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Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

Nationally recognized as the most rigorous academic program of its kind, the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics is shaping the next generation of professionals before they even finish high school.
Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

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Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

Show Dates

Show 0935: Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

Air date: August 30, 2009

 

Transcript

Rob:  Well as summer fades into fall and students return to class, they do so in a time of great change.  From new technology to the new challenges of a global economy, today’s classrooms are quite different from earlier generations.  And nowhere is that more dramatic than at Oklahoma’s School of Science and Mathematics.  Nationally recognized as the most rigorous academic program of its kind, the school is shaping the next generation of professionals before they even finish high school.  Juniors and seniors from across the state compete for admission into a school that takes a different approach.  And our Alisa Hines was there as classes began.

Alisa:  These students are moving into the dorm for the start of the new school semester, but they aren’t in college.  They’re moving into their home away from home, the Oklahoma School of Science and Math.  And for senior, Carlos Rubio, it’s not his first time.

Carlos Rubio:  A lot of reasons why I wanted to come here were school related.  The school that I originally was from, my hometown school, didn’t offer a lot of advanced mathematics or advanced sciences classes.  So, I ended up looking into the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics and found out that they had a lot of opportunities for me that I could advance in that I didn’t have at my home high school.

Alisa:  An opportunity that Patty and Kris Kirk, parents of junior Lulu Kirk, say is one that couldn’t be passed up.

Patty & Kris Kirk:  When I was in high school, this wasn’t available.  This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who wants to take advantage of it.  It’s superb.

Alisa:  Lulu loves her music, but someday wants to work in international relations and believes the math and science classes will help her get there.

Lulu Kirk:  Well, it’s just such a great school, and they offer so many educational opportunities.

Alisa:  But the catch is, students have to leave their friends and family, but for Carlos and Lulu, that’s okay.

Rubio:  It wasn’t so bad, because coming to OSSM there’s, there’s more people in my class here than there was at my home high school.  I was able to make new friends and have a closer bond here with my friends than even some of my friends at my other school.

Kirk:  It feels weird, like, I don’t even know if it’s really hit me yet, that tomorrow I won’t be at home.  Like, I know I’m not going to my old school, that part has hit me, you know.  But like, not being at home all the time, it feels like I’ll be driving home this afternoon, basically.  Very surreal.

Alisa:  It’s eight a.m. on Monday morning, classes begin, and it’s not like the first day of class where you get to know each other.  Oh no, these kids hit the ground running.

Rubio:  The classes are a lot more difficult.  You have to take notes in every class.  I never had to do that before.

Kirk:  I’m just, like, really excited to be here and to be able to learn so much and be challenged by all of it.  It’s really exciting, I don’t know, all of it basically.

Alisa:  And according to Kenneth Lease, vice president of academic affairs, that’s what OSSM is all about, academics.

Kenneth Lease:  It drives our program.  We offer students an opportunity to engage in very high-level material and to sustain that engagement over a two-year period.

Alisa:  And it’s not just good for the students.

Patty:  It’s just amazing that Oklahoma supports education to this extent, that they have a school like this, for these kids, with professors as their teachers and just such incredible opportunity.

Kris:  And it’s a great investment in the state’s future; because, you know, these kids are going to come back and become the leaders of the state.