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NOVEMBER 2017 PHOTOS & REFLECTIONS FROM CLASS 31
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Jodi Cline
2017-2018 Adult Program Chair
Class XXVI and Lifetime Membe
r

Class 31's session on Education & Healthcare was held in Norman on October 19-21.  Click here to see some photos from the event, and read reflections on the session from several class members below.





Marcus High
Coordinator, Community Health and Access
Mercy Hospital, Ardmore

Being a part of the Leadership Oklahoma family has truly opened my eyes. Following our latest session, covering the state of education and healthcare in our great state of Oklahoma, I was left speechless. I never know what to expect when I leave my house and excitedly travel to our next class session, but I do know it will open my eyes to some amazing topics, places and people in Oklahoma. Anybody who knows me, is aware I am “all about” my Southeastern Football and my Oklahoma State University football programs. When given the opportunity to tour portions of the University of Oklahoma’s facilities in one of the optional sessions, I was amazed. It was incredible to see how much time and effort dedicated to their young athletes. I am employed in the healthcare industry and I was very anxious to see what we would be covering the second day morning of LOK. The problems we are facing in our state’s healthcare are massive, but the people we have in our state are able and willing to the challenge. We will withstand any problem encountered. I believe I can speak for Class 31 and say we were educated about our healthcare system and ways we can help our state move forward. It is great to be able to have open and honest conversations about insurance, medicines, physicians and, especially, rural health. I enjoyed the current health risk session. I look forward to trying my hand at problem solving ways to address needs for our community. Leadership Oklahoma has been one of the best decisions I have made as a native Oklahoman. I return every month with new stories to tell my family, friends, and co-workers. I know I will do my part each and every day to keep moving the state of Oklahoma in the right direction.


Hazel Lonewolf
Chief Quality Officer
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

The second LOK Class 31 session started for many of us on a Thursday, when we were granted insider access to the OMRF, along with an overview of Oklahoma’s only Level 1 Trauma center at OUHSC. We spoke with Dr. Varshney about his research on hearing loss in zebrafish and the potential applications in humans, along with a tour of the million-dollar labs at OMRF. Once we were duly impressed by the splendor of the OUHSC campus, we headed south to Norman to tour the Fred Jones Art Museum, the National Weather Center, Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, and an OU stadium tour. Even though I may have gotten ‘turned around’ on my way to the National Weather Center, I was still able to see the shining beacon for all meteorologists at the National Weather Center, along with all the radars predicting the next bout of severe weather. Next up, was a behind the scenes tour of the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. We viewed the different museum collections and saw a variety of fossils, American Indian moccasins and even a samurai’s outfit. To round out the whirlwind day, we ended at the University of Oklahoma football stadium, where we were the first group to tour the newly renovated stadium. Besides taking a selfie in front of Baker Mayfield’s locker, walking onto the field with ‘Welcome Leadership Oklahoma’ on the jumbotron ended one of the most memorable days in my life. Thank you Leadership Oklahoma!


Caryl Parsons
Owner
Boomtown Hospitality, Inc. (Big Dan's), Woodward

The second installment LOK #31’s journey found us in BEAUTFUL Norman Oklahoma, October 20th and 21st. We had the opportunity to get an up close and personal “behind the scenes” look at some iconic facilities that Norman and the University of Oklahoma have to offer. We started at the National Weather Center, followed by the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, then on to the Noble Natural History Museum, and we capped off an incredible afternoon at legendary Owen Field touring the 132,000 square foot SOONER football complex. What a treat! The focus in Norman included Healthcare and Education. The plight of education is truly something that one could consider a paramount stumbling block for our state. We were asked to ponder critical issues in education, as well as, how the state budget crisis impacts students and their educators from an economic stand point. One thing is most certain, each one of us gained a clearer and concise understanding of all levels of education in Oklahoma. Starting with early childhood education…a true bright spot in the landscape, as we learned that Oklahoma leads the nation in this category. K-12, Career Tech and High Ed were also of great focus as we investigated and learned that there is important cohesiveness as they all depend on one another for successful outcomes for their respective students. Spending a day at Moore-Norman Technology Center, we were able to discuss the needs of industry in Oklahoma in educating students to be “career ready”. A good deal of time was spent discussing legislative matters and how the budget shortfalls are placing our schools on a “slippery slope”. A daunting task at best, there are no easy solutions. Oklahoma enjoys so many incredible natural resources; all are important, however, arguably, the most precious natural resource we are blessed with are our youth. Class #31 was met with white glove, VIP treatment time and time again! Our Norman hosts truly rolled out the red carpet for us and found us wishing for more time spent growing and learning! Thank You Norman!

Melonie Hau
Superintendent
Duncan Public Schools

There is no better way to begin a policy discussion about education than to hear from students. LOK Class 31 traveled to Norman on October 20 to engage in timely and critical conversations on education and healthcare. The Norman delegation clearly understood our experience would be most impactful if we heard from the students and adults affected by these core services. A session standout included a panel with students discussing Oklahoma’s education budget cuts. The clear message from them was do not give up on fighting for more investment in Oklahoma education. They have not given up. They were passionate and driven to overcome political obstacles. One student, Manny, ate lunch with our group. He told us about the importance of his elementary school teachers. He expressed what made him the saddest is those teachers who worked so hard to show how valuable he is have left his old school. Now his younger brothers, who are in the same school he attended as a boy, will not have experiences with the teachers he loved because they have left to teach in another state or have left the profession all together. Saturday’s sessions focused on health care, which opened our eyes to solutions for healthy living in Blue Zones (https://www.bluezonesproject.com/). We were able to see the symbiotic relationship between better education and increased health outcomes, including how a focus on diversity makes our lives more productive and happier. As a public school superintendent, I was heartened by the sense of urgency shown from my fellow classmates to do more to fund core services in Oklahoma. I will take away the knowledge that in spite of our class diversity, we are able to discuss tough issues civilly and reach solutions with kindness.


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