Education notes: Jan. 2

January 2, 2013 


• The Kentucky Youth Assembly is a three-day experiential learning conference in which students participate in a simulation of the commonwealth's democratic process.

The Sayre Upper School delegation to the 2012 Kentucky Youth Assembly was recognized as a "Delegation of Excellence," making an impressive mark at this year's conference in several ways.

The 2012 KYA officers (senior Mason Hill and sophomore Forrest Courtney) presided over much of the conference happenings as speaker and premier speaker, respectively, of the House. Other seniors tapped as leaders at this year's conference included senior Shannai Brooks-Jackson as solicitor-general and senior Jack Simon as Legislative Committee chair.

Sayre's judicial team members (sophomores Sam Dawahare and Jon Pezzi and junior Elizabeth Mechas) were recognized for winning both their cases. Sayre's legislative bill authors (sophomores Alexine Carr, Elisabeth Dawahare, Madison Montgomery and John Newton) were recognized for presentation in the Capitol chambers. Sayre's premier bill authors (freshmen Clay Barnett, Jesse Klus and Sam Waltman) were recognized for having their bill passed in both the House and Senate.

Sayre School students recognized individually for a number of awards were: Will Pagan, junior, Outstanding Delegate; John Newton, sophomore, Outstanding Speaker; and Chauncey Hill, sophomore, Media Corp Video Editing Award. John Schwarcz was chosen as the graduating senior to preside over next year's congressional program; Elizabeth Mechas, junior, and Jon Pezzi, sophomore, were chosen to be justices on next year's Supreme Court; and Lucie Allen, freshman, was elected premier president of the Senate. For more information or questions, visit

■ The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service has awarded Fayette County Public Schools a $45,000 Farm to School planning grant, which will improve access to local foods in eligible schools. The goal is to help students understand the connections between local food and science, agriculture, nutrition and health. The federal grant will enable FCPS to expand its Farm to School program districtwide.

Several pilot sites in FCPS already have provided in-school taste tests, field trips, community events and educational opportunities in the classrooms.

During the next year, FCPS will be part of a cohort of schools and districts planning Farm to School programs and sharing their processes, successes and lessons learned. FCPS representatives will attend monthly webinars and a springtime face-to-face meeting, use USDA's Farm to School modules to develop an implementation plan, and participate in an online communications and sharing forum.

Lexmark International recently recognized two educators in Fayette County Public Schools with its INSPIRE Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding Central Kentucky middle and high school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers. Scott Diamond, a science teacher at The Learning Center at Linlee, and Sonia Fullwood, a math teacher at Carter G. Woodson Academy, received the awards.

Lexmark presented each teacher with a $1,000 award for STEM education.

Mary Elizabeth McKnight of Lexington Traditional Magnet School is among six Kentucky educators chosen for the New Science Teacher Academy, organized by the National Science Teachers Association. Nationwide, 244 teachers were selected as fellows for 2012-13. They will participate in a yearlong professional development program designed to promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence, and improve content knowledge.

McKnight, a Lexington native, earned a bachelor's degree in biology at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., and a master's in education at the University of Kentucky. She is in her third year teaching at LTMS.

Henry Clay High School dominated the Lexington League of Women Voters' annual essay contest, which encouraged students to examine and assess their understanding of a recent Supreme Court decision. Top honors and $250 went to Amir Abou-Jaoude, a freshman in the Liberal Arts Academy, for "That Clinking Clanking Sound ... That's What Makes Elections Go Round." Emily Salamanca was runner-up ($150), and Kayla Beebout took third place ($100).

This year was the first time that one class at one school swept all three prizes. (The essays are scored blind with no identifying information.) Social studies and government teacher Scott Brown received all three honorariums totaling $200.

Stacy Vincent of Fayette County won the Kentucky Farm Bureau Discussion Meet, a debate-styled competition for young farmers that relies on an individual's skill in reasoning and logical discussion of issues.

Vincent bested 14 other entrants in the event, winning a Kawasaki MULE donated by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company and Jacobi Sales. He also won a trip to the national finals in Nashville as part of the 94th American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting, Jan. 13-16.

Runner-up in the state meet was Vince Gill of Carlisle County, who received $1,000 from KFB.

The two other finalists in the state-level contest were Mike Meyer of Harrison County and Janella Miller of Pulaski County. They each received $200 from KFB.


■ Students in the Spanish Immersion Program at Bryan Station High School recently lent their expertise to help Santa Claus and Lexington post offices make the holidays special for Spanish-speaking children in the area.

U.S. Postal Service customer relations coordinator Susan Wright had contacted teacher Maria Ayub and asked for her students' help in translating Santa's reply to kids' wish lists.

■ Fayette County is home to several schools that have earned Energy Star certification for 2012. This joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy aims to help save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.

District energy and sustainability leaders Britney Thompson and Tresine Logsdon congratulated 12 honorees at the Dec. 17 Board of Education meeting: Arlington, Athens-Chilesburg, Harrison, James Lane Allen, Meadowthorpe, Russell Cave, Wellington, William Wells Brown and Yates elementary schools, and Bryan Station, Jessie Clark and Leestown middle schools.

■ At its Dec. 17 regular meeting, the Fayette County Board of Education approved the 2013-17 District Facilities Plan, which now goes to the Kentucky Board of Education. The plan calls for several new schools, major renovations and routine updates at various sites, including the main district offices. The school board will set the priorities for each biennium.

A public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in Conference Room C of "It's About Kids" Support Services, 701 East Main Street. For more information, call (859) 381-4165.

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