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June 2, 2003 :: Three Outstanding High School Graduates Recognized as Chancellor’s Scholars

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High academic achievement and the demonstration of outstanding civic involvement have earned three high school graduates designation as Chancellor’s Scholars for 2003 by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The graduates were selected from nominations made by high school principals statewide to receive the prestigious $1,000 scholarship.

“The success of a community relies on its citizens, and these students have demonstrated their desire to help improve their hometowns and the surrounding communities by providing valuable services, such as historical preservation, disaster relief and mentoring,” said Chancellor Paul G. Risser. “Oklahoma’s future will be shaped by young people such as these three students, who identify the needs of our state and communities and strive to fulfill them through action and education.”

The 2003 Chancellor’s Scholars are Ruth Bobbitt, Deer Creek-Lamont High School; Kyle Eastwood, Mountain View-Gotebo High School; and Rebecca Pace, Edmond Santa Fe High School.

Bobbitt, who plans to major in agricultural communications at Oklahoma State University, was recently honored with FFA’s 2003 State Farmer of Oklahoma Award. In addition to working with senior citizens to provide meals, organize activities and refurbish their activity center, she has also volunteered several hundred hours on various projects for her community, including adopting the Mt. Vernon Cemetery, where she purchased a cemetery highway sign and materials to make a plot directory.

This marks the second time in three years that someone from the Bobbitt household was named a Chancellor’s Scholar. Ruth’s older sister, Rachel, earned the award in 2001.

Eastwood, a United States Senate Youth Scholar and Oklahoma Academic Scholar, organized a 15-school tornado relief effort for the victims of a tornado that hit several communities in southwestern Oklahoma in October 2001. He contacted participating schools and coordinated the collection of food, clothing, books, supplies and toys.

Eastwood, who graduated valedictorian, will attend the University of Oklahoma.

Pace, a member of the National and Oklahoma honor societies, established “Reading is Terrific Anywhere!” (RITA), a program designed to serve students at inner-city elementary schools in communities with a history of low literacy rates and high poverty. Through school-wide programs, RITA has distributed approximately 3,100 recreational reading books, bookplates and bookmarks to more than 1,700 children.

Pace, who plans to major in entomology at OSU, recruits positive teen role models to venture into neighborhoods to conduct school assemblies and to provide weekly tutoring and mentoring for a summer book club.

“It is an honor to recognize these students who are committed to academic success as well as to helping their communities,” said State Regents Chairman Carl Renfro. “We congratulate them and wish them success in the future.”

The Chancellor's Scholars program, now in its 13th year, was established by the State Regents to honor the office of chancellor and Hans Brisch, who retired in January after serving 15 years as chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. The first Chancellor's Scholars were recognized in 1992, and since then, 47 students have received the award. The scholarship program was established through private funding.