OC Honors Summer Academy hosts 97 students from 24 states

OC's Honors Summer Academy hosts 97 students from 24 states in July.
OC's Honors Summer Academy hosts 97 students from 24 states in July.

Ambitious high school students from 24 states are at Oklahoma Christian University this week and the next for an academically challenging preview of college life.

Whether seeking to solve a cold case, build robots or study the evolution of video games and animation, the 97 students in OC’s Honors Summer Academy will stay busy learning.

“The Honors Summer Academy is a great way for determined high school students to learn more about Christian higher education,” said Dr. Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program. “They take academically rigorous courses for college credit, learn more about how we are all part of a global community, and build meaningful relationships with each other and their professors.”

The annual, six-day college experience encourages the pursuit of excellence by gifted and talented students finishing their freshman through junior years of high school. This year, OC added a second week in response to the Academy’s strong demand, and nine students signed up to attend both weeks, which started on July 6 and end on July 18.

By the end of the program, students will have developed the confidence to continue their academic pursuit of excellence, link academics to their faith and demonstrate the impact of experiential learning and service to others. Each participant can earn two hours of transferable college credit.

Students stay in OC’s Honors House at Davisson Hall, which offers the opportunity to live in a community dedicated to equipping Christian students for the pursuit of academic excellence.

This is the fifth year that OC has hosted the Honors Summer Academy, and all 106 openings were filled before June. While more than half of the students are from Oklahoma, the number of other states represented increased to 24.

“Last year, we had more applicants than available spaces, which is one of the reasons we added a second week,” Baird said. “We work very hard to build an intellectually and spiritually fulfilling experience for these high-achieving students. We also want them to have fun, and the students have really enjoyed their experiences here.”

Every class comes with some significant and practical experience:

  • An “In Cold Blood” Forensic Science class in which students will work a cold case and wash a dollar bill to test for drug residue.
  • A visit to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City for the Introduction to Foundations of Health Ethics class.
  • A field trip to a video game and animation design company.
  • An experience building robots for the Introduction to Engineering class.
  • A cellular biology lab in which students will culture cells from Henryetta Lacks.
  • A community service project with the Lighthouse Medical Clinic and Capitol Hill Church of Christ’s Book Buddy literacy program (Academy students will select, read and give away books to elementary through junior high students in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City).
  • A meeting with Edmond-based Holocaust writer Michael Korenbilit, whose book highlights his parents’ survival in concentration camps, in the Holocaust Literature class.
  • A tour of the “Story of Hope” exhibit at Feed the Children, raising awareness of poverty worldwide.
  • A Tolkien class in which students will create a map of the Tolkien literary world.
  • A field trip to see and handle relics from Greece and Rome as part of the class on the Greek poet Homer.
  • A music class project produced through one of OC’s Macintosh computer labs using multiple instruments and GarageBand software.

The Honors Program at OC includes more than 150 students.

According to Baird, the average ACT score for honors students is 31, and more than a quarter of these students are National Merit Scholars. Admission is highly selective, but not solely exam-based.

Accomplished alumni have gone on to attain professional degrees in business, law and medicine, and many others have received scholarships to prestigious doctorate and post-doctorate programs across the United States.

Most OC Honors students study abroad in the fall or summer of their sophomore year (Vienna, Austria or Pacific Rim). All Honors students participate in Symposium each Monday; past Honors Symposium speakers have included Civil Rights attorney Fred Gray, astronaut Douglas Wheelock, constitutional historian Rufus Fears and biblical scholar and theologian N.T. Wright. More information is available at www.oc.edu/honors.