Each year, Oklahoma City University presents the Bishop’s Scholar Award to deserving new high-school graduates as part of its effort to identify and support academically advanced United Methodist youths who are committed to a career in Christian service to the church. OCU is proud to announce the Bishop’s Scholars for 2013.
Sarah Wasikowski – Beyond the Minimum
Sarah Wasikowski remembers when, as a small child, she watched her father set up 300 chairs for worship each week in the gym of First UMC, Keller, Texas. She has grown along with the church, which now numbers more than 1,000 in worship. Her servant heart and spiritual devotion are leading Sarah to pursue full-time ministry.
She excelled in high school, was named a National Commended Scholar, and was a member of the All-State Women’s Chorus. At her church, Sarah has been active in the youth group and led the music two years in the large Vacation Bible School.
Lynne Rhodes, director of Youth Ministries at Keller-First UMC, commended Sarah as a person of exceptional leadership abilities and committed faith. Rhodes said the teen thinks theologically in order to understand her world both locally and globally.
Stanton Cole, Sarah’s World History teacher, wrote, "She did not turn in projects that just met the minimum, but sought to find a new way to approach the subject in her own way."
Jordan Pittillo – Beyond Just Getting Things Done
Jordan Pittillo is not content to observe others engaging in ministry. At Bixby-First UMC, Jordan serves as a youth representative on the Administrative Council and chairs the Hospitality Committee. She engages in mission locally and with Red Bird Mission in Kentucky.
But participation in youth programs is where she found her passion. In 2010 at Dayspring East, she first felt the call to youth ministry. She has nurtured that calling as a Leader in Training at Journey Camp, by giving her testimony to her youth group and the congregation, and by bringing others to church.
Jordan excelled academically in high school. Her school yearbook adviser said this student has "motivation, ability, creativity, and organization to go beyond just getting things done. Jordan gets things done, but in an exceptional way."
Bixby UMC Youth Leader Liz Thiemann agreed. "Jordan embodies all of the qualities we hope for in the youth: honesty, loving, compassionate, and a strong commitment to God."
Morgan Mitchell – Beyond What Is Expected
"A true love for Christ and a strong desire to teach others." These words from Thiemann echo the testimony of many others regarding Morgan Mitchell, who also comes from Bixby-First UMC.
Morgan has been active at the church through the Administrative Council, Vacation Bible School, and three mission trips, including one to Belize this summer. She has paid close attention to the faith shown her at summer camps and in her local church. She wants to be a leader, as Jesus modeled servant leadership, and to live out her faith by "being the Church" in all aspects of her life.
English teacher Monika Meadows recognized Morgan’s leadership skills in the way she challenged herself during high school with college-level classes, excellence in academics, and having fun along the way.
"She goes above and beyond what is expected of her on a daily basis," Meadows wrote. "Her commitment to her community, class, school, and her academics is admirable."
Maggie Ball, vice president for University-Church Relations, noted that applicants not awarded the Bishop’s Scholarship often are eligible for other scholarship assistance. Clergy and laypersons are urged to identify youths in your congregations who express interest in ministry; encourage them to apply to become a Bishop’s Scholar and for other scholarships. Visit www2.okcu.edu/religiouslife/scholarships.aspx or contact Rita Himes, 405-208-5060, firstname.lastname@example.org