Story & Photo by Julie Archer
Halloween is a holiday for kids to dress up, eat candy and have fun; it is common to forget about the dangers that the holiday brings around.
According to the National Safety Council, in 2015 there were 6,700 pedestrian deaths on Halloween. This is a result of children darting out in the street or simply being unaware of street safety.
Here are some safety tips:
Don’t have kids? Not a fan of the holiday? Drivers should be aware that the entire week of Halloween there will be kids out running around. If it is dark, turn out of driveways and alleys slowly and always check mirrors and rear cameras. Drivers with minimal experience should consider staying off the road at night. Also, if Halloween parties are in the works, it is important to have a plan to get home that does not involve drinking and driving. Drinking and driving is dangerous on its own, but it is even more dangerous with the number of pedestrians.
People putting out decorations, stores stocking candy and Halloween shops opening are signs that Halloween is approaching. Being prepared for the holiday can make a difference. Some neighborhoods have trick-or-treating on different nights depending on school schedules, so being aware of the times will keep more people off the road when there are kids wandering the streets.
“Have a plan and know where your kids are trick-or-treating and have an idea of where you are at in case of an emergency,” Micah Horner, Midwest City firefighter, said. “If you’re in a situation where you need to call 911, it is important to know where you’re at so first responders can get there quickly.”
Make Children Aware
If a child is old enough to go trick-or-treating without an adult, ensure they know basic pedestrian safety. Teach them not to walk out in front of cars or to walk by a vehicle that is backing out of its driveway. Involve children in planning a route so everyone is aware of the designated trick-or-treating area. Give children a curfew, as well. Cell phones for communication are also a good idea, but emphasize the importance of not looking at phones while walking in the street. Children should also know not to enter a stranger’s home or vehicle. While carrying a bucket of treats is tempting, guarantee a child’s safety by not allowing them to eat any candy until they get home and parents or guardians have the opportunity to check the candy for any possible tampering.
One of the most exciting parts of Halloween is to be able to dress up as something else. However, check labels to ensure wigs, clothing and accessories are flame-resistant.
One mom offered her own advice.
“If you’re going to be walking for trick-or-treating, wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes – costume style shoes might be cute but blisters are not,” said Misty Engelbrecht, Director of Academic Outreach and Adult Education.
If a child is trick-or-treating, consider using non-toxic face paint instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct vision and make it difficult to walk in the dark. Conduct a spot test on a small area of the face or neck with face paint to ensure there are no allergic reactions. Children in the dark should have reflective tape, glow sticks or a flashlight with them so it is easier for drivers to see them.
These tips are important safety measures. If these precautions are taken, then Halloween can still be a fun holiday for kids and adults to enjoy.
Story & Photo by Madi Zick
As Halloween approaches, people are looking for ways to celebrate the holiday. There are ads on Facebook and events shared by friends. In the Oklahoma City area, there are endless possibilities for families with children of all ages.
Haunt the Zoo & All Grown Up
For families with young children, a popular event to go to is Haunt the Zoo at the Oklahoma City Zoo. At the event, you can see animals, explore the zoo and go trick-or-treating. There will be 25 booths available to visit and costumes are encouraged.
This year, the zoo is also hosting Haunt the Zoo: All Grown Up, for ages 21 and up. The event will include, “games, drinks, dancing, a live DJ, photo opportunities and more,” according to Chase Harvick, OKC Zoo Public Relations Specialist.
Harvick said Haunt the Zoo is becoming eco-friendly by replacing plastic sacks for trick-or-treating used in previous years. All treats are palm oil sustainable, to help reduce rainforest destruction and protect habitats.
Haunt the Zoo
Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dates: Saturday, Oct. 20, Sunday, Oct. 21, Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday Oct. 28
All Grown Up
Time: 7 p.m. until midnight
Date: Friday, Oct. 26
Lost Lakes Haunted Forest
For families with older kids, the Lost Lakes Haunted Forest is located right outside OKC. This event is not recommended for children under 13.
The Haunted Forest includes a “...terrorizing stroll through the forest where [they] try and bring [ones] worst fears to reality,” according to Brad Wickwire, the managing partner for Lost Lakes Haunted Forest.
This facility is known for having an outdoor attraction along with bonfires, genuine scares and beverages for adults after the trail.
Time: 7-11 p.m.
Dates: Every weekend in October
Price: $25 for regular admission, $40 for a Fast Pass, which reduces the wait time by around 75 percent. There is also a $5 touch upgrade, which allows the actors to touch the customers walking through which intensifies the haunt experience.
