■ Lennon Michalski, a 2004 Eastern Kentucky University art graduate and former adjunct instructor in EKU's Department of Art and Design, was featured in Oxford American's most recent issue, 100 Under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art.
Michalski was nominated by Ann Tower, owner and director of the Ann Tower Gallery in Lexington, and his work will appear on Oxford American's online portion of the magazine featuring 60 artists.
To view some of Michalski's work, go to Oxfordamerican.org/articles/2012/feb/29/100-under-100.
■ During the KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes recognized four Kentucky high school students as winners of the 22nd annual state essay. This year, students were invited to write about government regulation of speech in the context of elections. Winners in each grade were; Matthew Stephen Smith, senior, Estill County High School; Kaylee Robin Hicks, junior, Woodford County High School; William Haydon, sophomore, Montgomery County High School; and William Eliot Smith, freshman, Henry Clay High School.
Each winner received $1,500. Winners of the slogan contest, open to students in grades 6 through 8, will be announced separately.
■ The third-grade students of Providence Montessori's Classroom IV are recipients of the Fayette County Farm Bureau's 2012 Spring Reimbursement Gardening Grant. The grant will support the spring planting of cold-weather crops including carrots, beets, radishes, broccoli, turnips and lettuce, and the planting of summer crops of tomatoes and beans.
The gardening program is one component of Providence Montessori's overall mission of teaching and incorporating sustainable practices and initiatives geared toward preparing students for their futures as environmental stewards and ambassadors. Each student participates in gardening activities three hours a week as part of classroom assignments that engage in botany lessons focused on plant parts, reproductive processes, edible portions of each species included in the spring crop, natural insect and pest prevention, weeding and maintenance, and companion plantings, and expands to include vitamin and nutritional values of the plants.
The classroom gardening program incorporates Junior Master Gardening lessons, Montessori botany curriculum and integrates the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension/4-H Office and Department of Agriculture educational resources.
■ Actors Theatre of Louisville has announced that Benjamin Tucker, son of Kevin and Benita Tucker of Lexington and a junior at Sayre School, is a winner in the 2012 New Voices Young Playwrights contest. This year, 451 plays from students across Kentucky and southern Indiana were submitted, with eight chosen for full production and publication in Actors Theatre's New Voices Anthology."
Benjamin's play, Problem Solving, is an energetic and hilarious romp in the best traditions of vaudeville, loosely inspired by Benjamin's experiences in the Sayre School drama department. According to an Actors Theatre spokesperson, the play was chosen for its "snappy dialogue and creation of humorous characters."
As a New Voice Young Playwright, Benjamin will have the opportunity to work with a professional dramaturge and director to continue development of his play. Audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy presentations of all eight plays at the 7th annual New Voices Young Playwrights Festival on April 17 and 18 in the Louisville Bingham Theatre at 7 p.m.
■ Spencer Barrett, an Eastern Kentucky University senior from Lancaster, competing against students from four-year colleges and universities in nine states, has received the Regional Student Leadership Award from the National Orientation Directors Association.
Barrett, a public relations major, has been an orientation leader, a Colonel Camp leader and a New Student Days leader since December 2009, assisting with the transition of incoming freshmen, transfer students and even family members to EKU.
He received the Region VI award at a conference in Charlotte, N.C., from March 9 to 11.
Barrett recently learned he was accepted for an internship with Walt Disney World, beginning in August.
■ The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has approved honorary degrees to be presented at the May commencement to alumni Vijay K. Dhir, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and dean of UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa.
Born in India, Dhir came to the United States in 1969 after receiving a bachelor's degree from Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh, India, in 1965 and a master's degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in 1968. After receiving a doctorate from UK in 1972, he joined the faculty of UCLA and continued consulting for numerous organizations, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, GE Corp., Hughes Aircraft, Rockwell International and the Los Alamos and Brookhaven National Labs.
In 2006, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering — among the highest honors awarded to engineers — for his work in boiling heat transfer and nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics and safety.
Mason, a first-generation college student and the child of an immigrant family, received her bachelor's degree in zoology from UK in 1972. After earning a doctorate in cellular, molecular and developmental biology from the University of Arizona, she joined the University of Kansas in 1978. In 21 years in Kansas, Mason was a full professor in the department of molecular biosciences, acting chair of the department of physiology and cell biology, and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 1995, she was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the largest academic unit on the University of Kansas campus.
After working as provost of Purdue University from 2001 to 2007, Mason was named president of the University of Iowa. In 2008-09, Mason co-chaired the Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Competitiveness of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In 2009, she became a member of the board of trustees of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association, and in 2010, she was appointed to the National Transportation Policy Task Force.
