There were several highlights of the State Literacy and Adult Literacy Conference, held Sept. 27-29, at the National Center for Employee Development in Norman. The theme was “Connected Learning!” for the conference.
Robert Hu, adult learner with the Great Plains Literacy Council, was honored as the Krueger Foundation ESL (English as a Second Language) Learner of the Year state winner. The award of a trophy, certificate and $100 from the Krueger Foundation from Tulsa were presented by Oklahoma Representative Emily Virgin. Mr. Hu has been committed to his weekly tutoring sessions since July 2014 at the Altus Public Library since his retirement and closing of the Polynesian Garden restaurant in Altus. He has been willing to completed several health literacy programs and has been eager to help, whether it is setting up chairs to donating classroom supplies and food for events.
The other top ESL state award was sponsored by Tinker Federal Credit Union and was presented to Leut Keochangthanivong, a GPLC adult learner for two years. He was recognized for her efforts to learn English. He has been consistent, punctual and energetic about his ESL tutoring even though he has put in a day’s work at the Will Rogers Elementary School as the head custodian. Leut organized a meal for literacy staff and tutors at the library last December as a way of showing his appreciation for the tutoring. He was an attendee at the 22014 state learners’ award ceremony and didn’t realize he would be returning as an honoree. Virgin Kaci Mack from Tinker Federal Credit Union presented his trophy, certificate and $100.
Another GPLC adult learner Cindy Lansdale was recognized at the awards’ session as a finalist for the Basic Education Learner of the Year Award. She was presented a certificate for her nominations and accomplishments and a $25 gift certificate from the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition. She is employed through a job with the Workforce Title V program at the Altus Christian Academy. Dr. Dana Darby, administrator for that school, was also present to see her receive her recognition.
During the awards ceremony, a Powerpoint show of all the nominees was viewed.
Another highlight included Leslie Gelders, ODL Literacy Resource Office Coordinator, presenting the 2015 Celebrating Our Journey book. The book was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Bob Laubach, adult literacy pioneer across the world.
There were 12 adult learners from the Great Plains Literacy Council who were honored as some of the authors whose stories were accepted in the book. An autograph party followed and all attendees received the books for the authors to sign their names with special engraved pens by their published stories. These honored authors were Harold Wilson, Sun Chung, Judy Hu, Robert Hu, Whitney Marcellin, Leut Keochanthanivong, Bounthone (Bonnie) Keochanthanivong, Isela Fernandez, Cynthia “Cindy” Reynolds-Lansdale, and Alicia Sandoval. Each received an engraved pen denoting their writing success. Ethel “Pookie” High and Leticia Lara were unable to attend.
Richard Smith, M.D., a certified neurosurgeon and medical director of the Mercy NeuroScience Institute in Oklahoma City, was the keynote speaker on Monday morning schedule with scientific research on dyslexia and how the brain processes language and reading from dyslexia and other brain disorders and damage. He also taught a workshop after the opening session and shared scientific developments in stroke prevention, treatment and language.
Oklahoma Department of Libraries Director Susan McVey and Dr. Joe Ely, State Director of Adult Education with Career Technology, welcomed the delegation on Monday. Bill Young from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries unveiled the new “Read Ya’All” poster that featured Alfre Woodard, award-winning actress and producer, and Oklahoma Heritage Association Hall of Fame member. These were available for the delegates.
Along with informative workshops and networking with educational and literacy supporters, the GPLC delegates were among the 350 attendees from across the state.
The other attendees from the Great Plains Literacy Council were Administrative Assistant Elsa Garcia, Literacy Coordinator Ida Fay Winters, GPLC Health Literacy Assistant Aleida Burchett, tutor Jerri Northam and the 11 adult learners mentioned.
The other guests were Molly Keochangthanivong, Andrew Winkler, and Alexander Chavez.
There were 63 workshops offered for literacy providers to attend. GPLC Coordinator Ida Fay Winters presented a workshop on “There is Fun in Fundraising” about the annual spelling bee scheduled this year on April 2. Adult learners had a separate track of 16 informative workshops available for their learning. The Oklahoma Literacy Coalition and the Literacy Resource Office at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries provided books by Oklahoma authors to all the workshop presenters.
The Oklahoma Literacy Coalition co-sponsored the 2015 state conference with support from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Lifelong Learning. Other financial support came from the Department of Libraries, Tinker Federal Credit Union, The Krueger Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Center for Employee Development.
Reach Ida Fay Winters at [email protected]