Newcomers to Stillwater had better enjoy the title, because they won’t feel like strangers for very long. People here embrace new neighbors, and make sure they know all about the local amenities. And there’s plenty to talk about – top-notch schools and nearby Oklahoma State University, a thriving parks and recreation system, an active and involved nonprofits community and much more.
On the academic side, Stillwater’s got plenty to brag about. Stillwater Public Schools is one of the highest achieving districts in the state. It operates on two district tracks, college prep and vocational/agricultural, so that all of its graduates are ready for a successful career.
“Those on the college prep track take advantage of many advanced-placement classes, and during their senior year, more than 70 percent of SHS students enroll in concurrent college classes at Oklahoma State University or Northern Oklahoma College,” says Dr. Ann Caine, superintendent. “Students on a vocational path have similar opportunities. In 2009, more than 100 students took concurrent classes at Meridian Technology Center in preparation for careers in industry, technology and health care. SHS also has dedicated agricultural programs housed in a recently completed Agricultural Education Facility.”
For its part, OSU works to embrace both the schools and the whole community at large, says Gary Shutt, director of communications. “Oklahoma State and Stillwater have joined together for 120 years to create a quintessential college town,” Shutt says. “With its diversity of people and expansive expertise, OSU greatly enhances the city's quality of life and cultural opportunities, and OSU students add a youthful vibrancy. At the same time, the Stillwater community provides a supportive, friendly and safe environment for OSU students and employees.”
Stillwater’s thriving arts and cultural scene ensures plenty to do after hours and on the weekends. Everything from the legendary Town and Gown Theatre, which has been putting on plays and musicals for almost 60 years, to major events that include the Stillwater Blues Festival and the Arts & Heritage Festival, are strong draws for the entire region.
For those wanting to get outside, there’s everything from fishing on Lake McMurtry to clubs and leagues for just about every sport imaginable. There’s also the annual Boomer Blast boat race and family festival held every July 4.
Along with all the college-style vibe Stillwater offers, it has plenty of quiet oases as well. New developments and condominiums abound with amenities, while many older neighborhoods are loaded with large trees and gracious homes, with plenty of front porches and sidewalks where neighbors congregate to catch up on the events of the day.
Residents also gather to help out the community when needed, says Sheri Carter, executive director of the Stillwater Area United Way. “People are so friendly here,” Carter says. “When the letter carriers had a food drive, it brought in enough to fully stock four food banks for an entire summer. You see people pitching in like that for us, and for other organizations in the area. This is probably the easiest community in the world to be a United Way director; they all want to know what they can do next.”