DONNA GRADEL, 2018 OKLAHOMA TEACHER OF THE YEAR SPEAKS AT THE GPTC SCHOLARSHIP LUNCHEON

Oklahoma’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, Donna Gradel, was the featured speaker at the Great Plains Technology Center Scholarship Luncheon, November 1st. A science teacher, Gradel is now in her 30th year of teaching, the last 23 of which have been at Broken Arrow High school where she teaches Innovative Research and Environmental Science. “Today’s students want to fix the world,” she said, “they have a strong sense of purpose and they want to fix problems they feel are important.” Gradel says she likes to present real-world problems and challenges her students to find solutions. “They want to make a difference.”

Gradel’s students have been involved in number of local projects such as cleaning up a pond in local park. They have also been involved with a number of international projects, most notably in Kenya, Africa, where they helped to drill a well in order to supply fresh water to local village, as well as designed and implemented a fish farm and chicken coops in order to allow the village to have a sustainable source for protein.

Gradel said she loves teaching, loves teachers, and acknowledges that teachers teach because they have a passion for teaching, “They care deeply for our children, the children of Oklahoma.”

Frank and Donna Richards, longtime supporters of the Foundation

In addition to raising funds for student scholarships, the luncheon was also an opportunity for Great Plains to honor and thank its dedicated instructors who inspire and change lives every day. Jackie Archer, GPTC Biomedical instructor and 2016 Oklahoma Association of Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year, gave the invocation; and Nancy Howell, lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Howell is GPTC’s Advanced Firefighter instructor and 2013 Oklahoma Association of Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year and a National Teacher of the Year finalist. Special recognition was given to Frank and Donna Richards, longtime supporters of the Foundation.