The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 8, 2013

6 students to be honored at Turnaround Achievement Awards Breakfast Saturday

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A high school student who didn’t take his education seriously until the responsibility of raising a child made him understand the importance of finishing school, Mathew Block buckled down and put his shoulder to the wheel two school years ago.

Block said he learned about his girlfriend’s pregnancy during the summer of 2010. When he went back to school in the fall, it was with a sense of purpose and determination.

“My son turned 2 in February,” Block said. “Because he was a baby, it made me turn around.”

The change in Block caught the attention of the staff at Enid High School. Block is EHS’ Turnaround Achievement Award winner for 2013. He was nominated by his assistant principal, Lynne Peters.

“Mathew did not take academic work seriously his first few years of high school and was listed ‘At-Risk’ for graduation,” Peters wrote on Block’s nomination. “Falling behind in credits and being no stranger to the principals’ office, he realized his attendance and attitude had to change — he enrolled in summer school and made academic performance a priority.

“As of late, he has not been referred to the office in over a year. Mathew last semester accomplished making all A’s, B’s and C’s, and currently is maintaining the same with minimal absenteeism and tardies. He even was witnessed testifying to other students the importance of listening to their counselor, after hearing one of them poke fun at a program designed for academic success. He has accomplished this while parenting a child. Mathew now has a goal for his future endeavors and is making strides to accomplish it,” Peters wrote.

“Yesterday, I signed up for Autry for welding,” Mathew said Wednesday. “I’m hoping to get into welding, construction or mechanics.”

Six area students will be feted at the 2013 Turnaround Achievement Awards Breakfast Saturday.

“The Turnaround Achievement Awards Breakfast recognizes students from Enid area schools who have demonstrated the most effort, commitment and perseverance in turning their lives around,” said Sandy Tate, vice president of Trail Lanes Inc.

At the breakfast, each will get an award plaque. Primary sponsors are Oakwood Bowl and the Enid News & Eagle. Conrady Electric, Rusco Plastics, Ward Petroleum and AE Howard are secondary sponsors of the event.

Other achievers are:

• Richard Hardage, a senior at Lincoln Academy, was nominated by Principal Jarry Hillman for the award.

“Richard is an outstanding young man,” Hillman wrote on his nomination. “We at Lincoln have enjoyed Richard as a student. He is intelligent and respectful to both teachers and fellow students. Richard has worked hard and received good grades. Richard is very deserving as Lincoln’s Turnaround student.”

• Jaime Ponce, Emerson Middle School, was nominated by his science teacher, Andrea Curry.

“Jaime is a hard worker who exhibits a great character and a positive personality,” Curry wrote. “He is actively engaged in class and has a desire to learn and make his life better. Jaime does a great job of staying focused and on-task during class. If there is something he doesn’t understand, he will make sure to ask questions until he does understand. He is concerned about keeping his grades up and does a great job of helping others around him to understand. He is a gentleman and has respect for his fellow students and teachers. It is a joy to have a student like Jaime in class.”

• Hunter Scott, Covington-Douglas, was nominated by his principal, Brian Smith.

“Hunter has dramatically improved his grades and his approach toward school has changed,” Smith wrote. “Hunter is doing well in all of his classes and is involved in many school activities.”

• Alex Vasquez, Longfellow Middle School, was nominated by his art teacher, Ashley Cooper.

“Alex underwent a complete transformation this year,” Cooper wrote. “He went from being a highly unmotivated student to one who works and focuses on his daily work. Where he used to strive to distract and crack jokes, he has now learned to separate fun and work. While he is still completely himself — laughs and has a quick sense of humor — he has also learned that there is a time and place for all things. His work is now truly representative of his abilities, and his abilities will undoubtedly take him as far as he wants to go.”

• David Linder, Chisholm High School, was nominated by Katie Byrd, computer, yearbook and newspaper teacher.

She nominated him for his positive attitude and demeanor, and his strong work ethic.