education notes

Education notes: June 10

June 9, 2014 


■ A team from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School has won the Kentucky State Envirothon Competition for 2014. This is Fayette County's fourth win in five years. This an annual event sponsored by the Kentucky Division of Conservation and held in the 4-H Leadership Conference Center in Jabez. The two-day event covered forestry, soils, wildlife, aquatics and sustainable agriculture. Each member of the winning team received a $500 scholarship from Dow Corning Corp. Team members were George Simpson, Jinny Han, Jasmine Liu, Lucy Yang, and Theo Libas.

Fayette County's other teams, also from Dunbar, finished seventh and eighth. The senior group included Seony Han, Alice Li, Ellinor Tai, Philip Ewing and Sharif Jamaldin; the freshman team included Amit Lohe, Amy Wang, Emily Li, Yoon Cho and Thurisan Wanakumar.

Big Ass Solutions has selected Vincent Cao, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, as the first recipient of the $40,000 Big Ass Scholars college scholarship and internship. Vincent will ​intern with the fan and light manufacturer this summer before starting classes at Stanford University in the fall. Company officials said Vincent was chosen because of his background in scientific research both ​at ​home and abroad, as well as his keen insight into his goals.

LexArts and The Virtual Quilt, an online, digital project that showcases students' original artwork, has awarded $5,000 to Fayette County Public Schools art programs. Prizes will be awarded through LexArts at the 2014 Give Into the Groove fund-raising event at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on June 21.

The Virtual Quilt allows users to upload images of artwork for inclusion in an online exhibit and interactive community experience. Throughout the spring, students were encouraged to upload images of new or pre-existing original artwork to

Ashland Elementary and Bryan Station High School will each receive $1,000; $750 each will go to Liberty Elementary and Northern Elementary; and $500 each to Breckenridge Elementary and Cardinal Valley Elementary. An additional $500 will be awarded to Ashland Elementary for submitting the most artwork to the quilt, a total of 247 originals.

Each school's virtual quilt is available online and will also be exhibited at Whitaker Bank Ballpark June 21. Select pieces from the exhibit will also be on display at the downtown Lexington Public Library this month.

The Leestown Middle School orchestra and the SCAPA at Bluegrass middle school band recently earned honors at Music in the Parks competitions.

The Leestown group was rated superior at the May 24 music festival, hosted by Loveland High School in Ohio, and ranked fourth overall out of 24 choral, band and orchestra ensembles. In addition, the Leestown students received the Esprit de Corps Trophy, which goes to the group demonstrating proper social behavior and encouragement of others. The orchestra is directed by Nathan Wilson.

Meanwhile, SCAPA's band brought home Best Overall Performance honors from the Music in the Parks regional competition May 17 in Kings Island, Ohio. For the second year in a row, the SCAPA band received the Best in Class award for middle/junior high concert band and earned 97.3 out of 100 possible points — the highest score regardless of class. The SCAPA students are led by band director Robin Barker and assistant Karen Akel.

The Music in the Parks competition includes elementary, middle and high school bands, choirs and orchestras from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

■ The following students in Fayette County Public Schools have received nominations to the United States service academies, or military academies, which provide undergraduate education and training of commissioned officers for the nation's armed forces: Caleb Clay of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School — Military Academy (West Point), Air Force Academy, Naval Academy; Nathaniel Gillespie of Lafayette High School — Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy; Ethan Curl of Tates Creek High School — Naval Academy; and Sean Patrick of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School — Naval Academy.

U.S. Representatives, Senators, the Vice President and the President may nominate a limited number of students each year to four of the five service academies (Coast Guard applicants follow a different process). Each academy then selects which students will receive an appointment to attend. The admissions process is extensive and competitive, and the honor of attending comes with an obligation to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation.

■ Fayette County Public Schools has 11 seniors who are among Kentucky's 72 initial recipients of 2014 college-sponsored National Merit scholarships: Alyson Ackerman, Lafayette, biomedical engineering, University of Kentucky; Annie Bradford, Henry Clay, psychology, Vanderbilt University; Philip Ewing, Paul Laurence Dunbar, medicine, University of Kentucky; Ian Hafley, Tates Creek, statistics, University of Chicago; Connor Langley, Henry Clay, geology, Michigan State; Michael Alexander Lucas, Dunbar, computer science, Case Western Reserve University; Samuel Miller, Henry Clay, physics, Vanderbilt University; Connor Onan, Henry Clay, dentistry, University of Kentucky; Dylan Rowe, Dunbar, biomedical engineering, Brigham Young University; Abigail Ryan, Henry Clay, neuroscience, University of Kentucky; and Robin Swoveland, Dunbar, engineering, University of Kentucky. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

■ The junior varsity academic team from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School finished fourth in the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence national tournament held May 24-26 in Washington, D.C. Thirushan Wigna-Kumar scored the highest average points per game of any freshman (66.67). This group also included Shaoyi Sheng, Adil Yusuf, Joanna Slusarewicz and Zainab Kahloon.

This was the first year that PACE awarded a JV title. In the varsity division, Dunbar's Athena Kern, Neelav Dutta, John Luan, Christian Wright and Valerie Sarge finished 21st.


Ogechi Anyanwu, associate professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, has been named secretary of the Igbo Studies Association. One of his first duties will be to assist in the planning of the association's 2015 conference. The Igbo Students Association, which has a membership of more than 600, was founded in 1999. Anyanwu teaches both African history and courses for the African/African-American studies program. He serves as editor-in-chief for The Journal of Retracing Africa and is the author of three books.

■ Redwood Cooperative School, a new non-profit established by a group of parents in Lexington who want to continue their children's preschool cooperative educational environment by founding a cooperative elementary school, will open in August.

For the 2014-15 academic school year, Redwood Cooperative School will offer a multi-age program for kindergarten through second grade. Redwood will grow each year, adding a new class of younger children as the current children progress.

Redwood Cooperative School will have an informational session from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Creperie, 191 Kentucky Avenue. For more information, go to

■ The University of Pikeville has extended the contract of university president James L. Hurley. The board of trustees unanimously approved extending his contract through 2018. After serving as executive vice president for four years, Hurley became the first alumnus in the school's history to lead his alma mater. This fall, the university will commemorate 125 years of service to the people of Central Appalachia.

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