Students and Families Take a Road Trip to the Future to Learn About Oklahoma’s Promise and Other Scholarships

What does a year’s supply of college textbooks cost?

What’s the difference between a community college and a career-tech?

How do you qualify for the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship?

Families and students who attended “The Path Is Right,” a Price Is Right-themed high school trivia night, learned all about the answers to these questions. The K20 Center’s GEAR UP O+K=C team invited 10th- and 11th-grade OKCPS students and their families to learn about FAFSA, Oklahoma’s Promise, college applications, and all things post-high-school graduation.

The free family fun night included an invitation to — and free admission for — the First Americans Museum and Science Museum Oklahoma. Aside from the educational experience offered by either museum, these special GEAR UP presentations showed families how to prepare for college, careers, vocational schools, and other postsecondary pathways.

Those who played rounds of trivia entered a prize raffle. They learned about a plethora of activities for students offered by the GEAR UP O+K=C grant — college campus visits, career exploration, mentoring, and academic readiness activities — as well as the goals and resources behind the grant.

Reinvigorating Family Fun Night

It’s a lot of information to take in. Event organizers, including grant team co-directors Laura Buxton and Ayanna Wheeler, wanted to give students and their parents a chance to learn while fostering a can-do mindset about post-high-school life.

The event featured two versions of the trivia game: one in English and one in Spanish. The K20 Center has recently begun to curate translated versions of its learning resources to better reach Oklahoma City’s students and their families. The K20 Center’s LEARN repository now features all kinds of lessons and resources with Spanish translations available for students, like the language arts lesson Motivations in “The Gift of the Magi,” calculus lesson Making Motion Matter, world languages lesson Kind of Like an Octopus, and history lesson ¡Si Se Puede!

The LEARN repository also features resources centered around helping students understand FAFSA and Oklahoma’s Promise, like the classroom lesson What Is FAFSA? and the educator resource One Life to Live. Both resources help teachers structure discussions around college applications and expenses. How Much Is an Education Worth? includes activities for parents, too.

The Spanish version of “The Path Is Right” was a hit with lots of families in attendance, and moving forward, the GEAR UP O+K=C team hopes to offer more Spanish options to encourage participation.

“We just want to make sure everyone feels welcome and can have a good time,” Buxton said.

“We wanted them to have fun with their families. Not just as students or parents,” said Buxton.

“This is about saving people money — definitely saving some money! And saving people some time and the stress of having to completely learn the difficult stuff on their own. Things like FAFSA, Oklahoma’s Promise, and college applications and essays. They can seem a little bit overwhelming. We want to present it in a fun way and remind everyone of the excitement of making plans for college and what options are out there.”

More GEAR UP O+K=C for Families in the Near Future

As students turn the corner into the spring semester, the GEAR UP O+K=C team also plans to hold more family nights at the schools themselves.

“We will still have some fun opportunities to earn prizes, but we will also provide some hands-on assistance for families whose students need to complete, update, or check in on their Oklahoma’s Promise status,” Buxton said. “That’s something that we will be looking forward to doing for our schools in the spring.”