January Student of the Month: McAlester's Rhylan Riddel

Mar. 18—Where do you want to go to college and why?

I want to attend the University of Oklahoma because I believe it will give me both a good education and a good college experience.

What is your list of accomplishments including scholarships received?

Academic All-State Nominee, Gold Star Ambassador (KTC), National Honor Society Inductee, 2nd English III Academic Competition, McAlester News-Capital Student of the Month, Rotary Club Student of the Month, Singles and Doubles State Qualifier (Tennis)

31 ACT Score

Class Rank 3 of 186

GPA 4.29

UT San Antonio- Distinguished Pres Scholarship ($4000), Competitive Scholarship Waiver ($15,000); UT Dallas- Academic Excellence Scholarship ($24,000); OU- Regents Inst Nominee RTW ($4920), OAS Institutional Nominee ($3500)

What drives you to succeed?

My mother drives me to succeed, she sacrificed a lot when I was younger so that I can have the opportunities and support system that I have now. It would be a disservice to my mother to waste the potential that I only have because of her.

Who inspires you to excel in school and why?

W. E. B. Du Bois. He was the first black man to earn a PhD from Harvard and his quote: "It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work , and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime," helps me to stay on track and remember that now is the time to invest into my future with education.

What community activities are you involved in and what drives you to give back to the community?

I frequently volunteer for American Cancer Society events. I believe it is important that we build a community that can support each other in times of health crisis, especially with a disease as devastating as cancer. In 2022 approximately 1.9 million people were diagnosed with cancer; the disease continues to be the second leading cause of death in the world, making it an issue that will in some way affect all of us.

What are your extracurricular activities and how do they improve your education?

I am in the National Honor Society and I have played tennis all four years of high school. I believe tennis has taught me discipline and it has built up my work ethic. Many things that you learn over the years in athletics can be translated into your education and the real world when you are an adult.

How would a new car help achieve your future goals?

While I am blessed and thankful to have a car, it has many miles on it and the tires are faulty. I am attending OU in the fall and I am going to have to work while going to college and I would like to come back to McAlester and visit my family. A new car would greatly benefit me as I could have a more reliable and safe vehicle to drive.

— Adrian O'Hanlon III