Academic Awards Banquet
The flagship event of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is its annual Academic All-State Banquet, which honors 100 of the state's top public high school seniors and exceptional educators and educational programs. The gala event is a wonderful celebration for those who value excellence in public education.The Academic Awards Banquet has featured a variety of distinguished keynote speakers, including former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, television and radio journalist Cokie Roberts and the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan.
Since 1987, 100 high school seniors have been selected each year by the Foundation and named Academic All-Staters. This prestigious award provides each recipient with $1,000 in scholarship money and a medallion.
Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren has described the selection of Oklahoma's Academic All-Staters as, "Oklahoma's most rigorous academic competition." The 100 recipients are selected on the basis of academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community involvement, as well as an essay submitted by each nominee.
Educators who are making exceptional contributions to public education in Oklahoma also will be honored at the banquet. Each year an elementary teacher, a secondary teacher, a community college or regional university teacher, a research university teacher, and an elementary or secondary administrator are selected by the Foundation to receive the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching and Administration awards.
Each Medal for Excellence award recipient receives a $5,000 cash award and a glass sculpture, Roots and Wings, created by Oklahoma artist Ron Roberts and produced by Jim Triffo of Oklahoma City.
An orchestra from the Oklahoma Arts Institute provides music for the banquet. This group of outstanding high school musicians is an important part of this evening of excellence.