Students from Puterbaugh Middle School recently toured Bacone College and the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee. First stop was Bacone College where Vice President of Student Affairs Kaila Harjo shared the history of the academic institution.
Harjo said Bacone College was initially a private school founded 138 years ago and was the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma. Bacone is related to the American Baptist Association but participation in religious services was not mandatory.
She stated Bacone offers all athletic programs except football and wrestling to the 300 students currently attending. Students are offered programs such as Fort Nite and Smash Brothers Tournaments which leads to increased social interactions.
Bacone students Roshaun White and Kendall Scott assisted with tours of the campus stating activities including bowling nights, movie nights, and trips to Tulsa are offered to students.
They explained that Bacone College offers the TRIO program which assists students with graduation, acceptance into other programs, as well as maintaining eligibility.
Librarian David McMillin enlightened students in regards to becoming a historian saying to write papers, you write one page at a time and do not forget to write an outline. He also encouraged students to develop credibility by building a foundation of knowledge through research of books, computers, and knowledgeable individuals.
Students were provided lunch in the Palmer Center Gym by Sodexo, Inc. before traveling to The Five Civilized Tribes Museum.
Museum Director Sean Barney provided students with information regarding tribal history, walked students through the museum, and allowed students to view artwork created by master artists specifically for the Master Artists Show. Students evaluated art, choosing favorite pieces. They discussed why they felt the pieces they selected were their favorites. Many students felt Enoch Kelly Haney’s “Still Here-Growing Stronger” should be displayed at Puterbaugh Middle School.
GEAR UP Educational Coordinator Stephanie Dow stated, “Today was a wonderful day for McAlester students. We are grateful to both Bacone College and The Five Civilized Tribes Museum for not only providing students with Native American history, but helping the students have fun while learning.”
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 recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP Grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.