Academic Awards Celebration

The flagship event of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is its annual Academic Awards Celebration, which honors 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors and five exceptional educators. The gala event – broadcast statewide on public television – has been called the “Academy Awards” of public education in Oklahoma.

Winners of the 2021 Academic Awards were honored at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic Awards Celebration on Saturday, May 22, at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, attendance for the 2021 Academic Awards Celebration was limited to honorees and their registered family members. 

Since 1987, the foundation has selected 100 graduating seniors annually as Academic All-Staters. This prestigious award provides each recipient with a merit-based scholarship and medallion. The selection of Academic All-Staters has been described as Oklahoma’s “most rigorous academic competition.”

The celebration also salutes educators who are making exceptional contributions to public education in Oklahoma. Medal for Excellence Awards are presented annually to one educator in each of the following categories:

  • Elementary Teaching
  • Secondary Teaching
  • Elementary/Secondary Administration
  • Community College/Regional University Teaching
  • Research University Teaching

The Academic Awards Celebration has featured a variety of distinguished keynote speakers, including the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, journalist Fareed Zakaria and astronaut Leland Melvin.

Past Event Speakers

View our 2021 Academic Awards Celebration Broadcast

The flagship event of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is its annual Academic Awards Celebration, which honors 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors and five exceptional educators. The gala event – broadcast statewide on OETA – has been called the “Academy Awards” of public education in Oklahoma. Winners of the 2021 Academic Awards were honored at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic Awards Celebration on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa.