The Edmond Sun


April 8, 2013

Respect Diversity recognizes Edmond students

Orvis Risner wins 1st place with ‘The Great Tree of Peace’

EDMOND — Linda Skinner’s second- through fifth-grade enrichment students at Orvis Risner Elementary won first place for their entry in the 12th annual Respect Diversity contest and will be recognized for their efforts at the annual Respect Diversity Competition & Exhibition Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight at the Harding Fine Arts Academy, 3333 N. Shartel Ave. in Oklahoma City.

Orvis Risner students will join students from Nichols Hills Elementary School and Harding Fine Arts Academy in providing musical entertainment for the evening and Starbucks will provide refreshments.

“Guests will experience a video of colorful, creative collaborations by thousands of students throughout the state of Oklahoma exploring diversity through the arts,” said Joan Korenblit, executive director of Respect Diversity Foundation.

The Respect Diversity competition relies on symbolism as the students use art to show how each person is different yet the same using various methods from a park bench in the past that recognized Rosa Parks to types of fish in the sea to “The Great Tree of Peace” chosen by Orvis Risner fifth-graders this year.

“The Great Tree of Peace represents the Iroquois Confederacy, which united five separate tribes as one in peace,” said Caleb Kreaps.

“The Tree of the Great Long Leaves” was chosen by The Peacemaker, the Northern Great Lakes Tribe Huron, to be the symbol of the sheltering league.

“The white pine stands straight and tall, and as an evergreen it represents constant and continuing life,” Skinner said. “Each part of this pine is symbolic, and the students gathered and repurposed everything that the tree was made from including the eagle sitting on top of the tree made from a recycled vinegar bottle.”

Breana Nothubi explained how the students decoupaged phrases, words and pictures that depicted peace to them.

The peacemaker told the tribes to take all of their weapons and plant them under the tree, said Blayk Middick.

The roots of peace spread in four directions, uniting many in a growing peace. The term “bury the hatchet” originated when the Five Nations buried their weapons under the Great Tree of Peace as a vow never to make war against each other again.

“The peacemaker showed the tribes how one arrow could break, but five new arrows bound together could not break just as the five tribes making peace together could not be broken,” said Ryli Smith.

 While the trunk represents unity and strength, the branches represent the clans and nations that are sheltered by the Great Law of Peace. Each needle of the tree represents a person, each important to the whole and the pine cones represent new life within, the coming generations who need protection.

“We use teaching books to teach other classes the symbolism of The Tree of Peace,” said Jackson Hoenshell.  

When asked how the students were going to practice peace in their lives they came up with various answers.

“I want to become part of the government and go to one country at a time telling them about peace,” Ruby Pendergraft said.

In The Great Law of Peace, every decision had to consider seven generations to come.

Caleb said before he makes a decision he will think about its outcome and ask himself how will it affect the next seven generations as the Native Americans did.

The eagle perched above The Great Tree of Peace sees with far-sighted vision, wisdom and vigilance and warns of approaching dangers just as the eagle made and placed on top of the tree by the students.

Text Only
  • north 1.jpg U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10

    All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.
    U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.
    “This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • OC expands to 5 academic colleges

    Oklahoma Christian University will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
    OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
    “Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Ekso 1.jpg Deer Creek students see bionic suit in action

    In 2010, a car accident left Guthrie resident Mary Beth Davis paralyzed from the waist down.
    In a few weeks, thanks to INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, determination and an Ekso Bionics suit, she will be walking across a stage to receive a college diploma from Oklahoma State University.
    Wednesday afternoon, Davis was at Deer Creek Middle School where students of teacher Jamie Brehm got to see Davis and the suit in action and learn about how it helps people live a fuller life.
    Brehm said the opportunity to have the demonstration fit perfectly with the testing schedule. Brehm said a bonus was having Davis with her inspirational story come to the school. In addition to graduating soon, Davis lives an independent life and she was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • earth day 7.jpg Central community learns about water conservation

    Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
    Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
    During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Accountability push for public schools now in question

    One by one, K-12 education reforms passed in previous years by Oklahoma lawmakers are being targeted for weakening or repeal.
    Among them: Common Core State Standards, the Reading Sufficiency Act, A-F school grades for districts, and middle-school end-of-instruction exams for history and social studies. These could all be scaled back or revoked by various legislative bills that have passed in both the House and Senate.

    April 22, 2014

  • State suspends student testing over glitches

    Computer glitches forced state education officials to suspend online testing Monday, affecting student testing in Edmond and Deer Creek.
    State Superintendent Janet Barresi said as a result of online testing disruptions for students in grades 6-8 and high school end-of-instruction (EOIs) exams she directed testing vendor CTB/McGraw Hill to suspend online testing for the day.
    “We certainly share in the frustration that students and school districts feel,” Barresi said. “It is of paramount importance that CTB finds the nature of the problem and resolves it as quickly as possible.”

    April 21, 2014

  • Guthrie board calls for Common Core repeal

    A resolution recently passed by the Guthrie school board calling for the repeal of Common Core standards has attracted the attention and support of several state legislators.
    State Reps. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, and state Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, praised the school board for weighing in on the Oklahoma Legislature’s pending action to repeal state-issued Common Core standards.

    April 21, 2014

  • Touch-A-Truck event draws families to UCO

    Edmond Electric and Edmond Vehicle Maintenance are co-hosting the Edmond Touch-A-Truck from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 in the UCO parking lot off Second Street. Touch-A-Truck is a fundraising event that provides children of all ages with the opportunity to experience life-size vehicles and interact with community support leaders like police officers, firemen, construction workers and many more. Families will have the opportunity for a hands-on exploration of many vehicles such as Edmond’s own fire trucks and police cars, an Edmond Electric bucket truck and even a solid waste truck.
    Admission for the Touch-A-Truck event is a suggested $2 donation with the proceeds going to the Edmond HOPE Center. For more information, contact Edmond Electric at 216-7671 or email

    April 21, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014