Oklahoma’s Promising Youth

These twelve Oklahoma high school seniors are leaving their mark. They impressed their schools enough to garner a recommendation to us, and after much deliberation, we’ve found the perfect group of young adults that will change the world – mark our words!

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Photography by Dan Morgan.

HC-Seniors--052316-9171Brianna Zanders

Cascia Hall Preparatory School

Attending: Harvard University

Major: English

What has led you to pursue that field of study? I have loved to read and write since I was a little girl, and I feel that the ways in which literature delves into the human psyche will help me to be a more compassionate doctor and person. I’d like to incorporate history into my studies in some way, too.

What are your career plans? I want to become a doctor, though I’m not exactly sure what kind. I think that I could enjoy surgery, so I’m looking into that as a possible career option.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? I’d probably say Gabby Douglas – the first African-American to win the individual all-around event in Olympic gymnastics. Her determination to get through all of her obstacles is what makes me admire her skill. I remember watching her in the 2012 Olympics and being totally amazed. Being able to do all those fancy flips for a day would be pretty cool, too … the only thing I can do is a cartwheel.

What are some of the characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? I published two issues of a school-sponsored satirical magazine this past year. And although I haven’t gotten to do any big projects recently, I draw a lot and have established a love for graphite pencil art.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I suppose that most people don’t get to see my sarcastic side, because I only get like that when I know a person well. I get that way most when I’m yelling at a television screen; nonsensical plot lines really rile me up.

Will Fossett

Will Fossett

William Fossett

Metro Christian Academy

Attending: University of Oklahoma

Major: Aerospace engineering

What has led you to pursue that field of study? I have always been interested in flight and space travel, so studying aerospace engineering felt like a good fit for my interests and strengths.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? The most influential person in my life has probably been my high school soccer coach, A.J. Klerekoper. He prioritizes academic and spiritual growth instead of only athletic achievements. He emphasizes the benefit of hard work and how the fitness and struggles of soccer translate into the benefits of hard work in our daily lives. Coach K. has had a huge influence on my spiritual life and has constantly demonstrated to all my classmates and me what a true walk with Jesus looks like.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? I feel that my biggest achievement is either becoming a National Merit Finalist or being my senior class salutatorian.

What are your career plans? Since I will be majoring in Aerospace Engineering, working at NASA is a dream of mine. Designing a spacecraft or becoming an astronaut would be a huge honor.

What are some of the characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? The Class of 2016 at Metro Christian Academy is fantastic and one that I am proud to be part of. One characteristic that differentiates me from the rest of my class may be my desire for excellence, not out of pride or for recognition but out of the desire to simply be the best I can be.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? When I was a lot younger, around four or five years old, I wanted to be a professional cord untangler. Quite a difference from a rocket scientist, huh?

HC-Seniors--052416-9335Elizabeth Adelson

Holland Hall

Attending: Yale University

Major: Undecided, interested in sciences

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? Brian Thompson has been my track coach since the sixth grade. He has encouraged me to work to pursue my goals and has supported me every step of the way. He has also been willing to work after hours and travel to out of state meets to ensure that I would have every opportunity to do my best.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? I have spent a lot of time riding horses. My biggest achievement was with the horse I started riding when I was thirteen, Bull Run’s Rubicon. I started riding him so I could compete in the 3’-6” Junior Hunter Division. Both of us were new to it, but we worked hard and taught each other. Within four years, we were competing in national competitions. With the help of Libby Barrow, my trainer, we made it to the top 30 in the nation together three years in a row.

What are your career plans? I just completed an internship at Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond. At this point, I’m thinking about pursuing a medical and/or surgical career, although I’m unsure if that means veterinary school or medical school.

What are some of the characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? I was voted class clown by my classmates this year. I think I stand out because I’m goofy, funny and like to have a good time, but I can also be serious and work hard to get things done.

