Shane Harris--100 Alumni You Should Know

Shane Harris--100 Alumni You Should Know


By Tailor Finney

As a Class of 1998 graduate, Shane Harris has put his Vocal Music Performance degree to the test.

Twenty years later, Harris is now an award-winning singer/songwriter and has served in orchestras, bands, and churches as a guitarist, bassist, percussionist, and vocalist. He is also proficient with the Native American flute, so proficient that one of his compositions was featured as background music for an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Though he has now focused his time teaching, he still continues to write and record with the group Orange and Atlas.

Harris is now in his 9th year as a teacher at Chickasha Public Schools, where he teaches 6th grade Social Studies and Geography and Reading at Lincoln Elementary School. He began to develop what would be his teaching philosophy during his time at USAO.

“My experiences at USAO served as an example of the type of professional I wanted to be,” said Harris. “I graduated with the desire to be an inspiration to others and now I continually push my students to be the best through encouragement, support, and high expectations just like my professors did with me.”

Since his graduation, Harris has made various appearances back on campus. He played in the alumni recital held in the chapel during Homecoming weekend a few years ago and made an on-stage appearance in the theater production of '1940's Radio Hour'.

“He is always growing his career, whether it be musically or as a teacher,” said Jan Hanson, Professor of Music. “He rocked the on-stage band with his bass guitar when we did '1940’s Radio Hour'!”

Though music continues to be a staple in Harris’s lifestyle and has led to multiple accomplishments, he attributes his greatest professional accomplishments to his students.

“There is no reward greater than watching my students succeed,” said Harris. “Watching students grow from the beginning of a new school year to the end, it is a true joy.”

Harris acknowledges that these roots of his teaching passion began with the familial atmosphere of USAO and his specific professors during his time.

“By far, my greatest take-away from my time at USAO was the inspiration I received from my professors and good friends,” said Harris. “There is never a door closed at USAO. No matter what you need, there is always someone ready and willing to help whether it is a professor, friends, or alum… USAO feels like a family.”