Three former Bartlesville teachers were inducted into the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation Educators Hall of Fame Tuesday afternoon at the Bartlesville Community Center.
Marilyn Blackburn and Sandy Bliss have been inducted into the 11th Class of the BPSF Educator Hall of Fame. Betty Turk was posthumously inducted. Here is an overview of the inductees:
Blackburn was nominated by her daughters to the BPSF Educator Hall of Fame.
Blackburn said she was honored and grateful to have been inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame. She said she cherished the teaching beyond her ability to implement it.
For Blackburn, children are a gift to society. Blackburn thanked the thousands of parents who have entrusted their children to him during his educational career at Oak Park and Ranch Heights Elementary Schools. She said she wanted to be the teacher when her students look back on their education that they feel love in their hearts, have a smile on their face and truly know that she cared for her.
Blackburn said our public schools were in danger and called on the crowd to vote for the candidates and bills that support public schools. She thanked the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation for its support to teachers and students.
Born and raised in Copan, Blackburn grew up enjoying working with children. Blackburn helped out in Bible school and chose to train as a teacher at Northeastern State University. She began her teaching career at Ft. Gibson and Ochelata before coming to Bartlesville. Oak Park Elementary was honored with Blackburn’s passion for education for 25 years before moving to Ranch Heights Elementary for another seven years, where she was Teacher of the Year.
Blackburn still keeps education at the forefront in its retired activities, from retired educator groups to the Alpha Delta Kappa Honor Society, the church, alumni groups, the book club and the ‘Salvation Army.
Cassy Marlar and Jonell Douglas presented Sandy Bliss.
Bliss said she treasured her years as a teacher at Bartlesville. She said she was proud and honored to be inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame.
For over 35 years, Bliss has taught special education, including eight years of service at Bartlesville High School and 14 years at Mid-High.
Bliss’ parents were family friends with a couple who had a son with cerebral palsy. She said she discovered he understood a lot more than he could communicate and watched him light up when his family visited him. She recalled that he loved football and Elvis, and how he had a bubbly personality with a big smile.
The call for a career in special education came to Bliss the summer before her senior year at Owasso High School. Bliss’ mother had her volunteer at Tulsa Children’s Medical Center. On her last day there, Bliss said some children with intellectual disabilities enjoy ice cream. She said a girl was about to lose her ice dip, but she would help feed the girl. As the grateful child smiled at her, Bliss said she felt God speak to her heart, telling her that was how she was supposed to serve. She said she joined Future Teachers of America and went on to earn a special education degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Bliss has spent a decade teaching the toughest special education students in the Sequoyah District, earning a Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Studies from Oklahoma State University. She spent another three years teaching students with learning disabilities in Owasso before coming to Bartlesville to work with students with severe and deep needs. She enjoyed the challenge of working with students who at first glance seemed unable to do anything to identify methods and techniques for them to learn and express their knowledge.
The Special Olympics was also a joy for Bliss, who was Bartlesville’s head coach for decades. Bliss saw students doing their best, winning ribbons and medals that boosted their confidence and at times changed the family’s perception of what the children could do. Teachers and paraprofessionals recalled how much of a mentor Bliss was to them and worked for a long time on lesson plans and Special Olympics.
Bob Pomeroy presented and received the honor on behalf of Betty Turk.
Pomeroy, a Turk alumnus, said she is a strong advocate of critical thinking and believes in an education system that strives for excellence in reading and writing, honors and open-mindedness . He said he would be remembered Turk for his eternal patience, kindness and skill in taking a scallywag like him and understanding the importance of reading many different authors.
Turk encouraged his students to clear their minds and think outside the box. Pomeroy (left photo) said Turk was the first person to help her appreciate poetry, and she encouraged everyone to try writing poetry and / or short stories. He said he was left with appreciation for literature 60 years later. Whatever the circumstances, Pomeroy said Turk found a way to reach out to each of his students.
Turk arrived in Bartlesville in 1946 after teaching for five years in Missouri. Turk taught English literature and speech in high school for 27 years. She continued to consult at the District Alternative School, teach at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, teach non-English speakers, and serve on civic committees and councils. She retired over 45 years ago.
Pomeroy said she inspired her former students to set up a scholarship program in 2008, which has grown to offer four scholarships of $ 1,000 each year to senior citizens who deserve to graduate. Turk died in 2008.
Each year during the Educators Hall of Fame, each inductee receives a $ 1,000 grant to designate Bartlesville public schools as they see fit. Marilyn Blackburn gave her grant of $ 1,000 to Ranch Heights Elementary. Sandy Bliss awarded her $ 1,000 grant to the Special Education Department at Bartlesville High School. And on behalf of Betty Turk, $ 1,000 was awarded to the BHS Language Arts Department.
The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation Educators Hall of Fame serves as a fundraiser for the BPSF. As part of the fundraising effort, the teachers testified about how your support is helping them educate the youth of Bartlesville in an exciting and engaging way.
Danial Karnes, from Bartlesville High School, spoke about the new broadcasting courses at BHS and how the grants have enabled his students to learn more about the broadcasting world. The program has been in existence for two years and has garnered three grants during that time. Karnes said the most recent grant allowed them to purchase a drone so their students could get aerial shots while learning how to use the gadget. He added that he will be taking a course that will also help him create a strong program for his students. BruinTV was created thanks to this program, which can be found on YouTube
Leah Dennis and Julie Eide from Richard Kane Elementary School also expressed their gratitude for your support. A recent grant allowed them to create virtual field trips, which you can read here.
If you would like to donate to the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation, visit bpsfoundation.org.