The Golden Bears of Oakdale

Maxwell Kasten, Writer

The Golden Bear is an award given to Oakdale High School students and staff on accounts of spontaneous behavior shown in the Oakdale community.


Mr. Michael Gough, a mathematics teacher at Oakdale, founded the Golden Bear. He explains  the purpose of the award is “to recognize a student and staff member whose character reflects the best of the Oakdale Community.”


According to graduated senior Romel Freeman, “It recognized a senior and a teacher chosen by the senior class and staff who basically practice the meaning of “lead today, lead tomorrow” as an Oakdale bear.”


Mr. Gough thinks this is an award worth being proud of. “I hope this becomes the award that every student strives to win.” Being presented this award is an honor to anyone who receives it, and should be seen as so.


“Graduating seniors will nominate a staff member that had a positive influence on their lives. From that list, I selected the top 12 and then the seniors voted from that ballot. The same process was done for the Student Award where staff nominated and then voted for a senior.” Mr. Gough goes through the process of the award selection.


He came up with the award by many different steps. “I spoke with numerous staff members and we finely tuned the vision of the award.  I then spoke with the Bear Pride committee and Ms. Clabaugh and they were on board.”


Romel didn’t know much about it; he just knew that it was a new product and that it recognized good character and activity among Oakdale students and staff.


The reason that Mr. Gough introduced the Golden Bear award to Oakdale was that it displays character among students and staff. He states, “I used to teach at Governor Thomas Johnson, and they had a similar award. The school is full of students and staff members that display incredible character day in and day out and we wanted an award that wasn’t related to academics or athletics.”


The student who was selected from forty nominees was Travis Dover, due to his hard work and gentle attitude. The selected staff member from fifty-two nominees was English teacher Jennifer Cole, due to her positive attitudes and willingness to help students in their writing.


The award resembles courtesy, character, pride, and being a good person. Not everyone will receive it, it’s for one senior and one teacher. It truly is an honorable thing to receive.


If you know anyone who received the award, let them know they’re doing great things for the community and for the future.