Larry Mocha Named 2014 Partner of the Year
COMMUNITY SUPPORTER: Valley National Bank executives pose with Larry Mocha, center, during a recent event honoring Mocha and his company, APSCO. From left, Dan Keating, Lelia McCoy, Stan Pinkham, Mocha, Shelley Strickland, Tom Biolchini and Brad Scrivner.
STEPHANIE CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
APSCO, Inc. President and Larry Mocha was named Partners In Education’s 2014 Partner of the Year at the annual Partners In Education Recognition Reception in May.
Mocha co-founded OK2GROW, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving high school completion rates, promoting entrepreneurism among youth and developing Tulsa’s workforce pipeline. The organization offers scholarships to young entrepreneurs and oversees the High School Completion Coalition, which meets monthly with community leaders and school administrators to keep students in school. Mocha and his company have partnered with Nathan Hale Jr. High School under the Partners In Education Program.
Each year, the chamber honors people and organizations who support schools through Partners In Education, a 30-year-old partnership between the Chamber and Tulsa Public Schools to connect children and teachers with corporate and volunteer assistance to improve academic and personal growth for students. Other Partners in Education winners include:
Student Champion Award: The winners, Webster High School students Corey and Cortavia Brown, created the “It Stops with Me” anti-bullying group, which created an inclusive support group of students and asked specific teachers to act as safe places for kids to share their bullying experiences.
Principal of Excellence Award: Booker T. Washington Principal James Furch was honored for a long tenure that has earned the respect of his peers. During his tenure, Booker T. Washington has been named one of Newsweek’s top 100 high schools five years in a row.
Public Service Partnership Award: Highland Park Christian Church was honored for donating time and resources to its partner school, Hoover Elementary, including purchasing benches for the school’s playground, donating supplies, beautification projects and hosting a mentor program.
Champions Award: T.D. Williamson, Inc.’s, charity to its partner school, Robertson Elementary, has included providing buses for field trips, purchasing Warehouse Market gift cards for needy families during Christmas and Thanksgiving, and paying the salary of a community schools coordinator.
Award of Excellence: Verizon Wireless’ charity to its partner school, McKinley Elementary, has included providing employee volunteers as lunch buddies and mentors, hosting an annual school drive, providing Angel Tree-style giving during the holidays, and hosting a Thanksgiving food drive that supplied 260 meals to needy families last year.
Outstanding District Partner: Arvest Bank was honored for charity to its partner school, Columbus Elementary, that has included funding a computer lab and school uniforms, having its employees volunteer to translate during parent/teacher conferences, and, at Christmas, giving families wrapping paper, disposable cameras, and helping develop their family Christmas photos.
Valuable Investment Award: Covanta Tulsa Renewable Energy was honored for charitable giving to its partner school, Eugene Field Elementary, including providing snacks, wipes and Kleenex to every teacher and classroom, and buying clothes for students in need.
Outstanding Faith-based Partner (large congregation): Southern Hills Baptist Church’s charity to its partner school, Marshall Elementary, has included adopting classes to help with projects and launching a Sharefest event where congregates have donated time to projects, such as cleaning out a school flower bed, painting classrooms, building bookshelves and installing an indoor track.
Outstanding Faith-based Partner: Restoration Church’s charity to its partner school, East Central High School, has included providing proctors for end of instruction tests, giving teachers gifts during Teacher Appreciation Week, and helping with mother-daughter and father-son breakfasts.
Dedicated Partnership Award: The McLain Foundation, made up of McLain High School alumni, has encouraged McLain students to participate in community activism; it holds college and career fairs and offers tutoring and mentoring.
Outstanding Small Business Partner: HiCORP, Inc., and owner Brad Camp were honored for charity to partner school Eugene Field Elementary that has included encouraging employees to volunteer as lunch or reading buddies, providing field trips to the company’s offices and warehouse, and hosting reading parties for students.
Chittom Challenge Award: “Bandy” Pratip Banyopadhyay, a volunteer at Webster High School, helps teach Algebra and pre-Calculus classes. Nominators said he has turned down numerous paid job offers in favor of his volunteer position and has demonstrated an extreme passion for learning that has made him popular with students.