Porum seventh graders tour Rogers State University and Will Rogers Memorial Museum


WILBURTON, OK (May 13, 2019) – Thirty-eight Porum GEAR UP students recently visited RSU (Rogers State University) and the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore.

Students began the morning at Rogers State University. Campus Visits & Events Coordinator Addison Murray welcomed students to RSU. University Recruiters Jake Swincegood and Rachel Smith gave students a quick overview of RSU admissions, financial aid availability, student organizations and program options. Students were given souvenir bags with RSU info and goodies. After the presentation, students divided into two groups to tour campus.

The tour started in Herrington Hall where students learned about the eSports Program at RSU. Students had plenty of questions. eSports are relatively new to the sports community. Though not sanctioned as a collegiate sport yet, eSports are gaining popularity and recognition. This was especially interesting for students who have never considered video games a legitimate part of college. RSU is the first university in Oklahoma to have an eSports facility. Next, students ventured to the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center. This beautiful, newly-built center houses the campus bookstore, Office of Student Affairs, Career Services, as well as coffee and dining options. Murray assured students class sizes are small enough the professor will know each student. Class sizes are approximately 19:1.

Lastly, students strolled through the University Village Clubhouse and Building C where the college freshmen live. The Clubhouse is a hub for the three dorm buildings. RSU students share a movie theater room, computers, printers, a full-size kitchen and laundry facilities. The newer dorms on campus feel more like apartments and are designed to provide students with more privacy. RSU dorm rooms are very large; each room has two beds, two desks, two closets, a microwave, mini fridge, sink area, cable, and WiFi. After the tour, students ate lunch on campus with college students.

After lunch, students traveled across the street to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Historical Guide & Interpreter Andy Hogan welcomed the group with an animated overview of Will Rogers’ life. Rogers was the youngest of eight born in Oolagah, Oklahoma. After high school, he joined the Mulhall Wild West Show as the “Cherokee Kid” traveling around the world showcasing his lasso skills. He was so good at lassoing he could even lasso a mouse!

Upon returning to Oklahoma, he met and courted his future wife, Betty Blake, for eight years. After they married, they moved to New York where Rogers broke into vaudeville and then Broadway. His folksy wit and common sense attitude made him one of the most famous actors and authors in the world in the 1920s and '30s. In 1905, Rogers began performing a lasso act on the vaudeville circuit. His charm and humor, along with his technical ability, made Rogers a star. Audiences responded with enthusiasm to his off-the-cuff remarks delivered while performing elaborate roping tricks.

After ten years in New York, and four children, the family moved to California. Hollywood discovered Rogers in 1918, as Samuel Goldwyn gave him the title role in “Laughing Bill Hyde.” Here he started his career in movies, newspaper, and radio. Will Rogers was featured in 50 silent and 21 talking films. He often joked about politics and politicians. His works were far reaching, and he became very well known for his talent.

Rogers was an aviation enthusiast and often flew with his friend Wily Post. In 1935, he asked Post to fly him through Alaska in search of new material for his newspaper column. Unfortunately, that flight would be his last as the plane crashed in Point Barrow, Alaska. Both men died instantly. Though he was originally buried in California, he was later brought to Claremore, Oklahoma. His widow donated land the family owned in Claremore and Oolagah, where the Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch are now located. After the presentation, students explored the museum further including the Will Rogers Time Tunnel with various interactive activities for students.

“Will Rogers was a very interesting and successful man,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo. “I’m glad students are learning more about how this man from Oklahoma became a global star.”

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 serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.

Porum 7th grades pause at the Auditorium to take a group photo. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Gabe Tallon, (row 2) Hydee Mills, Cameren Terrell, Ciarah Barbee, Graci Pennington, Leah Smith, Darrell Thomas, Chase Meckle, Zadie Clifton, Caden Robinson, Jeremy Johnson, Jacob McCarter, Courtney Pease, JR Robison, (row 3) Angie Leon, Elizabeth Mooney, Reyna Landeta, Wayne Duke, Raya Kennedy, Katie Clifton, Blake Jones, Luke White, Jesse Duke, Edie Brown, (row 3) Kaylee Martin, Michael Wright, Dallas Lane, Jourdian Herndon, Colby Frost, Jeremiah Brady, Kalhyb Flynn, Randal Gwinn, Cameren Terrell, Kolby Pevehouse, (back row) Braydan Robinson, Colton Mathis, Rylind Tillery, and Mercedez Moore.

