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Convention Awards


Health Educator of the Year

This award is given to a health educator in each of the following school levels:
Health Education Professional of the Year Award - School (K-12) Health Education Professional of the Year Award - College/University

The purpose of this award is to encourage and recognize outstanding teaching and professional involvement by educators/professionals in the area of Health Education. The candidate must be someone who:
Has major responsibility for teaching, programming, or administering effective health education programs. Has at least five years of experience in the category in which they are applying. Serves as a positive role model epitomizing the values and desired outcomes of health education. Utilizes various teaching strategies and incorporates innovative learning experiences based on developmental social and psychological needs of students and/or clients. Shows interest in and sensitivity to the needs of students, clients and fellow professionals. Assumes responsibility for his/her professional growth and evidences professional commitment through membership and involvement in local, state, and national health organizations. Currently a member of OAHPERD, SHAPE, AAHE, and must attend the Southern District SHAPE convention.
This year's school (K-12) award goes to Erin Frizzell. Erin currently teaches health and fitness at Coronado Heights Elementary in the Putnam City District. She has a well-rounded physical education and health curriculum focusing on CATCH, SPARK, and an Action-Based Learning Lab. Erin invites the Oklahoma State Extension offices to present different health topics and has Oklahoma University nurses visit to help with other health content and her Jump Rope for Heart unit. This award was presented by the OAHPERD Health Vice-President, Dr. Rachelle Franz.







Betty Abercrombie Scholar Award

The Betty Abercrombie Scholar Award is designed to (1) promote and stimulate scholarly productivity among professionals representing health, physical education, recreation, leisure, dance and sport; and (2) recognize scholars who have made and continue to make noteworthy contributions to the scholarly enterprise. The individual selected: Must be a member of OAHPERD and SHAPE. Should have achieved a commendable record, evidenced by creative productivity, to enhance the profession of health, physical education, recreation and dance. Shall be currently involved in the scholarship of promoting the fields of health, physical education, recreation and dance through various meaningful contributions. Must be willing to assume responsibilities so designated for a period of one year to include: Making a presentation at the annual OAHPERD Convention the following year Serving as chair of the selection committee for the following year. This year's award goes to Dr. Sunshine Cowan of the University of Central Oklahoma. Dr. Cowan is an Associate Professor of Community/Public Health at the University of Central Oklahoma. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from the University of Central Oklahoma, a Master of Public Health from the University of Oklahoma, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Environmental Science from Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Cowan is an extraordinary teacher, a respected leader among colleagues in her field, and a kind and generous individual devoted to student success and improving lives. Dr. Cowan embodies the criteria set for a nominee of this prestigious award. She has made numerous scholarly contributions to her discipline through presentations, grant proposals, major projects, and serving in leadership roles in numerous professional organizations such as OAHPERD and OPHA. In addition, Dr. Cowan was recently named a DaVinci Fellow by the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education.

Dr. Cowan is highly regarded by her colleagues. She works best in a collaborative manner and is generous with her time and attention to details. Dr. Cowan has been characterized as an "activist scholar" in that she goes the extra mile to provide opp01tunities for students to apply theory and knowledge in practical, out-of-classroom activities that are geared toward improving community health outcomes. She is passionate about taking an issue that is central to the community/public health field and facilitating change through her students and course projects. It is presented by the Betty Abercrombie Scholar Chair, Dr. Debbie Traywick.

The Virginia Peters Higher Education Award

The applicant must be an educator who: Prepares Oklahoma public and private physical education teachers. Oversees, directs and/or advises student teachers in the field of physical education. Serves as positive role model epitomizing personal health and fitness enjoyment of activity, and sensitivity to the physical and emotional needs of all students. Utilizes various teaching methodologies and plans innovative learning experiences. Is a current OAHPERD member, regularly attends and/or presents at state conventions/workshops. Is a current member of SHAPE and NASPE and has attended and/or presented at Southern District SHAPE and/or national conventions.

This year's award goes to Dr. Debbie Traywick of the University of Central Oklahoma. The following is the presentation speech given by Dr. Peters:

"Once upon a time, a long time ago-actually 55 years ago-a baby girl, named Debbie, was born to J.D. And Mary Nell Chapman Traywick. I went to college and played sports with the mother of that baby. I remember the mother. I don't remember the baby, but I'm sure she was an EXCELLENT baby. That baby girl grew up. She attended 12 years of public school in Yukon. Then she went to college and graduated in 1982 from Southern Nazarene University where she majored in health and physical education and played on the varsity volleyball team. I remember watching her play volleyball.....skilled, spirited, determined volleyball....especially against UCO. She was an EXCELLENT volleyball player. That young woman completed a master's degree at UCO in 1984. She was taking classes, teaching and coaching, all at the same time, doing that 3 ring circus that many of us did along our professional way. I remember teaching her in a graduate motor learning class. She was an EXCELLENT student.

