Story by Tanner Pipins, Assistant Multimedia Editor
Making history as the first LGBTQ+ Oklahoma City Councilman, James Cooper, 36, was elected to serve the residents of Ward 2. Cooper, a middle school teacher and trustee of Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority board, secured the seat after obtaining 53 percent of the vote, nearly triple the amount of his nearest contender.
Ward 2 is home to more than 64,000 people and a few of Oklahoma’s fastest growing spots. The Paseo District, Uptown 23rd and the Asian District are a few of Oklahoma’s historic districts Cooper will serve.
After running for the same position in 2015, Cooper’s vision to honor the legacy of Metropolitan Area Projects persists. MAPS was the improvement program approved by OKC’s voters in 1993. The vision was voted to be paid for by a temporary 1-cent sales tax. After its 66-month long period, the tax collected over $309 million. This money later went on to build the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Civic Center Music Hall and other projects. After the approval of MAPS, other improvement programs like MAPS for Kids and MAPS 3 contributed to the further growth of Oklahoma City.
Inspired by the initiative, Cooper plans to reconnect OKC, improve neighborhoods by adding sidewalks, crosswalks and lampposts and strengthen the city’s bus system.
“With Ward 2 and OKC better connected, we’ll set the stage for commuter rail reconnecting,” Cooper said. “I want all who call OKC home to have access to walkable neighborhoods, reliable public transportation and quality education.”
With the potential of MAPS 4 in the near future, Cooper envisions areas that can improve with financial backing. According to Oklahoma City’s Homeless Alliance, there were nearly 5,000 homeless citizens during 2018. Cooper sees this as an ongoing problem that needs to be resolved. “For too long we’ve put Band-Aids on issues when it comes to this: Mental health, addiction and homeless services,” Cooper said. “We can work with organizations and successful non-profits to address these issues before it’s too late.”
As for the current MAPS for streets extension, the temporary extension will expire on April 1, 2020. Based on previous elections, the next one to extend the 1-cent MAPS sales tax is expected near December 2019.
Until then, the mayor and city council would like to hear from the general public how they would like to see the money implemented. The city council asks residents to submit ideas that will benefit the city moving forward. Submit thoughts and ideas at okc.gov.
Story & Photo by Madi Zick
Chief Multimedia Editor
Traub Elementary School has been a part of Rose State for several years. The building has been used for activities such as Kid’s College, a gym for the athletic teams at Rose State and storage. There has been confusion as to what exactly is happening to the elementary school.
Dr. Kent Lashley, vice president for Administrative Services, explained the operation.
According to Lashley, Epic Charter Schools is renovating Traub to make it a sustainable place to have a Blended Learning Center that will open in the fall. This center will host upper-level grades for students to attend.
“Epic Charter Schools is able to deliver hybrid education K-12th through what they call Blended Learning Centers,” Lashley said.
But why did they choose this school?
Rose State and Epic Charter Schools have worked together in the past, and when Epic realized that it needed a fiscal agent to help with the new BLC, it decided that a beneficial partnership could be formed.
“They have been renting our facilities for a while, and they happened to discover Traub, and they decided it would be perfect for their third location in Oklahoma City,” Lashley explained.
Rose State College is leasing the building to Epic Charter Schools, so it will still be available for Kid’s College in the summer along with some storage space for the college.
“Epic is going to be wonderful to work with,” Lashley said. “They are going to make the building look a lot better, cleaner and safer; it’s been a great partnership all around.”
Story by Kessley Miller
Social Media Director
Two Rose State employees were honored for their work in mentoring college students at the seventh annual Oklahoma Mentorship Day on Jan. 18. eighty-six mentors from Oklahoma and Texas were honored for their work at the event held at Oklahoma State University.
This mentorship award was through the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative and the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
Erica Alvarez, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Rose State, was honored for her work with the R is for Thursday program, which helps individuals who have gone through the foster care system and graduated high school.
The program helps each student transition smoothly to college. It is open to any student on campus as well. Alvarez said she wants to help any student who is struggling.