Porum 7th grade boys gather for a photo inside the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Gabe Tallon, Chase Meckle, Caden Robinson, Kalhyb Flynn, Jeremiah Brady, Jeremy Johnson, Randal Gwinn, Jesse Duke, Luke White, Jacob McCarter, Darrell Thomas, (back row) Will Rogers cut out, Blake Jones, Dallas Lane, JR Robison, Colby Frost, Historical Guide and Interpreter Andy Hogan, Jourdian Herndon, Colton Mathis, Michael Wright, Braydan Robinson, Rylind Tillery, Jesse Duke, and another Will Rogers cut out.

Porum students learn about eSports at Rogers State University. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Randal Gwinn, Kalhyb Flynn, Rylind Tillery, Jeremy Johnson, (back row) Braydan Robinson, Caden Robinson, Jacob McCarter, Luke White, and Blake Jones.

Students browse through the bags they received at RSU. Pictured are (left to right) Braydan Robinson, Colton Mathis, Caden Robinson, Jesse Duke, Edie Brown, Courtney Pease, and Mercedez Moore.

Students play in the time travel tunnel. Pictured are (left to right) JR Robison, Kalhyb Flynn, Raya Kennedy, and Hydee Mills.

Students listen at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum as Andy Hogan, Historical Guide & Interpreter, tells the story of Will Rogers’ life. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Mercedez Moore, Colton Mathis, Rylind Tillery, Wayne Duke, Randal Gwinn, Jeremy Johnson, Caden Robinson, Gabe Tallon, (row 2) Michael Wright, Jacob McCarter, Braydan Robinson, Leah Smith, Ciarah Barbee, JR Robison, Chase Meckle, (row 3) Colby Frost, Cameren Terrell, Graci Pennington, Reyna Landeta, Edie Brown, Kaylee Martin, (row 4) Blake Jones, Kolby Pevehouse, Kylie Smith, and (back row) Jourdian Herndon.

Porum 7th grade girls gather for a photo inside the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Zadie Clifton, Kolby Pevehouse, Graci Pennington, Edie Brown, Courtney Pease, Ciarah Barbee, Cameren Terrell, Raya Kennedy, Katie Clifton, (back row) Will Rogers cutout, Hydee Mills, Angie Leon, Elizabeth Mooney, Historical Guide and Interpreter Andy Hogan, Kylie Smith, Leah Smith, Reyna Landeta, Kaylee Martin, Mercedez Moore, and another Will Rogers cutout.

Students gather for a whole group photo in front of Markhum Hall where the Admission office is located. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Zadie Clifton, Katie Clifton, Edie Brown, Ciarah Barbee, (row 2) Raya Kennedy, Reyna Landeta, Angie Leon, Kaylee Martin, Hydee Mills, Elizabeth Mooney, Mercedez Moore, Courtney Pease, (row 3) Graci Pennington, Kolby Pevehouse, Kylie Smith, Leah Smith, Cameren Terrell, Jeremiah Brady, Jesse Duke, Wayne Duke, (row 4) Kalhyb Flynn, Colby Frost, Randal Gwinn, Jourdian Herndon, Jeremy Johnson, Blake Jones, Dallas Lane, Colton Mathis, (back row) Jacob McCarter, Chase Meckle, Braydan Robinson, Caden Robinson, JR Robison, Darrell Thomas, Rylind Tillery, Luke White, and Michael Wright.

Students who consider themselves avid gamers gather for a photo in the eSports Lab at RSU. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Chase Meckle, Angie Leon, Darrell Thomas, Colby Frost, (back row) Michael Wright, Dallas Lane, Elizabeth Mooney, Raya Kennedy, and Gabe Tallon.

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