Shady Point GEAR UP students tour Tulsa Glassblowing School and Connors State College

Twenty-five Shady Point GEAR UP students recently toured the Tulsa Glassblowing School and Connors State College. Students began their day at TGS (Tulsa Glassblowing School) where they met Susan Teeters, Program Director. As TGS students demonstrated how to create a large glass ornament, Teeters explained the process.

Students learned that glass blowing is a process that begins as the glassblower reaches inside the furnace and into the crucible (where clear glass is melted) and gathers a layer of molten glass on the end of a steel blow pipe. The artist then rolls the molten glass on a steel table (called a marver) to give it a cylindrical shape. The actual blowing begins with a puff on the end of the blowpipe to create a bubble. The glass is continuously heated throughout all while the artist is turning the blow pipe and keeping it in constant motion. In between trips to the furnace, the artist adds more clear glass and begins shaping to get the size and shape desired. After many trips to the furnace, blowing, and shaping, the glass forms into the shape of a very large ornament. Using Kevlar gloves, the artist picked up the ornament and quickly transferred it to an annealing oven. This oven is kept at 960 degrees Fahrenheit and then cooled down over a period of 14 hours to room temperature. This cooling down is to prevent the piece from cracking or breaking. The students thoroughly enjoyed learning the process of how to make glass pieces.

Students then traveled to Warner to CSC (Connors State College). Students gathered in the Fine Arts Auditorium. CSC Assistant Director of Recruitment Megan Duvall provided an introduction to CSC. She gave students a flyer and a CSC Cowboys sticker. The flyer showcased CSC’s academic degrees, campus life, tuition cost (comparing the rates of in-state tuition versus out-of-state tuition costs), financial aid and scholarship assistance, and housing. Duvall highlighted the NSU 2+2 Program where students can begin their postsecondary career at Connors State College and transfer all earned credits towards a Bachelor’s degree to Northeastern State University.

Shady Point students began a walking tour of CSC. They toured Millers Crossing, a quad dormitory that features single units with four private bedrooms and shared living space. Two students share a bathroom, and each student has a single bedroom. Students walked through Millers Crossing Clubhouse which provides laundry facilities, a study hall and computer lab, mailroom, and a gathering place to meet with friends.

Students roamed through the Education Building and Classroom Building which hosts a variety of courses. Students toured the Melvin Self Fieldhouse where they admired Connors State Athletic Hall of Fame and walk through their home basketball court, athletic facilities and training.

Westbrook Library Learning Center houses the library, distance education classrooms, and President’s Office. Students toured the Native American Success & Cultural Center, also known as the Student Success Center. The tour concluded in the Student Union where the students visited study labs and dined with current college students.

“College tours are an important part of Eastern’s GEAR UP program as they give students a firsthand look at life as a college student,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Bethany Hicks.

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 serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.

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