“More than anything it is about being a support system,” Alvarez said. “A lot of our students need additional resources. Unfortunately, a lot of them go without [one] … [This] is [about] being a support system for students and helping them outside of the classroom.”
Having a mentor throughout college can help a student handle classes, work and other activities. According to the Forbes website, mentorship is a way to soak up the wisdom of those who have gone before you, in a way that sticks.
Professor Chris Knox, reading coordinator and CLICK coordinator at Rose State, was also honored for her work with the CLICK program. CLICK stands for Community Learning In Critical Knowledge. This program allows students to have specialized tutoring by full-time professors at Rose State. Students can do homework, have professional help in certain subjects and build relationships with their mentors.
CLICK meetings are from 2–3 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and there are eight different professors on campus to assist students.
“Many of the mentorees I have are students I have already known from previous semesters, so there is already a bond established there,” Knox said. “If there is a student I do not know on the orientation day, there is a slip we pass around that asks students what area they would like to focus on or a special mentor the student would like to have.”
Mentorship is an important aspect to success in life. For information on mentorship opportunities, contact Erica Alvarez at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Knox at email@example.com.
Story & Photo by Julie Archer
Technology is used nearly everywhere. There are electronic kiosks available to order and pay for food at restaurants, customer service representatives are often robots and some people cannot survive without their cellphones. Although technology can sometimes malfunction, it has become a convenience for many. This is why classrooms are starting to use more online tools.
“I have been a teacher for 23 years,” said Sandy Politte, first grade teacher and vice principal at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School. “I have gone from using a chalkboard, to a dry erase board to an interactive Smart Board.”
A study in the United Kingdom from EdTech Magazine showed more than 30 million primary and secondary school students use Google education applications. Students are learning to send emails to their teachers and create documents to submit their assignments electronically, preparing them for colleges and modern technology-dependent careers.
Colleges and universities use eLearning programs for classroom efficiency. At Rose State, Desire2Learn and Canvas are the resources instructors use to upload their course content, and where students can submit their assignments and take tests.
“The use of platforms such as Canvas and D2L have allowed faculty and students to engage with each other beyond the four walls of the classroom in face-to-face classes, allowed instructors to move assessments to the online platform and utilize instructional time more efficiently,” Travis Hurst, dean of eLearning and Academic Outreach, said. “[The use of these platforms] has provided the means for students to take online classes at times, and locations, that best meet their needs.”
Students often have their own computers at home for school usage. The students who do not have personal computers have access to computer labs and school libraries to do homework, print assignments or other work that requires a computer. At Rose State, the Learning Resource Center has computers for free student use.
“For Rose State College, all of our instructors are asked to post their syllabus and gradebook online,” Dr. Dana Lindon-Burgett, associate dean for eLearning and Academic Outreach, said. “Using this strategy, instructors provide easy access to course policies, contact information, and grade standing. Anytime a student has access to the internet, they can find basic information that will help them succeed in the class.”
Although technology is a convenient tool in the classroom, it does not replace the face-to-face communication between the instructor and students.
“There is a great deal of research that demonstrates that notebooking and writing information, particularly using two-column notes or the Cornell note method, improves content retention,” Hurst said. “This skill is still valuable, even in the virtual environment.”
Some students like to have a balance with organization using notes and technology. With physical notes, internet is not needed to access the information.
The use of technology has evolved alongside education and it continues to change. Students and instructors may find it useful, but it does not entirely replace traditional learning methods.
Story by Bailey Walker & Hollye Carroll
Assistant Editor, Online Editor
Photo from the September 1980 15th Street News Archives
A former professor of psychology at Rose State, Dr. Keith Thrasher, passed away on Feb. 20, 2019, at the age of 79. Born June 22, 1939, Thrasher met his wife Peggy Smyers at age 18 and the two were married six years later. After graduating from Paris Junior College and earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Texas A&M at Commerce, he attended Oklahoma State University for his doctorate.
