Spiro GEAR UP sophomores tour East Central University

Forty–six GEAR UP sophomores from Spiro High School recently toured the campus of East Central University in Ada. ECU tour guides Ashley and BJ Echard greeted the group and provided an educational tour of the ECU campus. The tour began in the Bill S. Cole University Center, also known as the wellness center. This is where students eat, play pool, workout, hangout, blow off steam, swim in the pool, play basketball or walk on the indoor track.

The bookstore and post office are across from the wellness center. Students learned that books may be purchased new or used, rented, or they can get ebooks for almost all classes. GEAR UP students ate lunch in the Taff Cafeteria where ECU students can get a flex plan for meals. Tour guides explained that this is cheaper than making own meals because the cafeteria serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, students may get as much as they want to eat. Tour guides revealed the most important thing—most of the events on campus are free as long as you have your student ID.

Students toured several buildings on campus including the recently remodeled Education Building which houses the psychology and counseling departments. Ashley said the instructors are awesome and always willing to help. She added that living in the dorms is great, but she prefers living in a sorority house because she gets the opportunity to meet new people, plus all kinds of free food.

The Science Hall was next. Spiro students learned ECU graduates have a high acceptance rate into medical school. Students saw a mannequin that simulates giving birth to a baby. The nursing program is working to increase the number of scholarships awarded for their nursing program to help more students get into and through nursing–related majors. Science Hall also contained math labs with free tutoring.

Then students toured the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center which includes the theater, band and choir programs. Danley Hall houses the main computer lab and help desk. If students need help with anything regarding their Blackboard or signing in, staff is available to help.

BJ encouraged the students to take the ACT as many times as possible to raise their scores to qualify for more scholarships. He also discussed different scholarships the students could apply for, and how they should put forth the effort, watch their GPA and making good grades.

“As an important part of the GEAR UP grant, the students get the opportunity to see a college campus and get outside of their box,” explained GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self. “By taking the students to tour ECU, we give the students the ability to see anything is possible and encourage them to pursue higher education.”

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.

Spiro GEAR UP sophomores Hannah Tobler, Aspen McAlister and Abigail Moore listen as ECU tour guide Ashley Echard explains the different campus activities that are free to ECU students.

Waiting for lunch—Spiro GEAR UP students Kirwin Horton, Dylan Ridenour, Ethan Caldwell, Brevon Harper and Clifford Dollar pose for a picture while waiting in line to eat at Taff Cafeteria.

ECU tour guide BJ Echard talks about the recently remodeled Education Building which houses the counseling and psychology departments to Spiro GEAR UP students Thomas Hughes, Heath Finley, Spiro Teacher Marty Darneal, Dre Spring, Aspen Pierce, Jonathan Barahona–Ramirez and Bradlee Chronister.

ECU tour guide Ashley Echard talks about the choir, band and theater programs in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Building. Spiro GEAR UP students are Hannah Gilliam, Katrina McClain and Larissa Henry.

Ashley Echard outside Taff Cafeteria—ECU tour guide Ashley Echard explains cafeteria meal plans and eating arrangements on the campus to Spiro GEAR UP students.

Spiro GEAR UP sophomores Serria Perdue, Hannah Tobler and Hannah Gilliam check out the locker room of the ECU Tiger Softball Team. Every softball player’s dream!!

Spiro GEAR UP sophomores ready to board the bus after their tour of East Central University.
Front Row: Clifford Dollar. Row 2: Dylan Ridenour, Brevon Harper, Kaylie Smith, Darian Sharp, Chloe Rogers, Jaden Brown, Antonio Johnson, Madison LeFlore. Row 3: Madison Osborne, Abby Smith, Alexis Harrison, Jaden Jones, Aspen McAlister, Sierra Perdue, Hannah Gilliam, Brooke Beason, Matthew Smith, Eathan Caldwell, Heath Finley, Katrina McClain, Larissa Henry, Hannah Tobler, and Brianna Birchfield. Row 4: Saylor Clark, Jonathan Barathona–Ramirez, Abigail Moore, Aspen Pierce, Blake Robbins, Bradlee Chronister, Jayden Potter, Kirwin Horton, Seth Rinke, Acacia Waliston, Dre Spring and Thomas Hughes. Back Row: Tory Eatmon, Jared Walkers, Cedric Cobb and Zania Mobley.