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Oklahoma City metro-area achievers

Oklahoma City metro-area achievers for Sept. 25
Published: September 25, 2013


Public service

Mikayla Jo Balderas, of Tipton, has been selected by Youth Service America and the Festival of Children Foundation to serve as Oklahoma's 2013 Youth Ambassador. She will receive funding and training to promote young artist development and the performing arts through the Southwest Opry Kickstart Program. Balderas is a freshman at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus. In 2007, at age 12, she established the Southwest Opry Show, also known as the Mikayla Jo and Friends Show. The show raises awareness and support for nonprofit organizations including Community Cupboard, a battered women's shelter and local arts and humanities councils.


Parker Chase Lusk, a 2010 Westmoore High School graduate, completed a summer program at the Pembroke-King's Programme at Cambridge University in England. To qualify for the program, he had to be admitted directly to Cambridge University, unlike many summer abroad programs where students travel with and are instructed by American university professors. Lusk is an electrical engineering major at Brigham Young University. Before attending BYU, he served a two-year mission in England for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Returning to England as a non-missionary was a rich experience, Lusk said, strengthening his love for the English people he had served and taught.