pictures of libraries.

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