education notes

Education notes: July 22

July 21, 2014 


Rebekah Ferguson, a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, is one of 50 students from the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico who have been awarded a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year.

Ferguson will spend the school year in Germany living with a host family, taking classes at a local high school and participating in a three-week language and cultural immersion camp to gain a better understanding of German culture, language and everyday life.

■ A half-dozen more students in the Class of 2014 round out this year's National Merit Scholarship Corp. winners from Fayette County Public Schools.

From Henry Clay High School: Adam Kiser, medicine, University of Kentucky; Erika Renee Sommer, counseling, Oberlin College near Cleveland.

From Paul Laurence Dunbar High School: Stuart Ryan Blood, chemical engineering, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland; Athena Kern, wildlife conservation, University of Chicago; Alice Liu, medicine, Washington University in St. Louis; Sydney Toth, undecided major, UCLA.

These recent graduates are among 1,600 additional winners of awards financed by colleges and universities; 2,500 scholars were initially announced in late May. Sponsor colleges selected recipients from among the National Merit finalists who will attend their school. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

Fayette County Public Schools boasts four schools in the Top 5 of the World Fit Walk's 2014 national results. Beaumont Middle was runner-up in the large schools division, and SCAPA at Bluegrass tied for second place among small schools. Beaumont tallied a total of 225,557 miles or an average of 5 miles a student a day, and SCAPA reported 55,262 total miles for the same average.

In the large-schools category, Southern Middle was third nationally, Morton fourth, Lexington Traditional Magnet School finished sixth, Bryan Station Middle was eighth, Tates Creek Middle ninth, and Winburn tied for 10th. Among small schools, Crawford was sixth. In the statewide rankings, Beaumont and SCAPA tied for first-place honors, followed by Southern Middle, Crawford, Morton, Lexington Traditional Magnet, Bryan Station, Tates Creek and Winburn.

■ For a fifth straight year, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School secured the quiz bowl title at the National Beta Club's annual senior convention. Three students also earned first-place honors in individual contests at the June 28-25 gathering in Richmond, Va.: Athena Kern in English, Kathleen Yang in math and Alice Li in pencil drawing.


Jason Gribbins has been named headmaster of the Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg. Gribbins, a recent military retiree, is a native of Marion County. He holds an ED.S. Education Specialist/Leadership from Liberty University as well as a master of arts in Christian Leadership from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds an MBA from Touro University. While serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Gribbins obtained the rank of master sergeant and worked in a variety of educational leadership positions within the United States and overseas, including senior administrator for the Communications Electronics School and an adjunct professor at Ashford University.

Associate professor Buck Ryan, director of the Citizen Kentucky Project of UK's Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, was recognized at Shanghai University for the second consecutive year for his course, "Storytelling: Exploring China's Art and Culture." Last year Ryan and his son, Austin, won a teaching award as part of the International Short Term in conjunction with the 1st International Education Forum of Shanghai University organized with UK's Confucius Institute. This year at the June 20 opening ceremony of UK Week at SHU, Ryan's top student, Zhang Mengni, a freshman education major, delivered a speech in English about the course as a highlight of the International Short Term. Ryan also mentored the first two "2+2" journalism majors from SHU, Tina John and Jade Wong, who will begin their studies at UK this fall. The "2+2" program offers students the opportunity to graduate with degrees from both UK and SHU if they successfully complete their first two years at SHU and their final two years at UK. Ryan traveled to Jilin University in Changchun, China, to deliver a research presentation on his KET documentary, "Citizen Kentucky/Citizen China: Hope for a New Century."

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