HC-Seniors--052216-8931Madison Reavis

Muskogee High School

Attending: The University of Tulsa

Major: Chemistry

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? There are two people who have had a profound impact on my life – my parents. Jack and Lora Reavis are two of the best people I know (and I’m not just saying that because they’re my parents). They taught me to see, appreciate and pursue my God-given abilities. They also taught me to follow my heart, and that if you approach things with a pure heart, they will work out in your favor.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? My biggest achievement in my life is becoming and staying true to myself. Although I am graduating as valedictorian and senior class president, was accepted into an Ivy League school, was appointed as Miss Native American Student Advocacy (NASA) and received many scholarships, I take pride in my character. Honesty, respect, determination, diligence and kindness are five things I have done my best to practice in my daily journey.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? I would trade places with my niece, Eden. Eden is four years old and looks at the world as her play dough. I would give anything to be able to forget the worries of college and go back to playing with Barbies and digging in the dirt.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? After college I plan to join the Peace Corps. I feel I have a calling to help people across the world. I also have a love of queso; I could eat it twice every day.

HC-Seniors--052316-9213Evan McKinnis

Classen School of Advanced Studies

Attending: The University of Missouri –

Kansas City, School of Medicine

Major: Medicine

What has led you to pursue that field of study? I believe being a physician will allow me to fulfill my lifelong love of learning while living a life of purpose. My particular program will enable me to graduate in six years with a Bachelors of Arts and a Doctorate of Medicine.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life and why? I have been fortunate to have a father who has devoted his life to his family and patients. As a pulmonologist, he works hard to care for his patients at the hospital and at his clinic, sometimes being paid with a bag of okra, a handmade quilt or even a few chickens. He also finds time to join my sister and I in our quest to visit every major league baseball field in the country.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? I began rowing with the Oklahoma City Riversport Crew Team in seventh grade. I walked into the boathouse not knowing how to lock into an ergometer or the meaning of port and starboard. But with determination and hard work, I was able to compete in multiple regattas, win medals and join my team at the national competition. This experience taught me that I could overcome seemingly impossible obstacles while having fun.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? I wonder what a day in the life of Sidney Crosby would look like. I imagine that his day as a professional hockey player would be just as, if not more, intense than that of a surgeon. The physical demands of his profession are not things that I will likely experience in my lifetime. However, I will try not to lose any teeth in that one day!

Deja Kirk

Deja Kirk

Deja Kirk

Casady School

Attending: Occidental College

Major: Biology and theater

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? As cheesy as it sounds, I think my biggest achievement is graduating from high school. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity, so I am honored.

What are your career plans? I plan to be an elasmobranchologist – a person who studies sharks. I would also like to act in some community theater.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? I would trade places with Beyoncé. She is such a great performer, so I’d like to know how she does it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 20 years? In 10 years I see myself working with a university or conservation group to help prevent over-fishing. In 20 years I would like to have my own project fully funded.

What are some of the characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your class? I’d like to think that my diverse interests and open-mindedness set me apart from the rest of my class. Even though I love science, I still avidly love the arts. I try not to hinder myself and keep my mind open when trying new things.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I make costumes and model them – it’s called cosplay. I am also the lead singer in a band.

HC-Seniors--052316-8980Taylor King

Bishop Kelley High School

Attending: University of Michigan

Major: Political science and business, public policy or international studies

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? I have no single biggest influence in my life. My family has obviously influenced me profoundly, but I am lucky enough to have had many extremely influential and inspiring teachers at Bishop Kelley. All of these people have taught me the value of hard work, big dreams and dedication.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? My biggest achievement is starting my non-profit organization, Children’s Prosperity Project. Through it, I have helped 4,000 children in Ethiopia gain access to clean drinking water, and helped nine high school seniors with incarcerated parents get laptops.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? I would trade places with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I respect her so much for her intelligence, quick wit and all she has accomplished. She also has my dream job!

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I am pretty serious in school, so people are surprised by my dorky sense of humor and my love of puns. People don’t expect me to be adventurous, either, so they’re surprised to learn that I have been to four continents – North America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

Anything else that you would like to add? I collect fancy editions of classic literature and I have 28 snow globes from different places I’ve visited. Also, my two favorite genres of music are show tunes and grunge.

Tuzo Mwarumba

Tuzo Mwarumba

Tuzo Mwarumba

Oklahoma School of Science & Math

Attending: Vanderbilt University

Major: Medicine, health and society

What has led you to pursue that field of study? I plan on pursuing this field because I want to help people. Helping people is a very broad ambition, so I can apply that to any major I choose. For me, helping people in the greatest capacity possible is the end goal; the career is just a means of that goal.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? My parents have been the biggest inspiration in my life. They came to the United States from Kenya with next to no money and no connections. Through my parents’ hard work and their constant sacrifice, I have been able to succeed both in and outside the classroom.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? I would trade places with Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone. He is a prime example of someone using the knowledge gained from higher education to help people back at home.

