Education notes: Feb. 20

February 20, 2013 


■ Students from the UK Opera Theatre Academy for Creative Excellence have received two national awards and other national recognition at the 2013 Junior Theater Festival, the world's largest musical theater festival, which took place January 18-20 in Atlanta. This year's festival brought together 4,000 students and teachers representing 82 groups from 23 states.

UK Opera Theatre Academy for Creative Excellence won a Freddie G Outstanding Achievement in Dance and students Joshua Dhir won a Freddie G Outstanding Individual Male Performance. The 34 students presented selections from Disney's Beauty and the Beast JR. for Nick Pramik, director of marketing and partnerships division at Broadway entertainment advertising agency SpotCo, and Karma Camp, choreographer at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The UK Opera Academy of Creative Excellence was one of five educational musical theater groups across the nation to perform as part of the New Works Showcase sponsored by Disney Theatrical Group. The students performed selections from Xanadu JR. for all festival attendees.

Elise Parker, Katie Swim, Carson Hardee and Patrick Garr were four of 80 students who made it to the final call-back for future Broadway Junior shoots for "how-to" choreography videos for soon-to-be released Broadway Junior musicals. The shoots will be taped in New York City this summer.

Additionally, UK Opera Theatre Academy for Creative Excellence students Carson Hardee and Lauren Holland were named to the Broadway JR. All-Stars, made up of two outstanding students from each group at the festival.

Following is the UK Opera Theatre Academy for Creative Excellence cast list for the 2013 Junior Theater Festival:

Alicen Abler, 9th grade, homeschool

Melissa Anderson, 10th grade, Woodford County High School

Emma Becker, 10th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School

Jackson Becker, 6th grade, SCAPA Middle School

Sydney Bullock, 2nd grade, Rosa Park Elementary School

Kimba Butts, 9th grade, Liberal Arts Academy at Henry Clay High School

Harrison Carter, 8th grade, Morton Middle School

Catherine Curtwright, 10th grade, Henry Clay High School

Will Curtright, 8th grade, Morton Middle School

Joshua Dhir, 9th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School

Cooper Fitch, 9th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School

Alex Franke, 12th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School

Patrick Garr, 12th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School

Carson Hardee, 8th grade, SCAPA Middle School

Annie Harris, 3rd grade, Rosa Park Elementary School

Grace Hensley, 4th grade, Mill Creek Elementary

Callan Hogan, 7th grade, Trinity Christian Academy

Aaron Holland, 12th grade, Lafayette High School

Lauren Holland, 9th grade, Lafayette High School

Addison Hollingshead, 5th grade, Maxwell Elementary School

Vivie Kurtz, 3rd grade, Rosa Parks Elementary

Mariah Mowbray, 10th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School and Pre-Engineering Program

Matthew Nassida, 9th grade, Madison Central High School

Hannah Neff, 9th grade, Henry Clay High School

Abbie Paris, 11th grade, Woodford County High School

Elise Parker, 7th grade, SCAPA Middle School

Emily Reed, 10th grade, Model Laboratory School

Vivian Rudd, 5th grade, Ashland Elementary

Michael Saldana, 5th grade, Maxwell Elementary School

Katie Swim, 10th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School

Tre Taylor, 6th grade, Elkhorn Middle School

Margaret Tiennot, 4th grade, Lexington Montessori School

Hannah Beth Turner, 10th grade, Mercer County High School

Abby White, 10th grade, SCAPA Lafayette High School

Automaticus Rex, a Lexington homeschool group, has been named overall champion at the Kentucky First Lego League State Robotics Championship.

The competition at WKU's Diddle Arena featured 39 teams with about 290 participants. The theme of this year's event was Senior Solutions, which called for teams to research and explore the topic of aging and how it may affect a person's ability to maintain his or her lifestyle.

Area award winners are as follows:

Champion's Award (Overall Champion)

First Place: Automaticus Rex, homeschool group, Lexington. Team members are David Gedney, Joseph Gedney, Daniel Houston, Jonas Houston, Philippe Bischel, Matthew Puckett and Damian Lopez. Coached by Stephen Gedney and Carolyn Gedney.

