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Will you RISE UP?

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I’ve watched this several times now, and I’m not going to lie: I get a little emotional. My daughter is only two years out from attending Oklahoma City Public Schools.

 The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools created this video for their annual campaign. They go to many schools and interview all kinds of people – students, volunteers, teachers, administrators. I saw several faces I recognized from spending a week at John Marshall High School. One of those was Ashley Bahtahou. (You can see her at about 1:35 into the video.) I didn’t interview her, but I saw her so many times throughout the week. She’s one of those students who is involved in everything, and you can tell that she’s respected and admired by other students. She was phenomenal during track practice. She was fast, sure, but she was so encouraging of her other teammates. She’s a neat kid.

What she said in the video was so striking to me because it’s the same thing I’ve heard over and over from students and teachers throughout the district: our reputation doesn’t reflect reality. Set aside the reputation and whether you think it’s deserved. To me, the saddest thing is that those kids all know what the city thinks of them. They know what the community says about Oklahoma City Public Schools. Children shouldn’t feel like the world around them expects them to fail. They should feel like everyone expects them to succeed.

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Carrie Coppernoll

Carrie Coppernoll is a columnist and reporter. She was named the top personal columnist in Oklahoma in 2009 and 2010 by the Associated Press and Association of Newspaper Editors. She was also named the 2008 Journalist of the Year by the Oklahoma... Read more ›