Thrasher began his teaching career in Uvalde, Texas. He transferred to Northwestern State University and then later came to Rose where he received the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1998.
“He does have many smart comments, but that’s just him,” wrote one reviewer from Rate My Professors.
“That rare combination of Oklahoma charm with Texas cool,” reads another comment from the site.
A common thread through Thrasher’s reviews was a genuine care for his students and learning, as well as a lot of personal stories from his life.
“He often reminded us when he started here, the Social Sciences Division was no more than a trailer,” History Professor Michelle Brockmeier said. Brockmeier worked with Thrasher from her start date in 1995 until Thrasher’s retirement.
“As computers, D2L and other technology crept into our academic lives, Professor Thrasher held out as a Luddite,” Brockmeier explained. “But gradually we took turns teaching him new things and how to use it. He was always very gracious and very appreciative of any help. He was inquisitive and curious, trying to understand all the new terminology and societal changes around him.”
Brockmeier still has the cut crystal bowl Thrasher gave her as a wedding gift in 2010, recalling him as a kind man who loved to laugh and smile.
“One of my favorite stories about Professor Thrasher dates back to a division Christmas party in the early 2000s,” Brockmeier said. “We were supposed to meet at Dr. Larry Edwards house for the party. As the night progressed, we wondered where Keith was because he usually never missed these things. Just as the night ended, he finally appeared. He had gone to the wrong house but they were having a party and were so nice to him, he just stayed, making new friends. That’s just who he was — he made friends wherever he went.”
A service was held Feb. 28 for Thrasher at the Atkinson’s Theatre which preceded his March 3 funeral in his hometown of Paris, Texas.
Story by Na’imah Abdul Al-azeez
Bullying can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. Social media platforms have given rise to cyberbullying in the newer generation.
Bullying has been occurring in nearly every public school for decades. Statistics from stopbullying.gov showed that 20 percent of U.S. students, mainly between the ages 6-12, have experience bullying.
Most colleges like Rose State College are much different when compared to public schools. Here, the bullying is a lot less, causing the students to be more comfortable in their environment. Despite that, some of the students at this community college are still dealing with the effects of bullying. Rose State offers resources for students who need help.
“I’ve been seeing people for a year and a half,” said Hannah Cordero, a therapist in training in the Student Access Services at Rose State College. “I’ve worked with people for mental health, anxiety and depression among a variety of things.”
Cordero stated that while 30- 40 percent of her clients were victims of bullying, it was hard for her to know for sure what kinds of bullying they had gone through.
“It varies from person to person,” she said.
Despite this, she admitted that she did treat students who were victims of cyberbullying, mainly ones who were between the ages of 18-24, and she thought most of these cases happen within the student’s inner circle.
“If you are being bullied by someone who you’ve known for five years, it would be more hurtful than someone you don’t know much about,” she said. “It can impact their trust. It can change the they view trust and cause them to be mistrustful of others.”
As for bullying in college, Cordero admitted there is less bullying in college than in high school but warns to not count out bullying completely.
“There’s still going to be people using it for power – like in high school. I believe all of that is going to continue,” she said.
Her message to students who are being bullied: “Prevention. Keep the lines of communication open. Tell your friends and family so they can give you advice on how to handle it.”
Cordero’s statements on bullying relate to the experience of Rose State freshman, Maddie Brown. “I had those problems going into my freshmen year in high school,” she said. “It was really rough.” Brown, who’s going into law enforcement, said she was mainly bullied in person and that it would usually be among her friends.
“It was way more personal for me,” Brown said. “It hurt a lot more. It’s like thinking someone is there for you and then they turn around and stab you in the back. It’s really rough. It made me question my self-worth and where I stood with everybody. I felt like an outcast.”
Like Cordero, Brown said there is less bullying in college than in high school. She thinks it’s because of the maturity among the students.
“I feel like everybody in college is just trying to mind their own business and get their education so they can start their career,” Brown said. “That’s everybody’s goal. They’re not worried about where you are or what you look like. Sure, they care about you, but they’re here for a reason.”
