Great Inspirations Award 2017-2018

The Great Inspirations Award recognizes and publicizes past and current Oklahomans’ creative endeavors, solutions and/or activities as both a stimulus and an example for other corporations, organizations, communities and educational institutions. The award is available to individuals/companies/institutions in Oklahoma. The endeavor/solution/activity submitted must be accessible to the public or can be immediately shared, adopted or adapted by others. The applicant must demonstrate creative applications to an endeavor, solution or activity.

2015 Winners

The Mine
Project sponsor: The Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth
The Mine works to equip Tulsa’s entrepreneurs, creatives, non-profits and developers to create a better world. Their goal is to combine the best of entrepreneurial innovation, ownership and sustainability with the best of the social sector’s compassion and empathy. The program is divided into The Fellowship and OpenMines. The Fellowship is a nine-month professional program implementing community-impact and social innovation projects to challenge Tulsa’s top professional talent. The Fellowship opens up every year for up to ten individuals, with the fellows currently working on expanding hands-on gardening and peace education in schools and developing an operational model for Tulsa’s first kitchen incubator. All projects and community events directly relate to building a vibrant community and creating meaningful collisions to better the place we all live.

University of Oklahoma Bizzell Library Peggy V. Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center
Project sponsor: Bizzell Library
The new Peggy V. Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center on the OU campus is a state-of-the-art collaborative learning environment for OU students, faculty, staff and the community. The space inspires and encourages the visitor to think outside the box and offers the opportunity to speak with someone who can assist themn with technology they may not have used before. The center integrates new library services and library-based knowledge creation into active learning and collaborative group work. The creative space has hosted many workshops and competitions and continues to foster collaboration among different disciplines.

Oklahoma Business Week
Project sponsor: East Central University
Oklahoma Business Week was designed to allow high school students to learn about business and entrepreneurship by doing it.  Students are given the opportunity to hear from and network with speakers on topics critical to their success during their week.  Students are placed in teams called companies with businesspeople acting as mentors as the students run a simulated business and engage in learning activities throughout the week.

2012 Winners

Paying Attention Pays
Oklahoma Department of Labor
Lester Claravall
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Paying Attention Pays is a youth employment educational outreach game designed to reach out and teach students and teachers about workplace rights and safety. The partnership between the labor department and education department led to the lesson plan becoming available to every Oklahoma school. Teachers and students love this creative approach to learning because it is interactive, educational and fun. The game has youth appeal and uses an experiential format to help students transition into their first job with knowledge of the laws in place to protect them. The classroom is broken up into teams and students get an overview via a power point presentation. Each team then competes for play money for each question they answer correctly, with the winning team receiving a prize. A summary sheet is handed out at the end of the program so that the participants have a resource should they wish to report complaints in the future. In 2002, Paying Attention Pays received the Award of Excellence by the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development. In 2006, Paying Attention Pays received the Quality Oklahoma Governor’s Commendation at the Oklahoma State Capitol. In 2007, Paying Attention Pays received the Gold Screen Award by the National Association of Government Communicators in Chicago. In 2009, Paying Attention Pays was featured as a model program in the February 2009 issue of Cable in the Classroom, a national magazine out of Washington, D.C. circulated to schools across North America. Paying Attention Pays, which was a program created in Oklahoma, celebrated its 10 year anniversary on October 2011. To date, Paying Attention Pays has been facilitated more than 1,000 times to more than 100 schools reaching out to more than 30,000 students. Because the innovative classroom game approach to teach labor laws was a “first” in the nation, the success of Paying Attention Pays has been shared at various conferences nationally and as far away as Canada and Europe. The game’s creator, Lester Claravall, has worked for the Oklahoma Department of Labor for the past 15 years.

Harlem Nutcracker
Ronia Davison
Samuel L. Sadler Arts Academy
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Sadler Arts Academy in Muskogee, OK holds its students to a high standard in the arts and serves as a steward of arts education in Muskogee. Housed in the historically black Manual Training High School, the students yearly alternate performances of The Nutcracker between the classical ballet and Duke Ellington’s Harlem Nutcracker. This is especially important to acknowledging the creativity and innovation of both Tchaikovsky and Ellington, cultural responses representative of diverse forces in art. This beautiful and wonderful production by an elementary student body has been featured on OETA and has led to the school winning the Governor’s Arts Award, among many other outstanding awards.

Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Future: A Unique K-12/University Partnership Model
Oklahoma State University and East Central High School
Melanie Page
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Oklahoma State University (OSU) and East Central High School (ECHS) are aware of the need to focus attention on increasing the number of creative, innovative, entrepreneurial citizens in the State of Oklahoma. ECHS is a historically disadvantaged serving high school in Tulsa. OSU has partnered with ECHS as a key component of ECHS’s Entrepreneurship program. This is not a program on how to start a business, rather it is a program designed to enhance students’ abilities to think and act entrepreneurially in all aspects of their lives. Our emphasis is on entrepreneurship as a manageable process that can be applied in virtually any organizational setting (e.g., business, social, political, personal) and entrepreneurship as sustainable over the life cycles of people’s careers, of organizations, and of societies. Entrepreneurial thinking and behavior is about learning to recognize opportunity and obtaining the skills necessary to marshal the resources to achieve your objective. It provides students with a solid foundation in terms of the vital role played by entrepreneurship in the 21st century global economy. The overall goal of the current project was for students to become excited about college and teach a basic entrepreneurial mindset that leads to their success.