Pioneer News Highlights: March 11, 2015

Kerr Family Resize

The family of the late Robert M. Kerr gathered to view the bronze plaque commemorating the Oklahoma Senator’s posthumous induction into the WOSC Alumni Hall of Fame, Friday, March 6. From the left are Kerr’s son, Rodger Kerr; his daughter Robin Storey; Kerr’s wife, Robbie Kerr and son, Robert Keith Kerr. Senator Kerr’s grandchildren, Kaleb and Kennedy Kerr; Braxton and Kerrstin Wenk and Keitha Kerr and daughter-in-law Tamera Kerr and Robin’s husband David Storey also attended the induction honoring Kerr. Continue reading

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Sechrist Ropes His Way to Garden City Community College Title


The WOSC Rodeo Team spent a chilly weekend in Garden City, Kansas last weekend, but the cold didn’t stop the rodeo athletes from performing at their best!

Bryson Sechrist, the sophomore from Apache, brought home an event title with two solid runs in the tie down roping.  A talented roper, Sechrist won 2nd in the first round and 2nd in the short round.  His combined time of 19.2 on two calves won the average and the title.  Tanner Stec returned to the short round this weekend in the tie down roping, as well.  Though he squeezed into the short round in tenth place, he made the fastest run of the weekend with a quick 8.6 second run in the short round.  This fast time won the short round and boosted the Nebraska freshman to 4th in the average.

Iowa sophomore, Jacob Edler also returned to the short round this weekend in the steer wrestling.  He made two solid runs and placed fifth in the short-go round and fifth in the average.

Hunter Munsell and his partner Dustin Searcy of NWOKSU had another great first round, as they did at the season opener the weekend prior.  They won second place in the first round with a speedy time of 5.5 seconds, but failed to stop the clock in the short round.  Canadians, Sloan Smith and Clayton Smith also qualified for the short round again in the team roping, but didn’t place high enough to earn valuable season points.

Eryn Coy, a freshman from Alberta, Canada had a great first round in the barrel racing.  The High River, Alberta Canada and her horse must have felt right at home in the winter weather as they raced to a second place finish.  However, a slower short round run took her out of the average.

In other rodeo news, several WOSC alumni are burning-up the Professional Rodeo trail.  2014 graduate, Laine Herl recently qualified for the prestigious Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo after a stellar performance at the San Angelo Pro Rodeo.  As well, Kyle Irwin, recent WNFR qualifier and 2010 WOSC graduate, was a top-four qualifier at RFD TV’s “The American” held at The Dallas Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX last weekend where he steer wrestled for a chance to win $100,000.  Unfortunately the luck of the draw took him out of contention, but the top four qualification is an honor and athletic achievement in and of itself.

The WOSC Rodeo Team will travel to Ft. Scott, Kansas next weekend for the third of the regular season spring rodeos.

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Pioneer News Highlights, March 4, 2015

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Dan Goodson works for Western Oklahoma State College
on the custodial staff. Goodson recently learned that a
proposal he wrote for the Thunder Cares Foundation secured
a brand new Thunder Court for the
Hoyt Shadid Park at the Altus City Reservoir.

Goodson Brings Thunder Court to Altus

Dan Goodson, Custodial Staff at Western, recently made local news when he got the attention of the Thunder Cares Foundation, the community relations arm of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In February, Goodson was notified that a proposal he submitted nominating Altus for a refurbished basketball court project at the Hoyt Shadid Park located on the northwest side of the city reservoir, was accepted by the Thunder Cares Foundation. The park project is slated to begin in mid-March with a late Spring completion date projected. The new court will sport trademark “Thunder Up” blue along with team, NBA and Thunder Cares logos. New court equipment will also be installed on the site.

Goodson credits Loran Mayes, Western speech faculty, How-to-Palace owner and local “Blue Alliance” group leader for helping him write his project proposal and giving pointers about who to involve in the project. He says, “She is so “Thunder Up” it’s crazy.”

Goodson is an 2005 Altus High graduate and an Air Force veteran. He heard about the Thunder court projectin 2010 after completing his four years of military service. He says, “The Thunder was just getting good then. We would go and play on the Thunder courts in the city…..It makes you feel like you actually play for The Thunder. It motivates you to get up and get active.”

Dan’s concern for his community and love of the game influenced him to apply for the Thunder Cares project. “I moved back to Altus and I heard about how the Thunder donates courts based on a community’s needs. I kinda let it go by, but then there were some shootings in Altus. I wanted to send a positive message and thought it was the perfect time to take the opportunity.”

When asked why he thought Altus needed the Thunder Court Goodson said, “I feel like Altus has a lack of recreational activities. The only sports you get are the city league or school ball. I thought the Thunder Court could be a positive step in the right direction. There are five elementary schools and so many kids, but nothing for them to do. We need something.”