“Talk to somebody about it,” she stated. “Don’t keep it in. I feel like that’s what hurts most is not having anybody to talk to. Be strong and stand up for what you believe in.”
Although students may feel alone, finding a support system can help when dealing with bullying. Student Access Services provides free counseling services. For more information, call 733-7334.
Story by Yesenia Gonzalez, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Every journey starts somewhere. For Rose State Theatre alumnus Paul Kim, his journey into the world of theatre began at the Atkinson Theatre in 2005. Although Kim began college with an interest in marketing, the stage beckoned and he answered.
“I didn’t have a major,” Kim said. “Actually I wasn’t expecting to go to college, but I had this distant family member who was visiting us in Oklahoma and he said, ‘you live a couple blocks away from college, why don’t you take a college class’.”
Prior to attending Rose State, Kim worked in productions with Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City and Pollard Theatre in Guthrie. However, Kim did not know then where his educational path would lead him.
“I met with [Rose State Professor] Rick Nelson. We had this discussion and he really inspired me in the fact that I could go on with my education,” Kim said.
Kim chose to take the plunge and pursue his interest in theatre. “I remember that specific motto [for Rose State], ‘Finish what you start’,” Kim said. “I remember that popping up in my head and remembering, ‘Let me try this. If I fail, let me fail.’”
Theatre Professor Rick Nelson worked closely with Kim during his time at Rose State.
“Paul’s ability to tackle any task with 100 percent dedication [is his most memorable attribute],” Nelson said. “If he didn’t understand something, he would ask. He rarely asked twice because shortly after understanding something, he mastered it. He was the first student designer I had at Rose who costume designed a show.”
Rose State Theatre offered training in various production aspects and Kim originally focused on acting because it was the focus of the department. However, Kim narrowed his focus once he found his niche.
“When I dabbled in costume, that’s what I decided to go into it,” Kim said. Kim attributed some of his interest in costuming to his fascination with the costumes he saw in the movies from his childhood.
During his time at Rose State, Kim worked on many different plays, but two came to mind as being especially memorable: “Almost, Maine” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”
Kim enjoyed working on Brighton Beach Memoirs, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age play by Neil Simon set in 1937, because it exercised his knowledge of the time period and challenged his skills as a costume designer.
Nelson directed “Almost, Maine” and Kim learned to, “... pick [the director’s] brain to see how he envisions the character,” a skill he carries with him to this day.
“One of the plays I did enjoy was ‘Almost, Maine,’ Kim said. “It was because each scene was a different setting, a different story; I loved seeing the different way that each story can capture someone’s heart. It really is a little play about love.”
After striking the Rose State stage, Kim continued his education at the University of Oklahoma where he majored in costume design. Directly after OU, Kim began his time as a graduate student in the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. Kim chose to settle in Chicago, where he currently works.
After finding himself in the giant that is the Chicago theatre world, Kim initially struggled to find his voice in a sea of costume designers.
“It’s really about how to find myself as a specific designer without having any stereotypes attached to me,” Kim said.
Kim likened costume designing to a business, where designers invest a lot of time and money into producing a final product. A common struggle is for designers to get stuck in a creative rut and only being able to design costumes for specific genres or time periods. Kim described himself as a jack-ofall-trades and tackles a variety of plays.
According to Kim, theatre is often seen as something only the wealthy can enjoy. Kim disagrees with that sentiment.
“When people think about theatre when the word first comes up, theatre is for the rich,” Kim said. “That theatre can only be enjoyed and produced by the wealthy, but I have to disagree with that because theatre can happen anywhere. I really learned that from Rose State.”
During his time at Rose State, Kim and his friends performed in various venues, including the courtyard outside of the Atkinson Theatre where they performed a skit to raise awareness about domestic violence. It attracted people in the surrounding areas on campus and brought people together to enjoy an act of storytelling.
“Theatre can blossom anywhere,” Kim said.
Kim’s Jefferson Award win was an unexpected and welcome surprise.