Programming Award

First Place: LEGO Legends 1st Generation, 4-H Club team, Anderson County. Team members are Brandon Gowan, Luke Edwards, Eric Adams, Rio Velasco, Zach Wentz, Nick Gnadinger, Alaina Gnadinger and Katie Kees. Coached by Kelli Gowan, Lisa Schmoetzer and Marie Edwards.

Teamwork Award

First Place: LEGO Legends NXT Generation, 4-H Club, Anderson County. Team members are Andrew Gowan, Isaac Adams, Emily Adams, Ruth Edwards, Annie Edwards, Levi Edwards, Matthew Tingle, Quetzal Velasco and Owen Wentz. Coached by Kelli Gowan, Marie Edwards and Lisa Schmoetzer.

Gracious Professionalism Award

Second Place: General Leeagle, Jessie Clark Middle School, Lexington. Team members are Ramsey Amoudi, Jonathan Browning, Tyler Ferry, Katya Kovatsenko, Ben Maddox, Erin Remley, Sebastian Rojas, Hadieh Zolfagheri and Hossein Zolfagheri. Coached by Mark Evans.

■ On Feb. 8 the Kentucky Music Educators Association presented the 2013 Friend of Music Award to the Schmidt Opera Outreach Program (SOOP) during its annual Professional Development Conference Awards Ceremony in Louisville. This award honors achievement by an individual, organization, or corporation other than one engaged professionally in music education.

In 2003, the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre and the Lexington Opera Society, under the direction of Professor Everett McCorvey, established an opera outreach and education program at the School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts. Since 2007, under the new sponsorship of the William E. Schmidt Foundation, the arts have now become accessible to the children of Kentucky through SOOP.

Using fairy tales, children's stories and American history, accompanied by the operatic music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gioachino Antonio Rossini, Jacques Offenbach and others, SOOP has introduced more than 120,000 Kentucky students in more than 270 schools and 68 counties to the fundamental components, basic terminology, and melodies of opera.

For more information to book or sponsor a SOOP show, contact Courtney Turay at or (859) 402-6946, or visit the program's website at and click on Opera Outreach.

Latin students at Henry Clay High School earned several accolades at the 2013 Kentucky Junior Classical League's state convention, which featured various activities and tests pertaining to the classical world. Ribbon recipients included:

Adrian Wylie, freshman, 1st place in Level I Mythology

Martin Weaver, senior, 1st place in Level III Roman Life

Henry Russell, junior, 1st place in Level IV Derivatives

Angelo Moncado, senior, 2nd place in Level III Mottoes and Abbreviations

Charlie Flomenhoft, senior, 3rd place in Level IV Roman History

Henry Clay's upper-level students also competed in a quick recall-style game called Certamen, placing first overall in the finals. The team members were seniors Cullen Smith, Charlie Flomenhoft and Lenna Wilson and juniors Henry Russell and Grace Campbell.

Thirty-one Henry Clay students attended the Feb. 1-3 conference in Louisville, along with students from 10 other schools around the state. Cullen Smith presided as KJCL president, Grace Campbell served as historian and Thomas Norman as technological coordinator.

Katlyn Sewell, a junior, was elected KJCL parliamentarian for 2013-14 and will represent this district at the 60th annual national convention July 22-27 at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Amiya Mohanty, professor emeritus and adjunct professor of sociology at Eastern Kentucky University, has been selected as a Fulbright Specialist.

The selection was made on behalf of the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board, the U.S. Department of States Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Mohanty has accepted an invitation from Ravenshaw University in India to serve as a Fulbright Specialist in Sociology and Social Research this Fall.

■ On Feb. 10, Paul Laurence Dunbar captured its eighth title in the large varsity division of the National High School Cheerleading Championships, sponsored by the Universal Cheerleaders Association. Also on Feb. 10 in Orlando, Dunbar won the second annual World Competition with the top score of all divisions.

Henry Clay High School, coached by Betsy Lowry Montgomery and Lauren Brooks, won a second consecutive UCA national title in the junior varsity coed division. Dunbar's JV placed third.

Beaumont and Morton middle schools also participated in the UCA contests, held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. The program will be televised this spring.

Dunbar will represent the 11th Region in the KHSAA state championship Saturday at Western Kentucky University. These squads are coached by Donna Martin, Maggie Farmer and Bethany Roll, and choreographed by Saleem Habash.