Night of the Living Dead
Haunted trails might be a little much for the faint of heart. If that is the case, Oklahoma Children’s Theatre will bring the 1968 cult classic “Night of the Living Dead” to the stage for a less terrifying Halloween option. This production is recommended for those 10 or older.
TIme: 7-8 p.m.
Dates: Oct. 19-27
Spooky Pooch Parade
Halloween is not just for humans. Four-legged friends can join in the festivities at the Spooky Pooch Parade at the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Downtown OKC. This event allows puppy parents to dress their furry friend in costume, with a chance to win best dressed pooch. Do not forget to pre-register.
Time: 2-3 p.m.
Date: Oct. 21
Price: $10 per dog for members; $12 per dog for non-members
The Day of the Dead Festival
This event will take place in the Plaza District and will pay tribute to the Latino holiday. According to plazadistrict.org, this event will feature, “Mexican Folkloric dancing, Day of the Dead procession, a lowrider car show, Offrendas and more.”
Time: 1-7 p.m.
Date: Oct. 28
Rose State fall events:
Fall Fest: This will be held Oct. 15-17 and feature craft tables, free food and club activities. Follow
@rscengagement on Instagram and Snapchat for more details.
The Addams Family: A New Musical: The classic television show and film are revamped for the stage in this musical. Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Grandmama and Lurch will all be featured in this all ages show.
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Dates: Oct. 25-27, with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Oct. 28
Price: Free for Rose State students, faculty and staff; $5 general admission
Halloween Fest: Rose State will provide giveaways, free snacks and a photo booth during this event. A costume contest will be held as well.
Time: 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Date: Oct. 31
Place: Wellness Center
While there are many activities to attend in OKC during this upcoming spooky season, these events are the talk of the graveyard.
Story & Photo by Yesenia Gonzalez
Imagine ordering food at a restaurant and not being able to read the menu. According to proliteracy.org, an adult literacy and education membership organization, nearly 800 million adults around the world struggle with basic reading, writing and math skills. That number is about 36 million in the United States, which represents more than 1-in-10 people.
According to Riz White, executive director of Community Literacy Centers of Oklahoma City, one in five adults are considered functionally illiterate in Oklahoma.
“Typically, people living at or below the poverty level are more at risk for lower reading abilities,” White said. “43 percent of adults with low literacy levels live in poverty. There have been studies that indicate the single greatest indicator of children’s success is the literacy level of their parents. 72 percent of children of illiterate parents also become illiterate.”
White stated that in 2015, 67 percent of Oklahoma’s fourth graders scored below a proficient reading level, and 77 percent of students who qualified for free or reduced-price lunches did not read at a proficient level.
Reading and education opens doors to a better life. According to the American Journal of Public Health, adults have difficulties understanding and using health information, which results in a loss of $230 billion in health care benefits. The Department of Defense funded centrist think tank Rand Corporation report, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education, reports educated inmates are 43 percent less likely to return to prison. Literacy is a valuable skill with profound societal implications.
There are various factors that contribute to the United State’s adult illiteracy rate. Leslie Gelders is the Literacy Administrator for Oklahoma’s Department of Libraries Literacy Resource Office. Gelders has more than 30 years of experience in various local and national literacy projects and programs, including serving as the president of the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition for three terms.
“The most frequent causes of illiteracy in adults [are] parents with little schooling or who are non-readers themselves, illness or moving frequently causing poor school attendance, hearing or vision impairment, no books in the home and little value on [the] importance [of] education, doing badly or dropping out of school-many have not completed high school, difficult living conditions, including poverty, [and] learning disabilities, such as dyslexia,” she said.
Illiteracy is a multifaceted issue with no single cause. Both controllable and uncontrollable life circumstances can contribute to an individual’s struggle. According to Gelders, embarrassment from public stigma, a lack of support systems, scheduling conflicts, low finances to pay for services, lack of time due to other responsibilities and older age can all hinder a person from seeking help.
Historically, literacy rates began to increase when books became more affordable. Johannes Gutenberg was a German aristocrat from the early 15th century who is credited with mechanizing the printing press in the Western world, which made books more accessible to common people. Asian nations like China and Korea had their own printing systems made up of carved wooden blocks thousands of years prior to Gutenberg’s mechanized printing press. Due to their language structure, which includes thousands of individual characters, handwriting was a more practical option than a printing press.
When Gutenberg began printing on his press, it was the catalyst for the religious and cultural revolution thereafter. More people could read the Bible and no longer needed a priest to explain it, which led to the formation of Protestant groups who believed they could interpret the Bible themselves. Information could be transmitted like never before, which helped spark scientific thinking and the spread of new ideas. Indeed, the literacy rate in Europe rose after the creation of the mechanical printing press, although the rate slowly crept up because people living in urban areas had better access to printed materials than people in rural areas.