“So I have been out here in Chicago for about a year and a half freelancing,” Kim said. “I guess I was just focusing on paying [my] dues, trying to get into the Chicago world. It has over 2,000 theatres and has a huge and old theatre community here. It is very well known for new work, new plays. I really wasn’t trying to put myself into work that could potentially be award-winning, I wasn’t even thinking about that at all.”
Kim won a 2018 Joseph Jefferson Award. The award recognizes equity (unionized) and non-equity (non-unionized) theatre, talent in the Chicago area. Kim’s award recognized his work in midsize costume design in the equity category for his work on the play The Explorer’s Club with the Citadel Theatre. The play is set in late 19th-century London where a woman attempts to join a male-only scientist club and faces opposition while proving her worth as a member.
Kim attended the ceremony at the Drury Lane Theatre, where Kim felt at home with the other nominees who shared his passion for theatre. After doing freelance work for only a year, Kim was both surprised and excited by his win.
“I literally felt like I was in one of those Oscar award-winning moments,” Kim said. “It was a dream; it really was a dream. I feel it has carried me on to loving even harder, the work that I am doing.”
Initially, Kim did not know what path to take in the great stage of life. With help from mentors and listening to his own inner voice, he followed his passion and achieved a spotlight win.
Paul Kim was the circulation manager at the 15th Street News during his time at Rose State.
Story & Photo by Selena Williams
Rose State has adopted two schools: Willow Brook Elementary and Telstar Elementary. These schools have been a part of the adopted school program since its inception in July 2001. The program was created with a purpose to provide at-risk elementary students with the proper learning resources such as tutoring and mentoring programs.
Director of Special Services and Student Life Joanne Stafford said the program was not her idea. She said Rose State’s President at the time, Dr. James Cook, was concerned about the two struggling schools.
“Though they are in Oklahoma City Public School District, they sit on the border of Midwest City, and are in our technical district,” Stafford said. “He thought that we might be able to share expertise with these schools.”
Stafford said Rose State assists with tutoring. In the past, Rose State has had science and math professors visit the schools, but it does not occur on a regular basis. Stafford explained the resources that Rose State volunteers share is their time.
Stafford facilitates the connection between Rose State and the schools; and the volunteers that are supervised by the school principal and/or classroom teacher.
Stafford said the volunteers must go to the Oklahoma City Public Schools’ website and complete a volunteer form before they can go out to the schools.
“A background check is done, and once they are approved they may contact the principal and arrange their volunteer times and duties,” Stafford said. She explained regulations are put in place by the requirements of OKCPS. Stafford thinks the elementary students will have some big takeaways from the program.“
"I believe it’s a way for these young students to begin to create a future picture in their minds that includes successful completion of their education,” Stafford said. “Interaction with real college students who serve as role models are great inspirations for the students at these schools. Many of the students do not have family who have attended college; some of the adults in their lives may not have finished high school. Our nursing students and dental hygiene students visit the schools each semester; they either tutor in reading or have health-related presentations and activities.”
Although the nursing and dental hygiene students of Rose State visit the schools each semester, any student can volunteer for the program.
Willow Brook Principal Glenna Berry, appreciates the adopted school program.
“My students really benefit from the volunteer tutors at Rose State,” Berry said. Stafford said the Rose State tutors mostly teach reading and math.
As far as sponsorship is concerned, Stafford said in the past, Rose State has worked with a number of community businesses and organizations. There are currently no community partners. She said this program would be a great project for a club to take on or Raider Relevance students to integrate into their required service hours.
Stafford explained the focus has been to plant the seed of education and encourage the students not to be fearful of school or teachers. For more information or to volunteer, stop by the Learning Resource Center, Room 106 or contact Stafford at joannestafford@ rose.edu.
Story by Ahmya Williams
The 91st Oscars aired live Sunday, Feb. 24. Many watch parties occured during the Oscars. Rose State’s Student Engagement put together an Oscars watch party that was held Downtown at the Innovation Station. This event had food, fun, dressing up and of course, the Oscars.