■ Two teams from Rosa Parks Elementary School picked up awards in the Destination ImagiNation state tournament on March 10 and qualified for the global finals May 23 to 26 in Knoxville.
The third-graders, called The Thinking Caps, won first place in their challenge by delivering the news of a kitty adopting a baby squirrel. These students — many of whom have been on a Destination ImagiNation team since kindergarten — include Rishi Dronadula, Evelyn Hinz, Dylan Lifshitz, Brenden Naish, Alison Otipoby and Elle Wesley. They were coached by Amanda Naish.
A fifth-grade team called Unknown, which created a take on movie trailers, was a runner-up in the tournament and received the Spirit of DI Award. The group included Hannah Broomhall, Shamik Chandrachood, Ben Florence, Elyse Halwes, Neal Rekhraj, Adam Telechbush and Stephanie Yang.
Destination ImagiNation is a problem-solving program that helps young people work and grow as a team while enhancing their self- confidence and skills. Each challenge offers a different focus, such as mathematics, technical design and construction, experimentation, theater arts, social studies, research, story development, architecture, geography, structural engineering and other disciplines that require critical-thinking skills.
■ Region 7 champion Bryan Station High School was runner-up in the girls' state bowling tournament, and Crystal Land bowled in the semifinals of the singles competition.
The Defenders, who earned a No. 6 seed in the field of 16 after the qualifying round, fell to top-seeded Pleasure Ridge Park in the finals. Along the way, Bryan Station defeated the No. 11, 3 and 15 teams before meeting the eventual state champions.
In the boys' division, No. 12 seed Henry Clay High lost in the opening round March 22 in Louisville. In the March 23 singles tournament, Ryan Haney of Paul Laurence Dunbar High also bowled for Fayette County Public Schools.
■ Nate White, a senior at Bryan Station High School, repeated as "Most Outstanding Key Clubber" at the annual Kentucky-Tennessee District of Key Club International convention.
Adam Kline of Bryan Station won first place in the impromptu essay competition, and Bryan Station took third place for overall club service for its work with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The club also was honored for collecting money for UNICEF.
Other Bryan Station High School members attending the convention March 16 to 18 in Chattanooga were Michael Parsons, Rebecca Edwins, Allie Wood, Alexie Basil and Kayswanna McCoy. Ariel Watson went along as District 10-11's lieutenant governor.
In addition to Key Club business, conference attendees together made more than 1,000 Grab and Go bags for Ronald McDonald House.
■ Miles Johnson, art teacher at Meadowthorpe Elementary School, recently attended the 2012 National Art Education Association conference in New York City as a nominee for the NAEA Southeastern Region Elementary Art Educator of the year.
■ The Kentucky Community and Technical College System received a gold Paragon Award for its Super Sunday Initiative, intended to increase the college-going rate of students of color, and a bronze Paragon Award for its Guaranteed Tuition Program, which allowed students to lock in tuition at the then-current rate.
Awards were presented at the National Conference for Marketing and Public Relations March 11 to 14 in San Francisco.
Additionally, KCTCS's Bluegrass Community and Technical College was presented a gold Paragon Award in the electronic newsletter category.
The annual awards celebration honors the marketing and communication efforts of community college marketing and public relations professionals. A total of 1,860 entries from 276 colleges were received for this year's competition.
■ Eastern Kentucky University's 13th annual Earth Days celebration throughout April features hands-on student opportunities designed to heighten awareness about environmental issues. More than a dozen events and activities are scheduled, including tree plantings, cleanups, a bicycle ride, outdoor adventures, presentations and more. The kick-off was Monday. All events are free. To see a complete calendar of events, go to Green.eku.edu. For more information, contact Earth Days coordinator Jill Petrey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 622-2052.
■ Here are the dates and times for high school graduations for the Class of 2012 at Lexington public schools: Henry Clay: 4 p.m. Friday, May 25; Lafayette: 7 p.m. Friday, May 25; Paul Laurence Dunbar, 11 a.m. Saturday, May 26; Tates Creek: 2 p.m. Saturday, May 26; Bryan Station: 5 p.m. Saturday, May 26.
All five ceremonies will be in Rupp Arena. For more information, call each school.
■ Fayette County Public Schools offers several summer school options, including a physical education class, an online health course and credit recovery for students who need to make up a class or wish to retake a course to improve their grade.
The initial-credit P.E. class will be 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 11 to 22 and July 9 to 20, hosted by Henry Clay and Bryan Station high schools. Pre-application forms will be available after spring break in each high school's guidance office.
Students interested in taking an eSchool health class or other online courses should make an appointment with their high school guidance counselors. The summer session runs May 29 through June 8.