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May 16, 2014

Jesse wins it by a Hare

DUNCAN — When he was nominated for the Crossman Award, Jesse Hare didn’t think he deserved the recognition, instead insisting one of the other nominees should walk away with in. But on Thursday, the Duncan High School student population let Hare know where he stands.

Hare, 18, is this year’s winner of the Crossman Award, which is the highest individual honor given by the Duncan High School. The school doesn’t have a valedictorian, and award takes the place of that recognition.

The nominees are selected by Duncan High teachers. From that list of candidates, the high school students vote on the winner. This year’s nomination process ended with six students being selected. In addition to Hare, the five other seniors were nominated for the award included Sam Allen, Connor Kelly, Sam Moffatt, Aubrey Mouser and Patrick Sullivan.

“I do not deserve this award,” Hare said. “We have five other phenomenal candidates. If I could divide this award into 1,000 different ways and give it to the community, I would.”

The Crossman Award has been a Duncan High School tradition since 1946, with Wade Koeninger being the first recipient in Duncan. The award originated state-wide in the 1930s, when the Stillwater-based Crossman Insurance Co. started the program as a way to recognize a member of the upcoming graduating class.

As the insurance company ended its run during the Great Depression, many school systems have dropped the award. But the award remains significant for Duncan High School.

Hare, as with previous Crossman winners and candidates, was noted to display high qualities including citizenship, industry, reliability, cooperation, physical vitality, personality, judgment, initiative, leadership and religious attitude.

“It’s really surreal,” Hare said. “It feels like I’m in a dream right now. It’s just incredible.”

He said he owes his station in life to the people around him. His successes are the successes of others. Everything he does, he does in support of the people around him.

Hare recognized what people do for him on a daily basis, whether its handshakes throughout the day or a smile from Mouser or a hug from senior Kaylee Jennings. He said he’s had a strong support system within the high school and feels there were numerous people who were deserving of the Crossman Award.

“It goes back to the individuals around me,” Hare said. “Those are the people who make high school worth living.”

With less than a week of high school remaining, Hare (as Crossman winner) is tapped to speak at graduation. After high school, Hare plans to attend the University of Oklahoma to study political science and law.

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Duncan Vice Mayor Mike Nelson talks during Wednesday's Duncan Rotary meeting.

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