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Oklahoma keeping its promise

State program ensures deserving students in need get college help
by Beverly Bryant, University Marketing, OSU Modified: August 11, 2014 at 12:07 am •  Published: August 11, 2014

Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships help deserving students achieve the college dream.

The high-achieving, extremely motivated students chosen for the awards have great plans to serve the state, nation and world — and none of them would have been able to attend OSU without Oklahoma’s Promise and the university’s help.

Ridge Howell, who just completed his freshman year, is majoring in English and strategic communications. He plans to attend law school after graduating from OSU and aspires to go into communications law.

As a freshman, Howell was involved with Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to build schools in developing countries. “There’s not a more worthy cause,” he says.

Howell, who grew up on a cattle farm near Checotah, Okla., says he was “super active” in FFA. As a high school junior, he was selected as one of 10 Native American FFA members (he’s a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation) to lobby for including FFA in classrooms across the nation. He received a White House Champion of Change award in Washington, D.C.

He was named a National Coca-Cola Scholar, which came with a $20,000 scholarship, and received several scholarships from civic groups. As an Oklahoma’s Promise student, he also received the Cowboy Covenant Scholarship for an extra $1,000 per year.

“This is one of the biggest reasons I will be leaving college debt-free,” Howell says. “I am blessed beyond measure.”

Annie Jo Gilbert knows what she wants to do as a career because she’s been doing it for years.

Gilbert, from Choctaw, Okla., is studying animal science and livestock merchandising at OSU, which fit right in with growing up on a cattle ranch. She will be a junior this fall.

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