Many students attended this event and dressed formally in their very own red carpet styles. It turned out to be a fun event for students and others who came out to watch the Oscars together. A majority of Student Senate members from Rose State attended the party.
Student Senator Carter Gierhart enjoyed the party. “We played games of roulette, blackjack and poker.” Gierhart noted that the casino games did not use real money.
“During a game of roulette when I had to bet a rather large sum of money all around the board and won a massive amount of chips,” Gierhard said. It was his favorite part of the night.
Student Senate Treasurer Heather Maker enjoyed the Oscars party concept.
“It was an opportunity for Rose State students to get all dressed up and act like we were walking the red carpet ourselves,” she said. “There were photo opportunities in front of a glitter backdrop and red carpet with little props to add flair to the pictures.”
Maker’s favorite part of the party was, “getting to see all the beautiful dresses that all the other women were wearing.”
Student Senate President Brianna Sanders had a great time at the Oscar watch party. Her favorite part of the party was, “learning how to play blackjack for the first time and actually being really good at it.” President Sanders said she mostly played blackjack during the party and only acknowledged the Oscars when the movie, “Black Panther,” won an award.
“I got so excited every time they won an award, I would scream,” she said. The Oscar watch party turned out to be a fun event for Rose State students. To learn more about upcoming events like these, follow @RSCengagement on Instagram.
Story by Hollye Carroll
Oklahoma organizes committed crimes into two categories: non-violent and violent. Currently, all domestic abuse offenses are considered non-violent but HB 1056 could change that.
Under the current law, persons who are convicted of crimes listed in Oklahoma Statute Title 21 Section 13.1 are required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before they can even be considered for parole. This list includes crimes such as first and second degree murder, poisoning with the intent to kill, first degree burglary, bombing, child prostitution and forcible rape.
Since Oklahoma does not classify domestic abuse and violence as violent crimes, none of the offenses are on the 85 percent list.
HB 1056 will not only add these offenses to the 85 percent list, but will also dismantle the current jail sentencing options. As of right now, if people are convicted of a second or subsequent offense of domestic abuse, they face two options: custody of the Department of Corrections for no more than 10 years, or imprisonment in the county jail for no more than one year. HB 1056 will eliminate the latter option for those with multiple convictions.
“You might have somebody who has committed three different charges of domestic abuse and [under the current Oklahoma statute] they will get less time for doing it over and over again,” Mackenzie Masilon, public policy and communications coordinator for Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said.
Two examples of the current law include, “Any person convicted of domestic abuse committed against a pregnant woman with knowledge of the pregnancy shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year. Any person convicted of a second or subsequent offense of domestic abuse against a pregnant woman with knowledge of the pregnancy shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than ten (10) years.”
Masilon said that OCADVSA is in full support of HB 1056, but admitted that the realities of getting legislation passed is no easy feat.
“This session, we are trying to pass measures to classify [domestic violence] as violent crimes,” Masilon said. “I feel like nobody is talking about this so it’s good that we have bills out this session trying to rectify that but we are also up against a slew of criminal justice reform bills to let out low-level non-violent offenders. That’s all well and good but unless we’re able to classify these as violent crimes — that’s who is getting out.” (see Figure 1).
According to the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Board, between 1998 and 2017, 1,697 victims lost their lives to domestic violence in Oklahoma; of the 1,697 victims, 44 percent were killed by intimate partners. Charges were filed in 62 percent of the 28 intimate partners homicide cases in which the perpetrator lived. The remaining nine cases involved the death of the perpetrator. At the time of this report, 13 out of 23 cases have resulted in convictions. The remaining cases are pending in the court system, (see Figure 2).
HB 1056 has passed through the House Committee assigned to hear the bill and it’s now up to the House of Representatives to vote on before ultimately ending up in the Senate. Contact local representatives for more information about the bill.
To find out who your representative is, visit www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature.
The 15th Street News is a student publication at Rose State College.