By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Charles Page High School's Frank V. Cooper was awarded the 2016 Oklahoma Medal of Excellence in Secondary Teaching by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Sunday.
Cooper is only the third Sandite to receive the Medal of Excellence, and the first to win it for Secondary Education. Susan Edwards received the inaugural Medal of Excellence in Elementary Teaching in 1987. Superintendent Lloyd Snow received the Medal of Excellence for Administration in 2015, and the Sand Springs Education Foundation was recognized with the now defunct Medal of Excellence for Local Education Foundations in 2004.
Cooper sacrificed a promising legal career in 1993 to pursue a more fulfilling existence challenging the minds and inspiring the hears of Sand Springs's young people.
The social studies and leadership teacher is a man of many coats, sometimes donning the tights, helmet, and golden cape of Captain Sandite at pep assembles and football games. Every January 8th he can be found in full Elvis Presley attire, celebrating the King's birthday. He's even been known to impersonate the International Man of Mystery from time to time.
The beloved community leader has previously received the University of Tulsa Secondary School Teacher Award for Inspiration, has twice been named the CPHS Teacher of the Year, and was a 2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalist. In 2014 he was featured on NBC's Today Show in a segment called "American Story."
Earlier this year, the Board of County Commissioners of Tulsa County declared March 22, 2016 to be Frank Cooper Day across the County. Though the proclamation was only for the year 2016, it wouldn't be surprising if the students of Charles Page adopt it as an annual holiday.
It wouldn't be the first time that Cooper has received such an honor.
In February of 2014 the high school dedicated the 100 hallway, in which Cooper's classroom is located, to the teacher and mounted a "Cooper Hall" plaque over the entrance to the hall.
Cooper never lets an opportunity pass to remind his students that they're important, he loves them, and
"the joy of life is in the journey!"
This story was originally published in the Sandite Pride News Weekly Sunday edition.