■ What began as a class art project at Cassidy Elementary evolved into an outpouring for this spring's tornado victims in the West Liberty community, who will receive about three dozen woven throw rugs.
"It started out as kids donating clothing for us to make rugs, and we didn't know how big it would become," said fifth-grader Lauren Townes, one of the project leaders.
Art teacher Renee Kennedy had introduced T-shirt rugs to Cassidy's fifth-graders, who are learning how to weave. The process involves cutting looped strips of fabric and stretching them across a Hula-Hoop frame like wheel spokes, then weaving around the center. Piles of old T-shirts make for endless pattern possibilities.
Fourth-graders have also pitched in, along with a group of third-graders, as students weave in the mornings before school and after dismissal. Attached to each rug is a pink heart with a word of encouragement for the recipient. One reads: "I hope the rugs we have made for you all help you through your rough times. Sincerely, a Cassidy fifth-grader."
Kim Standafer, the Family Resource Center coordinator for Morgan Central and Ezell elementaries, picked up the gifts May 23.
■ Expounding on the theme "Diversity Means ...," several Fayette County Public Schools students earned honors at the 2012 PTA Reflections state competition. First-place finishers will advance to the national contest.
These FCPS students received recognition at the state contest:
Primary division (grades K-2)
1st Visual Arts, Shayda Alsalihi, Liberty; 2nd Dance Choreography, Shayda Alsalihi, Liberty; 2nd Film Production, Daniel Callahan, Veterans Park; 2nd Photography, Carley Craig, Liberty; 2nd Visual Arts, Sepehr Dindoust, Stonewall; 2nd Literature, Jude Holder, Julius Marks; 2nd Musical, Composition Luke Nuzzo, Stonewall; 3rd Literature, Grant Clifford, Garden Springs; 3rd Dance Choreography, Gabby Prince, Veterans Park; 4th Film Production, Shayda Alsalihi, Liberty; 4th Visual Arts, Elizabeth Elliott, Glendover. 4th Dance Choreography, Emma Monzione, Meadowthorpe; 5th Photography, Kyle Lewis, Liberty.
Intermediate division (grades 3-5)
1st Literature, William Ding, Meadowthorpe; 1st Film Production, Jacob Mangas, Athens-Chilesburg; 2nd Film Production, Ben Roberts, Liberty; 3rd Visual Arts, Kate Myrup, Glendover; 4th Musical Composition, Madeline Farrar, Maxwell; 4th Photography, Andrew Lewis, Liberty; 4th Visual Arts, Elora Mukhopachyay, Stonewall; 5th Literature, Jackson Gonzales, Liberty; 5th Dance Choreography, Megan Slusarewicz, Meadowthorpe.
Middle division (grades 6-8)
1st Visual Arts, Sophie Bell, Bryan Station Middle; 1st Musical Composition, Alexander Stern, Beaumont; 2nd Photography, Kacie Hughes, Edythe J. Hayes; 2nd Film Production, Joanna Slusarewicz, Winburn (Creative Interpretation award); 3rd Dance Choreography, Addy Bell, Beaumont; 3rd Literature, Molly Brown, Beaumont; 4th Literature, Matthew Edwards, Lexington Traditional Magnet; 4th Musical Composition, Carson Gregory, Beaumont; 4th Photography, Mya Hauck, Beaumont; 4th Film Production, Will Roberts, Edythe J. Hayes; 4th Visual Arts, Joanna Slusarewicz, Winburn; 5th Film Production, Cameron Maloney, Beaumont.
Senior division (grades 9-12)
1st Literature, Sarah Caton, Lafayette; 2nd Film Production, Allie Wood, Bryan Station High; 3rd Film Production, Allison Laski, Paul Laurence Dunbar; 3rd Visual Arts, Tonya Warren, Paul Laurence Dunbar; 4th Photography, Sarah Caton, Lafayette; 4th Dance Choreography, Jeieigha Ritte, Bryan Station (Creative Interpretation award).
Special needs division
5th Photography, J. Creighton Noal, Edythe J. Hayes Middle School
■ Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), along with presenting sponsor State Farm, has chosen Lexington Catholic High School junior Renee Brown as one of 10 students from across the nation to be a part of MADD's first Power of You(th) National Teen Influencer Group. Renee was selected based on her efforts to stop underage drinking at her school and in her community.
As the president of the Youth Coalition for Alcohol Education and the Lexington-Fayette County MADD Youth in Action Team, Renee led a Youth in Action Team that placed 7,000 labels on alcohol and in-store signage at alcohol retailers to encourage adults not to provide alcohol to youth. She worked to spread awareness and enforcement of Lexington's social host ordinance through a media campaign involving 29 local businesses, using billboards and radio PSAs to get the word out to adults about the consequences of hosting a party where alcohol is provided to those under the age of 21. As a result, enforcement of the ordinance has increased by nearly 50 percent.
She will now lend her expertise to MADD and State Farm through the Power of You(th) program.
To learn more about MADD and State Farm's Power of You(th) program, visit Madd.org/powerofyouth.