What are some of the characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? If there is one thing I’ve learned from coming to OSSM, it’s that no matter how smart you are, there is always someone smarter. I have many friends that are all uniquely intelligent. Tenacity, courage and persistence are what separate people. To never give up, no matter how many times you fall, is a necessary character trait in order to be successful.

HC-Seniors--052316-9094Hunter Hill

Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School

Attending: The United States Military Academy

Major: International relations or history

What has led you to pursue that field of study? History repeats itself, and our relationships with both our allies and our adversaries are crucial to the success of our country.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? I have been blessed with many great mentors in my life. However, one of the most influential people is my oldest brother David. We have always pushed each other through brotherly competition, and as a member of the West Point class of 2016, David has shown me the great opportunity there is at West Point.

What are your career plans? After four years at the academy, I will commission into the Army.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? I would be interested to see what a day in the life of George Washington would be like because he was such an incredible and humble leader. He also faced many challenges as he sought to do what was best for the United States and its future.

What are some of the characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? I believe that my ability to adapt to any environment as well as having the grit to push through challenges is what separates me from the rest of my class.

Micah Cash

Micah Cash

Micah Cash

Booker T. Washington High School

Attending: Stanford University

Major: Undecided, interested in economics, philosophy, and computer science

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? My parents and my teachers, because they constantly push me to improve my intellect, character, and ambition.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? Winning a state championship in Lincoln-Douglass Debate and the national championship for Extemporaneous Speaking. I worked hard to achieve a goal, and it was immensely rewarding to see it come to fruition.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? Mark Zuckerberg. I want to know what it’s like to be that young and have such incredible responsibility and opportunity. He is a business owner, a spokesman and a visionary – all things I strive to be.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 20 years? In 10 years I hope to be working day and night to get my business off the ground, turning an idea into a reality. In 20 years I hope to have a family and a job that I love.

What are some of the characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? I have never been afraid to speak up and let my voice be heard. I am also intensely interested in a wide variety of academic subjects.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? While my favorite subjects are math and science, I love to read, write and play the piano and guitar in my free time.

HC-Seniors--052416-9397Carrigan Bradley

Fort Gibson High School

Attending: Northeastern State University

Major: Pharmacy

What has led you to pursue that field of study? I’ll be able to help people feel better while using problem solving skills, and these are both important aspects I will look for in a career.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? My mom is the person who has stuck by my side through the good and the hard times and has pushed me to always do my best. I wouldn’t have achieved half the things I have without the drive and dedication she’s instilled in me.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen. It took three years of hard work on so many different components of myself. I also had the opportunity to represent my state at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, where I was named fourth runner-up. The Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen program has taught me interview skills, the importance of proper nutrition and how to be confident in who I am.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 20 years? In the place where God wants me to be. I can’t see into the future, which would be extremely helpful in this time of my life, but I know whatever I choose, I will follow the plan God has.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I’m extremely passionate about music education in schools. I started singing because my music teacher taught the entire school “America the Beautiful” after 9/11. I try to advocate the importance of musical arts and encourage decision makers to take a second look at the loss of a creative outlet for kids if music is cut from schools.

Zeke Clark

Zeke Clark

Zeke Clark

Riverfield Country Day School

Attending: University of Illinois

Major: Undecided

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why? I would have to say my friends and family. I am so fortunate to have such a loving and supporting group of people behind me, and I can’t thank them all enough for how much they have helped and influenced me.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? I feel like my biggest achievement is the steady progress I’ve made in my tennis game. I’ve put in a lot of long hours training to get to the point where I am now, and it’s pretty neat to look back at how much I’ve improved.

What are your career plans? I have always dreamed of being a professional tennis player. So by going to the University of Illinois, I will be able to get the best out of both my tennis and my academics. If things don’t work out in the tennis world, I will have a degree to take me on another path.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why? If I could trade places with one person in the world for a day, it would have to be Roger Federer. He has always been a big idol of mine, and I have looked up to him both on the court as a player and off the court as a person.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I live within a big family. We have my mom, Julie; my dad, Toby; an older brother, Tim; and two younger sisters, Grace and Lily. And along with two dogs and friends always over, it makes for a pretty busy place. I love it!

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