Undoubtedly, books play an important role in literacy. In recent years, technology and, subsequently, internet use has expanded. According to Victoria Stephens from the Metropolitan Library System’s marketing department, Oklahoma’s most visited libraries are the Edmond, Downtown Oklahoma City and Northwest locations. Libraries still offer services that could not otherwise be obtained by a simple internet search.
“Libraries provide a variety of services and resources that you cannot get from the internet,” Stephens said. “eResources available through the library give users access to vetted and verified information that cannot be accessed with a search through an internet search engine which just scratches the surface. The library also offers the services of skilled librarians who are trained in how to utilize valuable research methods and trained on the variety of resources the library subscribes to in order to help customers find the information they need.”
Various programs exist to assist adult learners, including Rose State’s own reading program. Chris Knox is Rose State’s full-time reading coordinator. Knox said the reading program serves a wide age group; people from ages 18 to 72 have received assistance. The program includes online instruction with various learning tools, textbook instruction and assistance from various professors and staff.
“Reading is an essential foundation for success in school and in the workplace,” Knox said. “Lifelong education empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries and future generations. Literacy opens doors of opportunity and understanding that no other skill can provide. The ability to read, write and understand stimulates communication that impacts every life. My vision for every student I teach is that upon graduation, he or she will be a leader who positively affects our community as a role model. I see each student standing in the future, feeling dignity, pride and the respect of others.”
Being able to read well can enhance people’s quality of life. Voting, obtaining a higher education and understanding health care information are all difficult tasks if a person does not understand how to read. Education is the foundation of opportunity and well-being.
“Functionally illiterate adults should not be synonymous with ignorance – many of them are extremely smart,” White said. “For whatever reason, they may not have been given the tools they needed to learn properly and fell through the cracks in school. Perhaps they had multiple substitute teachers, moved several times and had to change schools, had a learning disability that was not diagnosed, or dropped out of school due to a family crisis. Many factors can contribute to functional illiteracy, but do not necessarily determine the aptitude of a person.”
A common trend throughout human history is that people from lower income levels tend to be less educated. Similar patterns exist today. However, a quality education can positively affect a person for the rest of their life.
Story & Photo by Courtney Burleigh
Many students begin their college years fresh out of high school, not knowing what to expect. To some, college seems like high school with added freedom, fees, people and food.
Despite being in school for more than 12 years and counting, at some point in their educational paths, students might find themselves feeling unprepared or even a bit regretful over past study habits. Some students might find themselves wishing they had more knowledge or guidance throughout the experience before entering college.
“Don’t think college is anything like high school because it’s not,” said Alex Romero, a Rose State graphic design major. “And I wish I knew how much money I was actually going to be spending because it’s a lot.”
Romero also said her professors are nothing like her high school teachers.
“I didn’t know how chill my professors were going to be,” she said. “One professor literally comes in, talks a little bit and then lets us go. I thought they were going to be like, super strict and scary, but nope.”
College study habits might also differ from those of a high schooler.
“I think it depends on the class … [for] my history class, I’m studying all the time,” she said. “But for my computer class, there’s not much I need to study for.”
College sophomore and biomedical technology major Christina Greene, however, has found she’s been studying for college more than ever.
“Having better study habits and organizational skills are things I wish I would have known about,” she said. “I wish I would have known how important a regular study schedule is, and I wish I would have put more time into learning how to organize one in high school. The importance was always stressed to us in high school but I never understood it until I got to college.”
Many students share similar regrets from the time they began college.
Jaz Harmon, a music education major at John County Community College, said besides having better study habits, she wished she had reached out to someone and asked for help.
“I wish I knew the importance of study groups before I went to college,” she said. “I struggled on my own for a long time.”
Rose State will soon open the Center for Success, Inclusion and Diversity with an opening date set for October. This facility will host study skills workshops dedicated to specific course topics and guide students to campus resources. The center is designed to help students realize they are not alone in their mission to succeed in college.
“I found out the hard way that studying and having an organized schedule is important,” Greene said. “After that, my grades have been significantly better and I’ve been less stressed.”
However, study skills are not the only speed bump students might encounter on their road to success. Harmon also said she wished she knew more about mental health before entering college.
“You have to learn how to swallow your pride and ask for help,” she said.
Along with a therapy dog, Rose State Student Access Services provides students with free tutoring, counseling and other programs meant to assist students in learning and make education accessible to every student.
“Know that having no motivation to do anything isn’t normal,” she said. “Feeling scared of everything isn’t normal and if you know you aren’t feeling right, please ask for help.”
For more information on services offered, visit rose.edu or call 733-7373.