Spiro GEAR UP Senior students tour OU and visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial


WILBURTON, OK (Dec. 13, 2016) – Spiro GEAR UP seniors recently toured the University of Oklahoma. Graduate Assistant with the Office of Admissions and Recruitment Hunter Guarnera met students in Jacobson Hall Visitor Center before the tour began. The students watched a short video about OU and what the University of Oklahoma stands on. A few of the important topics that Guarnera pointed out on the slideshow was that OU stands for “We are SOONERS, WE are INNOVATORS, WE are FAMILY, and WE are GLOBAL CITIZENS.”

David Ross Boyd founded the land we call “Sooner Nation” in 1890 which was just trees and dirt. The University of Oklahoma offers 20,000+ undergraduate programs. There are 575 faculty members with an 18:1 student to teacher ratio with honors classes having approximately 32 students in each class.

OU prepares students to be global citizens. Nearly one out of every four students study abroad in our more than 1,000 programs across the world. OU students who study abroad pay OU tuition and fees and continue to receive scholarships and financial aid.

The university not only has classes here in Oklahoma but has a global campus with students studying abroad from International Study Centers in Arezzo, Italy; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Puebla, Mexico. Each campus has professors from the United States to make the learning process a little easier for students participating in the abroad program and the student also pays the University of Oklahoma’s tuition fees while in this program.

Guarnera informed the students of various campus organizations and academic programs. There are 400+ student lead organizations on campus. OU has 32 national titles with the last three in women’s softball, men’s and women’s gymnastics. All activities are free on campus with a student ID except for the men’s basketball and the football games.

“I wish we could see them practice football, see the field or see Stoups from a distance” said Drew Dixon.

The students were led through campus by OU sophomore Business Major Nick McGee. McGee shared the history of the campus buildings, the myths of the campus and some events that take place on campus. Students passed by the Old Wallace Science Hall, the Chemistry Building, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and Gaylord Hall—home of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications—where students saw products that OU students prepared and were on display.

The students then were led through the Oklahoma Memorial Union where there are places to eat and lounge inside. Students also had the opportunity to walk through the William Bizzell Library where they learned The Great Reading Room is used to study in complete silence.

The group traveled to Oklahoma City to tour the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. On April 19, 1995 at 9:02 am, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed leaving 168 people dead (including 19 children under the age of six, who were in the building’s daycare center). There were more than 650 injured, and 300 buildings which were damaged or destroyed in the immediate area. There was also a daycare housed in this building for the working parents.

“I couldn’t help but cry and think of all the families that were affected by this tragic event,” said Eden Jeffery.

The students walked throughout the Museum and learned about Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, the men, women and children that lost their lives, the survivors, the families that lost a loved one and even the stories of the community that was impacted by this act of terrorism.

“I just have a hard time reading about the children and families going through this” said Sarah O’Hara. “It breaks my heart.”

“The University of Oklahoma was very welcoming and allowed the students to tour the campus plus gave them the history of OU,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self. “The bombing in Oklahoma City was an event in history that made an impact not only on Oklahoma but the United States. I am glad my students had the opportunity to see the Museum and gain the knowledge of that day here in Oklahoma!”

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.

Spiro seniors wait for tour of the University of Oklahoma.

Spiro seniors Madison Pendergrass, Madelyn Sebo, Aunika Anderson, Marino Serizawa, Kandra Clardy and Andre Ferreira listen closely as OU Graduate Assistant with the Office of Admissions and Recruitment explains OU’s admissions policy.

Spiro GEAR UP seniors tour the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Picture are: Front Row: Aunika Anderson, Madelyn Sebo, Madison Pendergrass, Eden Jeffery, Sarah O’Hara, Gerald Wyninger III, Tyler Goldsborough, Dustin Carter, Landon Moore, Jami West, Kandra Clardy, Samantha Gillion, Marino Serizawa, Richard LeFlore and Corellan Ash. Back Row: Keegan Caldwell, Andre Ferreira, Jacob Eaton, Josh Cole, Tristin Ayala, Brent Stout, Drew Dixon, Adam Harrison, Aaliyah Lyons, Tiara Whitfield, Jimmie Pool and Alessio Rossetti.

Spiro students explore the interactive table at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Pictured are: Adam Harrison, Tristin Ayala, Landon Moore, Jami West, Richard LeFlore, Samantha Gillion.

Aunika Anderson and Madelyn Sebo look at the display of rubble from the Murrah Building after the bombing during the tour of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

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