That young teacher began her professional career at Edmond Memorial High School where she taught physical education and coached the volleyball team for four years. In those four years, she produced three state championship teams. I remember reading about her coaching success in the Edmond newspaper. She was an EXCELLENT coach. She left Edmond to take a position at Missouri Southern University where she remained for 16 years-coaching the volleyball team and teaching in the HPE professional education program. I remember hearing about her success at MSU and following her professional growth and development as a college teacher. She was an EXCELLENT teacher. She received her doctorate from St. Louis University in 2003 and came back to Oklahoma to teach at UCO in 2004. During her 11 years back in Oklahoma, she has been an active member, presenter and attendee at Oklahoma, Southern District and National Association professional meetings. At UCO, she has taught a variety of classes; served on department, college and university committees; and has been the program coordinator for the physical education teacher preparation program. She has presented physical education on the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation and continues to serve in that role now with the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. She has given hours of service to other teacher education programs in Oklahoma, reviewing unit program reports and providing feedback to unit faculty members. In addition, she has facilitated physical education review training at the annual OACTE meetings. I have watched her VERY CLOSELY during the time that she has been at UCO. She has been a positive role model for students and faculty on this campus and throughout the state. She is an EXCELLENT professional.

In 2012, Dr. Traywick became chair of the UCO Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies. In that capacity, she oversees and leads a very large department that this year includes 720 students who are majoring in physical education and health, exercise fitness, community health and outdoor & community recreation. She works with 21 highly qualified department faculty members and, from what I hear, they think that she is an EXCELLENT chair. Now, how did I find out what her faculty thinks of her? Well, a few days ago, as I was watching the coverage of Pope Francis when he was here in the U.S., I heard the TV commentators make a request for people to do a twitter or a tweet or some technology communication thing using the hash tag "Pope in Three Words." Now I have never twittered or tweeted and I don't even know what a hash tag is but I thought that the idea of using three words to describe someone was a good idea. So, with the technological help of Haleigh Larkin, a UCO KSH Department administrative assistant, I was able to contact the UCO KHS faculty with a request for "Debbie Traywick in Three Words." My research provided the following results. 17 faculty members responded for a return rate of 80.9% (Not bad). They contributed a total of 55 words to describe Debbie. These included: the F's-fair, focused, fun-loving, facilitator; the C's-committed, considerate, composed, calm;the R's-rational, realistic, reliable; and a non-alphabetic collection of honest, encouraging, nurturing, understanding, kind, dynamic and insightful. In addition, there were eight descriptors that I found to be statistically significant because they were listed by 3 or more faculty members. These were: authentic, courageous, loyal, leader, student-centered and passionate. WOW! What a great compliment to have your co-workers' perception of you include all these positive traits! After looking at her resume and nomination letter and asking her faculty members about her, it was time to ask Debbie some questions. Her answers won't surprise those of you who know her but they do show insight as to why she should receive this award.

Question #1 - Dr. Traywick, what is your favorite thing about your job?

Her Answer: Students! Helping students be successful. Helping them make progress toward a degree and toward having an effective life. She said, "If something's for students, then I'm all for it!"

Question #2 - Dr. Traywick, what do you think is the most important thing in teacher education?

Her Answer: Giving students lots of experience with teaching before they graduate and go out as teachers. Start them early as sophomores doing practicums where they work with K-12 students. Give them lots of practical experience.

Question #3 - Dr. Traywick, what is your message for students who want to be physical education teachers and for current physical education teachers?

Her Answer: Be passionate about two things. Be passionate about movement and be passionate about students - no matter the level that you teach. If you are not passionate about movement and students, don't be a teacher! And, if you lose your passion for teaching, get out! Because students get cheated if their teachers are not passionate about the job they are doing. Well, now you know about her history, her faculty evaluations, and her professional philosophy, you can see why she is worthy of this higher education - physical education award. We of OAHPERD want you to know that WE APPRECIATE YOU!

You have invested your time and talent in higher education for 27 years. You have served your department, your university and this association well. You carry the torch of professional preparation in physical education and you keep the higher education light burning bright. Thank you for all of your many contributions and congratulations as we present to you this Higher Education Professional of the Year Award. Well done!"

Recreation Professional of the Year

For the purposes of this award, a Recreation Professional is defined as a person who has major responsibility for teaching recreation pre-professional/professionals of conducting recreation programming and/or administration in an educational, public, or private recreation setting.

The candidate must be someone who:

Serves as a positive role model epitomizing the values and desired outcomes of recreation.

Demonstrates enthusiasm for the recreation profession and his/her role in it.

Shows interest in, and sensitivity to the needs of students, clients, and fellow professionals.

Utilizes various methodologies and implements creative, innovative, safe and effective courses/recreation programs based on:
The developmental, social, and psychological needs of students and clients.

The philosophies, purposes, needs and resources of the sponsoring institution.
Assumes responsibility for his/her professional growth and evidences professional commitment through membership and involvement in local, state, and national recreation organizations.

Is a current member of SHAPE and must attend the Southern District Convention.

This year's award goes to Dr. Kevin Fink of Oklahoma State University. The award is presented by OAHPERD's Recreation Vice-President, Dr. Jerel Cowan.

Elementary "Physical Education" Teacher of the Year

For the purposes of this award, a Physical Educator is defined as a person who has major responsibility for teaching physical education in grades designated (PK-5). The candidates must be someone who:

Has taught a minimum of six years at the school level designated by the award.

Serves as a positive role model epitomizing the personal health and fitness, enjoyment of activity, sportsmanship, and sensitivity to the needs of his/her students.

Utilizes various teaching methodologies and plans innovative learning experiences.

Conducts a balanced and sequential curriculum.

Evidences professional commitment through membership and involvement in local, state, and national physical education organizations.
This year's award goes to Diane Irick of Union Public Schools.

It is presented by OAHPERD's Physical Education Vice President Elect, Sara Headrick.





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