Thirty-four 7th grade GEAR UP boys from Puterbaugh recently traveled to Muskogee to tour Bacone College and The Five Civilized Tribes Museum.
The tour began at Bacone College in the Ginny Palmer Center where students met with Kaila Harjo, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs. Harjo shared the history of Bacone, stating the college was established in 1880 prior to Oklahoma becoming a state. Harjo reported all students at Bacone have the opportunity to participate in athletics, clubs, and activities on campus.
Next, Admission Specialist/Athletic Compliance Director/Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Juan Davis spoke with students regarding admission requirements. Davis stated requirements to attend Bacone are the same as the requirements to participate in NAIA sports. Davis went on to discuss the benefits of attending a small college, advising students typical class size is 12 students to one teacher. He further stated students are able to participate in stickball tournaments, movie or bowling nights, online gaming tournaments, and other activities.
Bacone College Librarian David McMillan provided information about the library and cautioned students to secure accurate sources while conducting resources.
Students ate lunch in the Ginny Palmer Center where they were provided a variety of items by Sodexo, Inc. before traveling to The Five Civilized Tribes Museum.
“I enjoyed visiting Bacone,” said McAlester student Jullian Medina. “I feel the food was my favorite part!”
Museum Director Sean Barney and Tour Guide Ryan Crow provided students with a tour of the The Five Civilized Tribes Museum. Barney discussed historical aspects of the building which included a widow’s walk which women used when watching for their husbands to return from battle or hunting. He stated the floor was made of limestone while the outside walls were made of sandstone. Students noted portions of the sandstone which had eroded.
Tour Guide Ryan Crow provided students with a tour of the upstairs rooms at The Five Tribes Museum and students viewed art by Master Artists Jimmie Carol Fife and Valjean McCarty Hessing. Crow stated art work displayed at the museum is changed monthly with a Master Artist Competition beginning soon.
“My favorite part of the day was viewing the Choctaw Seal and learning that the seal was untied during peace and tied during times of war,” said McAlester student Logan Killingsworth.
McAlester student Garrett Martin said, “I enjoyed the artwork, ‘Uk Tana’ as it reminded me of a Greek monster and just looked cool.”
Eastern Oklahoma State College (EOSC) GEAR UP Educational Coordinator Stephanie Dow thanked Bacone College and The Five Civilized Tribes Museum for providing McAlester 7th grade students with tours of their facilities. Dow stated, “Seeing my students learning from the past and planning for the future is a marvelous thing. Today Bacone College and The Five Civilized Tribes Museum offered students an opportunity to learn and grow, while allowing them to have fun.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.”