■ Jacob Blevins, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, won first-place honors and a $500 prize for his Write Stuff essay about living with cancer.
Nearly 140 teens in grades 6 through 12 from across Kentucky and Southern Indiana shared their personal experiences and reflections on what it's like — either dealing with their own condition or someone close to them — through essays submitted to Gilda's Club Louisville. The judges tapped several high school and middle school entries for first, second and third place and honorable mention.
"It took about three months into the illness before I began to realize that the words of encouragement were as much for the speaker as they were for me," Jacob wrote, in an excerpt. "I started to understand that they were waging their own battles with the realization that childhood cancer is more than just a donation box at McDonald's. These people were experiencing a crippling fear for the kids in their own lives, and I was witnessing their reaction firsthand."
The nonprofit Gilda's Club Louisville provides a place where children and adults with cancer and their families and friends can build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. Visit Gildasclublouisville.org or call (502) 583-0075 for more details.
■ Paul Laurence Dunbar High School took first place in the junior varsity division of quick recall at the Thoroughbred Academic League of Central Kentucky tournament Jan. 14, which Dunbar hosted. The team, which included Zainab Kahloon, Ananth Miller-Murthy, Shaoyi Sheng and Adil Yusuf, has also been awarded a bid to the first JV national quiz bowl tournament. The Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence event will be in Washington, D.C., in May.
Henry Clay High's JV team, which includes Samichhya Aryal, Sajana Dumre, Alexis Hammons, Rebika Khanal, Hye Jee Kim and Jodi Kirkner, placed third in this month's Thoroughbred contest. In the varsity division, Henry Clay was runner-up with Carson Dooley, Michael Kamer, Alex King, Paula Ortiz, Sydney Smith and David Stevens, while Tates Creek High came in third with Hiatt Allen, Ben Childress, Ian Hafley and Nolan Phillips.
■ Valerie Sarge, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, has been named one of the 300 semifinalists in this year's Intel Science Talent Search, the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition. She was the only student chosen from Kentucky.
Valerie, whose topic was Synthesis of Benzodifuran Derivatives for Solar Cells, will receive a $1,000 award for her research. Dunbar also will receive $1,000 to further her education in science, math and engineering.
Forty finalists will be invited to Washington, D.C., in March to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists and compete for monetary awards.
■ A student team from Mercer County High School is one of two Kentucky winners of the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, a national competition in which students develop a mobile application concept that addresses a need or problem in their local schools or communities. The other Kentucky school team is from Meyzeek Middle School in Jefferson County.
Now in its second year, the Verizon Innovative App Challenge selected the best app concepts submitted by student teams across the United States and named qualifying teams from one high school and one middle school in each state as Best in State winners. The teams from Mercer County High and Meyzeek Middle were chosen from nearly 1,300 teams nationwide who entered the contest. They are two of 80 Best in State teams that will vie for the titles of Best in Region, and ultimately, Best in Nation.
Mercer County High designed an app that would help people save commonly used medical forms, prescription reminders and information about important medical issues. Meyzeek Middle designed an app that would help teachers or coaches take appropriate action based on the symptoms they see when encountering student medical emergencies.
■ Trinity Christian Academy is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. As a part of its yearlong celebration, TCA is presenting Michael Card in concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Tates Creek Presbyterian Church, 3900 Rapid Run Drive. Admission is free.
■ The Lexington Chinese School's 2014 Chinese New Year Celebration will be 3-5 p.m. Feb. 2 at Lexington Christian Academy, 450 West Reynolds Road. Admission is free and includes a stage performance featuring Chinese dance and music by Lexington Chinese School students and invited performers. For information, go to Lexingtonchineseschool.org.
■ The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet's 4th annual Capture the Earth middle school digital photography contest is underway for all Kentucky students in grades 6-8.
Judges will look for originality and creativity, photo composition and a brief explanation of how well the photograph celebrates the beauty and diversity of Kentucky and encourages others to care about the state's environment through stewardship and conservation.
EEC will accept entries until 4:30 p.m. April 4. The winner will receive lodging for two nights at a Kentucky State Resort Park of the winner's choosing with his or her family. Middle school students may email one photograph as an attachment to Kidsphotocontest@ky.gov. Official contest rules are available at http://eec.ky.gov/Pages/earthday.aspx.
■ Wellington Elementary and the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park are celebrating the Year of the Horse with an exhibit, "Shodo: The Art of Japanese Brush Painting," which features calligraphy created by third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.
Vanessa Shepherd's students used black Japanese ink (sumi) and bamboo brushes (fude) to paint the character for the word horse (uma) on rice paper, along with their names in the katakana alphabet.
The artwork of about 45 children is in the museum until April 18. For hours and other details, visit Imh.org. Their pieces will then be displayed in Wellington's media center April 21-25 and at the Kentucky World Language Association's state showcase April 26.
Shepherd's project was part of this year's focus on integrating arts and world languages at Wellington Elementary using a $10,000 grant from the Kentucky Department of Education. Other events have included a Noh theater performance and taiko drumming workshop, and a Japanese storyteller is scheduled for Feb. 7.
■ Applications are being accepted for six $500 scholarships for women entering college after high school or entering college after time away from school. The scholarships will be presented at Bluegrass Alliance for Women's annual Legacy Award Luncheon on March 25 at the Clarion Hotel.
Applicants must live in one of the counties in the Bluegrass Area Development District: Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Nicholas, Powell, Scott or Woodford.
Completed applications are due by Feb. 18. The application forms can be downloaded at Bluegrassallianceforwomen.com.