Each year, Oklahoma City University presents the Bishop’s Scholar Award to three deserving students as a part of its effort to identify and support academically advanced United Methodist youths who are committed to careers in Christian service. We are very proud to announce here the Bishop’s Scholars for 2015.
Before her senior year in high school, Jenny Johnson knew she was called to youth ministry and she was destined for OCU. From her home in Arlington, Texas, Jenny had researched United Methodist-affiliated universities that offer a degree specializing in youth ministry. One was just up the road in Oklahoma City!
Before making that trek, however, she’s immersed herself in nationally ranked choir and cheerleading programs at James Martin High School. Her peers and teachers recognized her leadership qualities.
She brought that same degree of commitment to her local church service. She has been active at First UMC, Fort Worth. Church member Ann McIntyre witnessed Jenny’s caring spirit at a camp for children with special challenges.
"Jenny was assigned a camper that had significant emotional, physical, and behavioral issues," McIntyre said. "It was a joy to observe her selflessly caring for this young camper. Jenny frequently missed meals and lost sleep in order to care for her camper."
Lauren Huntley was clear about her primary goal during high school: to serve God any way possible. She lived out that mission through a number of activities.
At Latta High School she exercised leadership in a number of organizations, including Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Speech and Theatre, and the Academic Bowl team, and as editor of the yearbook. She excelled in the classroom and in relationships with people of diverse age groups.
Her passion for serving God and others found even greater expression in her local church, Ada-First UMC.
As head of the church’s youth leadership team, she helped create volunteer positions for students, assisted in worship planning, and helped build an intergenerational community within the church. She served on a mission team in New Orleans and with Youth Force Duncan.
In recommending Lauren for this scholarship, Elisabeth Rogers wrote, "Whether she is using high energy to get the children in worship to sing and praise or involving a shy, reluctant teen into joining a discussion, Lauren has a wonderful, God-given ability to lead and involve other people." Rogers is Children’s Ministry director at the church.
Peyton Wagner already feels at home on OCU’s campus. She’s attended the OCU Stars Youth Service Day several times and visited friends enrolled at OCU.
She looks forward to joining students and faculty who share her passion for youth ministry. She already knows some of them, from CYME and North/South OKC District camps, Youth Force, and the Conference Council on Youth Ministries.
Peyton also has been active in her home church, OKC-New Hope, working in Vacation Bible School and serving on the youth council.
At Deer Creek High School, she played basketball and soccer, edited the yearbook, and mentored freshmen.
Her love of children motivated her to serve as a daycare teacher, help at an Infant Crisis Center, and volunteer at a children’s hospital. She originally planned to become an elementary school teacher, but acknowledging her call to ministry set her on a different path.
That call came at CYME camp last summer.
We encourage you to identify your church’s youths who express interest and abilities in ministry. Help them apply to become a Bishop’s Scholar and for other scholarships to OCU. Visit www.okcu.edu/campus/religious-life/umc-scholarships/index or contact Rita Himes, 405-208-5060, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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