Crystal Land, a junior at Bryan Station High School, captured the girls' singles title at the KHSAA Bowling Championships Feb. 7 in Louisville. She bowled a five-game total 1,092, which was good for a 20-point victory.

James Apo of Henry Clay High and Kyle Gillespie of Lafayette High were the only other FCPS students in the 2013 state singles competition. They finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in the boys' division.

Bryan Station's bowling teams are coached by Crystal's mother, Danette Land, a budget analyst at "It's About Kids" Support Services.

■ In the 2013 Fayette County Invitational Archery Tournament, Paul Laurence Dunbar took first-place team honors in the high school division. Lafayette came in third, and Tates Creek was fifth. Beaumont Middle School, the host site, was runner-up in the middle division and third in the elementary field.

Lafayette's Seanna Bryant set the pace for FCPS individual archers in the tournament, which also included a half-dozen schools from outside Lexington. Seanna scored a 278 out of a possible 300, followed by Tates Creek's Katherine Bennington with a 276. They finished second and third, respectively, in the girls' division.

The Fayette County Archery Championships will be March 16 at Tates Creek High School. And for the first time, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association this year will conduct archery contests at the regional and state levels.

■ The AMC 8 is a 25-question, 40-minute multiple-choice math exam designed to promote the development of problem-solving skills. Roughly 150,000 middle school students from dozens of countries take this American Mathematics Competitions exam each fall, including youngsters in Fayette County Public Schools.

These students were top scorers on the November 2012 exam.

From Winburn Middle School: 1st place, Ben Xie (who scored in the top 1 percent of all scores); 2nd place, David Ma and Austin Li; 3rd place, Amy Wang and Cici Mao.

From Lexington Traditional Magnet School: 1st place, Emily Liu; 2nd place, Joshua Ku; 3rd place, Hemanth Sontenam.

Sixth-graders who received a Certificate of Achievement included Max Bograd, Austin Li and Shasha Bhatt, all of Winburn.

■ The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program, has selected Virginia Newsome as one of Kentucky's top two youth volunteers for 2013. Virginia was nominated by Lafayette High School, where she is a senior.

Virginia created heARTS Inc., a nonprofit that collects and donates musical instruments, puppets, costumes, and other visual and performing arts supplies. The idea is that schools and students share surplus supplies with others who need them.

In its first year, heARTS provided more than $50,000 in goods and services for children in the United States, Guatemala, Haiti and elsewhere. Virginia's use of social media and her public-speaking skills have helped to grow heARTS, and she has appointed area directors across the U.S. and in Mexico.

As a state honoree, Virginia will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and a trip in early May to Washington, D.C., for several days of national recognition events. Kentucky's other honoree is a fifth-grader in Louisville.

Betsy Matthews, an associate professor in criminal justice and police studies at Eastern Kentucky University, has been appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to a three-year term on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.

Matthews, who joined EKU in 1999, coordinates the online bachelor's degree program in corrections and juvenile justice studies.


■ The Relay for Life team organized by Fayette County Public Schools will host a Walk it! Run it! Cure it! 5K on March 16 to raise money for cancer research.

The registration fee is $25, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

The USATF-certified course will wind through Keeneland and is capped at 1,500 runners/walkers. Awards will be given to the Top 10 women, Top 10 men, Top 10 children ages 11 to 14 and Top 10 children age 10 and younger.

Participants who sign up by Feb. 28 will receive a registration gift. Race packets can be picked up from 5:30 to 8 p.m. March 14 at Swim Bike Run of Kentucky, 320 North Ashland Avenue, and from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on race day at Keeneland. Enter the grounds at Gate 2, drive past the gate house, and park in the large lot on the right.


■ The Center for Rural Development is accepting applications through March 4 from eighth-grade middle school students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky interested in developing their skills in math, science, and technology this summer at the 2013 Rogers Explorers youth leadership program.

The three-day, two-night program provides hands-on learning experiences in these career fields and builds leadership skills, all while letting students experience living on a college campus.

The 2013 summer sessions of Rogers Explorers will be held June 2-4 at Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia; June 5-7, University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg; July 21-23, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond; and July 24-26 at Morehead State University, Morehead.

For more information, call (606) 677-6000 or visit to download an application. All applications must be completed and mailed to The Center for Rural Development, 2292 South U.S. 27, Suite 300, Somerset, KY 42501, by March 4 deadline.

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