I've also done my best to use my blog, OKC Central, to help provide readers a better understanding of the kids at Emerson. They include gifted artists as well as students interested in architecture, graphic design and the prospects for CNG vehicles. They're determined to overcome tremendous obstacles to earn their high school diploma and a shot at college.
For the pregnant teen students, add to the hurdles the prospect of having to interrupt the school day with a bus ride to and from a clinic for a prenatal exam because the clinic at the school closed a few years ago amid budget cuts.
Fortunately, times are changing. Two years ago, I encountered a downtown executive (he has since left his job) who argued against assisting Emerson, saying it didn't fit his company's “Midwest values.”
Guess what? We're not a Midwest state — we're a Plains state. More importantly, as evidenced 18 years ago this week, we've got “the Oklahoma standard,” which is better than any other regional values, in my humble opinion.
That translates into a sold-out inaugural “Starlight Supper” at the revamped Bicentennial Park that raised $10,000 for Emerson, and a commitment by Variety Care's new director, Andrew Rice, to get a new clinic opened at Emerson as part of an upcoming remodeling of the school.
Downtown is now engaged with Emerson. The obstacles are many, but the rewards can be overwhelming.