, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 20, 2013

RAA honored for character

A sophomore at Rougher Alternative Academy said the school “made life better” for him, according to a testimonial he wrote for the Character Education Partnership.

“I used to not care. I did not have a dream. RAA made me realize I can be somebody,” the student, only identified as Bradlie, said in the testimonial published on the CEP website.

RAA was selected as a National School of Character recently.

And Rougher Alternative Academy students had special visitors Monday to celebrate and to tell the students how proud they are of them.

RAA is the second of Muskogee Public Schools and the second school in Oklahoma to win a National School of Character award. Muskogee High School won in 2011.

The award is given by CEP to schools who meet 11 criteria of character education initiatives.

School officials, politicians, local community leaders and proud Muskogee residents gathered to give the students, faculty and staff a round of applause at the school Monday.

The students wore new T-shirts — proclaiming their school as a National School of Character.

State Rep. Jerry McPeak, D-Warner, who is a former teacher, gave the students an energetic speech.

“You bet I’m excited about this, and so should you be,” McPeak said. “You know it might be pretty nice to be a state champion in something. But you’re national champions. And no other alternative school in the state has achieved that.”

Superintendent Mike Garde also addressed the students, faculty and staff, telling them why he was told the school was chosen for the honor.

“I want to remind you all about the visitor we had. He is the vice president of the Character Education Partnership, and he is the one that said you deserve this honor,” Garde said.

The evaluator, Joe Mazzola, was “completely impressed” with the staff, the caring environment at the school and the students after spending the day at the school in late April, Garde said.

Mazzola said after his visit April 29 that RAA’s students impressed him with their plans for the future, and the staff and faculty impressed him with their character education programs.

Many community leaders and students sent testimonials to the CEP in support of RAA as a National School of Character.

Those testimonials are posted on the CEP website and include notes from Sen. Tom Coburn, Substance Abuse Counselor John Cooper, a grandmother of a student and the student named Bradlie.


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