So far, Dan says he has been getting great feedback about the impending Thunder Court, “ “It’s been crazy. I kinda feel like Hollywood red carpet sometimes. Everywhere I go someone is talking about it or someone recognizes me from the Altus Times article or the Facebook post. I coach four teams of 6 to 9 year-olds for the city basketball league. The little kids are excited about it. I’ll have them with me for the ribbon cutting ceremony on the court.”

Dan is also getting attention with his business The Billionaire Flyy Gang “It’s a movement/label/clothing line that is trying to empower a positive message for the word “gang” We do positive events like our annual Thanksgiving turkey give-away, Easter in the park celebration and community barbecues and now the Thunder Court.”

Dan began working at Western this January and the college is proud to call him a part of the Pioneer community. He says, “ I want to be a positive role model and do positive things for my community. I do it all for Altus.”

Western Joins The Jed Clinton Campus Program

Western is one of fifty-six American colleges and universities to the join The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program in support of student well-being and mental health. The program is designed to help schools prevent the two leading causes of death in young adults, – accidents, including those caused by prescription drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning, and suicide.
The Campus Program, which launched in June 2014, is designed to help colleges and universities assess and enhance mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention programming.
Participating schools make a four-year commitment to work with The Campus Program to evaluate and identify opportunities to augment these activities on campus. The Campus Program provides schools with a framework for supporting student mental health, as well as assessment tools, feedback reports and ongoing technical assistance from The Campus Program team.
In February, members of Western’s Mental Health Task Force including: April Dill, John Phelan, Bob Pearson, Jimmy Poe, Jason Miller, Patricia Purdue and Maegan Martin met with Ariel LeGrand and Nancy Roy, Clinical Director for the Jed Foundation to review Western’s campus health survey and discuss ways the college can enhance its student mental health services. Some of the items suggested included the formation of a Care Team and a BIT team whose purposes would be to identify issues related to student mental health. The team would also help identify at-risk students; issue public service announcements about The Campus Program and initiate memorandums of understanding with area health and mental health care providers. Over the next four years, LeGrand and Roy will make periodic visits to Western to assist its mental health task force and make continued recommendations.
We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier campuses, and likely greater student retention.” said John MacPhee, Executive Director of The Jed Foundation.
Western Counselor April Dill said, “The Jed and Clinton Campus Program will help Western to strengthen our mental health and drug and alcohol programming policies to better serve our students. With the assistance of this program we will be able to better identify and serve students in need. Our hope is to identify students in need early and assist them as quickly and effectively as possible.”


Phelan Speaks to League of Innovation

John Phelan, Western Social Science Coordinator and Psychology Faculty, will present a forum at the March 8-11, League for Innovation in the Community College 2015 Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Phelan’s session is entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Academic Service Learning” and it focuses on the history of service learning in academia and how faculty can incorporate service learning in their classroom.

Phelan has spoken to numerous organization about service learning during his 31 year career in higher education to include: The American Psychological Association Convention; the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Conference; the North Central Higher Learning Commission Conference and the Campus Compact Regional Conferences. In 2011, Phelan was named the Community Engagement Professional of the Year by Oklahoma Campus Compact.

Service learning combines community service with classroom instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as personal and civic responsibility. Service learning programs involve students in activities that address local needs while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.Service learning has a positive impact on student learning outcomes, civic engagement, and retention. Beginning in 1994, the American Association of Community Colleges promoted the value of service learning to the 1,200 associate degree-granting institutions in the U.S. According to three AACC national surveys, two-thirds of all community colleges offer service learning in their curricular programs.

The League for Innovation in the Community College (League) is an international, nonprofit association dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. CEOs from the most influential, resourceful, and dynamic community colleges and districts in the world comprise the League’s board of directors and provide strategic direction for its ongoing activities. These community colleges and their leaders are joined by more than 800 institutions that hold membership in the League Alliance.

With this core of powerful and innovative community colleges and more than 160 corporate partners, the League serves community colleges around the world by hosting conferences and institutes, developing print and digital resources, and leading projects and initiatives with member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies.

Pianists Learn from World Class Artist

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Donna Tucker, Ashlynn Van Winkle, and Yohan Yeom played
for Hyunsoon Whang, Cameron University Piano Faculty and
McMahon Endowed Chair in Music, February 26 in a piano
master class. Whang also performed that evening in the
Herschal H. Crow Fine Arts Auditorium

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Western Regent Steve Miller of Hobart, retired from his
position on the Western Board of Regent after 21 years
of service. Student Senate Representative, Emily Howard,
presented Miller with a plaque on behalf of the Student
Senate and thanked him for his dedicated service to the

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Western Tie Down Ropers Dominate Long Round at Kansas State Rodeo


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Team roping partners Hunter Munsell of Western Oklahoma State College (on horseback) and his partner Dustin Searcy of SEOSU (standing center) won the long round with a 5.4 second time and finished fifth in the average at the February 20-22 Kansas State University Rodeo in Manhattan.

