In 2014, the Ottawa Police Foundation launched The Police Cadet Program. The program is an opportunity for Ottawa High School students to accelerate their learning and growth in the Law, Public Safety & Security curriculum pathway and to partner with the Ottawa Police Department. Just as 2020 ended, Cadet Audrey Hook was hired by the OPD as the first Cadet to graduate this program.
When Cadet Hook first came to Ottawa High School, her aspirations were to become a lawyer. Over time, she became more partial to the enforcement aspect of law. Candie Campbell, teacher at OHS and overseer of the Law, Public Safety & Security Career Pathway, recalls the attitude Hook possessed that pushed her to accomplish this goal. “She has always been a person of integrity, honor, and willing to assist whomever and whenever she can. She has taken every opportunity I have presented to students to gain additional experiences that the class can not offer,” said Campbell. Campbell also mentioned that Hook, in the summer of 2019, was the first OHS student to attend the Kansas Highway Patrol Cadet Academy. She even worked as an intern for the OPD her senior year at OHS before graduating in May of 2020.
The Police Cadet Program is formally referred to as the Carol Duncan Police Cadet Academic Scholarship. Duncan generously donated for the program to be started back in 2014. The program allows graduates to be hired as a full-time member of the police department after obtaining a college degree which would be completely funded through a scholarship. This not only encourages respective students to earn a degree, but it also provides a secure job. The program will continue to make important and strong strides in both the school district and community.
Hook will be remembered as the pioneer of a new frontier, a strong connection between OHS and the surrounding community. However, this merely marks the beginning of a substantial program, one to be outlined by numerous other projects as an attempt to bring the school and community closer and to ensure the success of OHS students.
by Wyatt Harris