Nominations are now being taken by the state Department of Education for what’s called the Academy Awards for Oklahoma public education, with a slight exception due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next spring, the 36th annual Academic All-State scholarships and Medal for Excellence awards will honor academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence will give $125,000 total to 100 graduating seniors and five educators from the Oklahoma public school system.

This year’s nomination process for students is being altered, though, to accommodate students who were unable to take the SAT or ACT tests — whose scores normally qualify them for the awards — because of the pandemic.

For those students, the school principal must certify that the student was unable to take the test due to COVID-19 and that the student ranks in the top 4% (weighted cumulative GPA) of their senior class.

A $1,000 scholarship will be given to each of the 100 Academic All-State scholars selected from Oklahoma’s public high school graduating seniors. Academic All-State nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Dec. 2.

To qualify, students must meet at least one of the following requirements: a composite ACT score of at least 30; a combined SAT evidence-based reading and writing and math score of at least 1370; or be selected as a semi-finalist for a National Merit, National Achievement or National Hispanic Scholarship. Eligibility must be verified by the district superintendent or high school principal.

Last year, three students from Northwest Oklahoma were recognized as Academic All-Staters: Chisholm High School’s Cailey Luskey, Alva High School’s Zachary Wallis and Kingfisher High School’s Cayman Matson.

Medals of Excellence will also honor five individuals at one elementary, secondary, administrative, regional university/community college, and research university institution each. Those nominations are due Nov. 30.

Nominations can be submitted online at

Since 1987, the foundation has awarded more than $5.1 million in academic awards and scholarships.

Next year’s awards presentations, with over 800 guests expected, will be held May 21, 2022, at the Omni Hotel in Oklahoma City and broadcast statewide on OETA public television.

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Ewald is copy editor and city/education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.

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