■ Samuel Northrup, a high-school student in Wilmore, has been awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship for 2012-13. The NSLI-Y program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and provides more than 600 merit-based scholarships to eligible high school students for them to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs.
The NSLI-Y scholarship enables Samuel to study Arabic in Jordan for the summer. The scholarship covers all program costs for participants including domestic and international travel; tuition and related academic preparation; language testing; educational and cultural activities focused on language learning; orientations; meals; and accommodations, commonly with a host family.
Applications for 2013-14 NSLI-Y programs will be available at Nsliforyouth.org in the early fall.
■ Bluegrass PRIDE and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government honored 109 schools and community organizations in Fayette County for their sustainability efforts.
The annual Live Green Lexington Partner recognition program was held to recognize pre-K-12 educational institutions for actions they have taken to reduce waste, improve water quality and achieve greater energy efficiency. All 109 schools were honored as WasteBuster partners, while 69 were named water partners and 55 were designated as energy partners.
In addition to the awards given by Bluegrass PRIDE and LFUCG, 41 Fayette County schools received checks for their participation in the district's E=USE2 energy savings program. A total of $12,500 was presented to the schools for completion of energy efficiency projects.
■ A team from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School is state champion after the Kentucky Envirothon, held May 10 and 11 at the Lake Cumberland 4-H Education and Leadership Center. Lydia Livas, Debbie Ferguson, Maria Wang, Orsolya Renáta Hegyi and Emma Daugherty will advance to the Canon Envirothon, set for July 22 through 27 at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania.
The state runner-up was a fellow Dunbar team made up of Mike Yang, Will Oldham, Seony Day Han, Alice Liu and Lizzie Walsh.
Teams of students in grades 9-12 were tested on their knowledge of Kentucky's natural resources at field stations covering soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatics and a current environmental issue. Through hands-on experiments, analysis and use of critical thinking skills, the students answered questions at each station.
Regional winners advanced to state competition, and the commonwealth's champion now goes on to the Canon Envirothon — North America's largest high school environmental education competition.
■ The Fayette County Farm Bureau Education Federation presented scholarships to the following:
Ester Vasilyuk, daughter of Yevgeniy and Galina Vasilyuk, is the recipient of a $2,500 two-year scholarship, $1,250 per year. Ester attends Bryan Station High School and her plans are to attend BCTC and acquire an associate degree in science then transfer to the University of Kentucky to complete her undergraduate degree. Ester's interests include becoming a missionary, working in agriculture and veterinary science. Ester also attended Locust Trace Agriscience Farm. She was a member of the Beta Club, Music Honors Society, the cross country team and the band and choir as well as having part-time employment during her successful high school career.
Kristian Little, daughter of Leslie Riddle, also is the recipient of a $2,500 two-year scholarship. Kris attends Locust Trace Agriscience Farm and her home school is Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. She plans to attend BCTC and then transfer to Eastern Kentucky University in spring 2014 to pursue a degree in agriculture. While a student in Fayette County Public Schools Kris was vice president and Community Service Chair for FFA. She logged many hours of community service with participation in The Bluegrass Fair, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center and the Sheep and Fiber Festival, just to name a few. She has also held part-time employment while being an exemplary student.
Miranda Richardson, daughter of Benjamin and Ronda Richardson, is the recipient of a $20,000 four-year scholarship, $5,000 per year. Miranda attends Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. She plans to attend the University of Kentucky this fall and has been accepted as an agricultural biotechnology student. Her plans are to have a career in the animal biotechnology field pursuing cutting edge technological solutions to crippling diseases and genetic mutation in the cattle and equine industries. During her high school career Miranda was the editor of the yearbook her sophomore and senior years and held offices in community groups such as 4-H Ponies and Partners and was a rider with the 4-H equestrian drill team. She has been an unpaid researcher at the Gluck Equine Research Center, which has strengthened her decision to stay in the agricultural industry.
■ The Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking is having its first high-school E-Academy for Kentucky's future entrepreneurial leaders July 23 through 27 at the University of Kentucky. Selected students will spend the week learning about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur from the UK iNet entrepreneur in residence and faculty and local entrepreneurs, and they will also participate in field trips to spark creative, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. They will work in teams to develop a concept for a new business, present the concept before a panel of judges, and attend a closing graduation event including parents and invited guests. Space is limited to 20 students. Cost to attend is $129 (scholarships available). Apply at Cis.uky.edu/inet/eacademy. Application deadline is June 1. For more information, contact Deb Weis, iNet director, at email@example.com or (859) 257-8296.
■ Eastern Kentucky University has selected educator and former Peace Corps volunteer Bill Holmes as director of the Office of International Education.
Holmes, former director of institutional relations at CAPA International Education in Boston, joined the EKU staff on May 21.
The co-author of Faculty-Led 360, a manual to assist faculty in creating successful programs abroad, Holmes has worked with faculty and administrators at more than 30 institutions to develop their own study-abroad programs and protocols. He personally has developed, directed and taught in multiple service-learning programs in Ukraine and has developed English as a Second Language programs in China and Hungary.
Holmes earned a bachelor's degree in history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a master's degree in international affairs from the University of Wyoming. He completed graduate research toward his master's degree in Hungary and Romania.