Western Tie Down Ropers Dominate Long Round at KSU

By Emily Smith

The Western Rodeo Team traveled to Kansas State University last weekend for the first college rodeo of the spring season.  Quite obviously, the men’s team came back strong from the winter break as Western had five of the top ten tie down ropers; two of the top ten steer wrestlers; and three of the top ten team roping teams in the short round on Saturday.

As mentioned, Western had a great showing in the tie down roping.  Clayton Smith won the first round with a 9.7 second time.  Cole Patterson won 3rd with a 10.7 second time. Tanner Stec won 5th with an 11.3 second time. Jacob Edler placed 6th with an 11.5 second time.  Lastly, Sloan Smith also qualified in 7th place with an 11.9 second time.  As the dust settled in the short-round the Western men picked-up a few more points and placings.  Cole Patterson snagged 6th place in the short-round and Clayton Smith gathered point for 6th place in the average.  Finishing highest for Western was Jacob Edler who tied his short round calf in 9.8 seconds which placed 3rd in the round and boosted him to a 2nd place finish overall.

Edler is more commonly known for his abilities as a steer wrestler, and in fact, is currently ranked 20th in the PRCA standings.  Edler travelled from RFD TV’s million dollar “American” rodeo qualifier in Ft. Worth to be at the KSU rodeo.  Edler qualified for the top-ten short round in the steer wrestling with his time of 3.3 seconds.  Combined with a third place finish in the short round, his total time of 9.6 seconds on two steers won fourth overall.  Tanner Stec also qualified for the short round in the steer wrestling after he threw his first steer in 5.0 seconds and placed 6th in the long round.

Western also had  several teams do well in the team roping.  Sloan Smith and Clayton Smith, who had also done well in the tie down roping, won the short-round in the team roping with a 5.8 second time which boosted them to a second place finish overall.  Western’s, Hunter Munsell and his partner Dustin Searcy of SEOSU won the long round with a 5.4 second time and finished fifth in the average.  Peyton Holliday and Douglas Rich won second in the long-round with a 6.0 second time and finished sixth in the average.

The women had a little tough luck this weekend and only had one member qualify for the short-round.  Jenny Massing won fifth in the long-round of the goat tying with a quick 6.1 second time.  A little tough luck in the short round took away her chances of placing in the average.

Coach Smith is always proud of his past athletes as well, and many Western alumni shined at the KSU rodeo.  Laine Herl, now at NWOSU, won the steer wrestling. Kolton Schmidt, now at SEOSU, won the team roping.  Kelsey Driggers, now at NWOSU, won the long round of the barrel racing.

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Masterclass and Recital Tomorrow at Western



Hyunsoon Whang, Cameron piano faculty and McMahon Endowed Chair in Music will instruct a  2:30 p.m. masterclass and give a 7 p.m. recital at Western Oklahoma State College, Thursday, February 26 in the Herschal H. Crow Fine Arts Auditorium.  Both events are free and open to the public.


Area Musicians Chosen for Western Master Class with Hyunsoon Whang

Three lucky pianists from the Altus area will play for the Thursday, February 26, 2:30 p.m. master class with Cameron University piano faculty and McMahon Endowed Chair in Music, Hyunsoon Wang at Western Oklahoma State College in the Herschal H. Crow Fine Arts Auditorium.  Altus High School students Ashlynn Van Winkle and Yohan Yeom and Rivers Elementary Music Teacher and First United Methodist Choir Director, Donna Tucker will share their talents and receive instruction from Ms. Whang.

Ashlynn Van Winkle says of her piano study, “I started playing piano when I was about six, and I’ve loved it ever since. I moved to England when I was eight and found a new teacher. They do things very differently over there. I studied piano and musical theory with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. With them, I had to pass exams after studying three pieces of music for about nine months. There were 8 grades and I passed the Grade 5 Piano Musical Theory exams last year.”

Donna Tucker shares, “ I began teaching myself the rudiments of piano as a young elementary age student using my older sister’s piano lesson books.  My formal study began at the age of 9.  I studied under various teachers and played for church classes and accompanied myself as a singer.  I also accompanied my junior college choir on occasion.  At the University of Central Oklahoma I studied piano under Dr. Bobbie Ralph. I began teaching beginning students before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music education with an emphasis in voice and piano.  It was also my great privileged to study with the late Juanita Hubbard.  I have taught voice and piano over the last 40 years in addition to my career as a public school music teacher.”

Hyunsoon Whang will also perform a piano recital February 26, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in the Herschal H. Crow Fine Arts Auditorium. Whang will entertain the audience with a program entitled “The Three B’s” which includes the piano compositions of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Both the masterclass and the recital are free and open to the campus and community. The Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council will provide a cookie and punch reception following the recital.


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