■ The following Lexington students have been named semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. Some 16,000 academically talented high school seniors will now compete for more than $32 million in awards next spring.
Home school: Reid N. Thomas
Lexington Catholic High School: Maeve C. Draper and Casey C. Nash
Lexington Christian Academy: Tanner Lamb
Trinity Christian Academy: Samuel R. Davidson and Jonathan M. Sekela
■ East Jessamine High School teacher Gina Lyons, a volunteer at the Primate Rescue Center, teamed up with her high school's photography club, led by teacher Lindsey Mulcahy, to create a narrated photo DVD of rescue stories about the center's chimps and monkeys. This project was the winner of a national online contest sponsored by True Hero, an organization that awards money for community service projects performed by high school students. The DVD will be used for educational outreach and will teach people about the sanctuary and the importance of the work it does. Of the $3,000 prize awarded to them, the students have chosen to donate $1,000 to help care for the residents of the center.
For more information about Primate Rescue Center, go to Primaterescue.org.
For more information about the True Hero Organization, go to Truehero.org.
■ The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture department of animal and food sciences annually recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the department and to Kentucky animal agriculture. This year, the department awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award to Tom Hammond and inducted Al Purnell Sr. into its Hall of Fame.
Hammond, a graduate of the College of Agriculture, is best known as a television sportscaster. He is the main host of NBC's Thoroughbred racing coverage and has covered many events including Triple Crown races and the Breeders' Cup. He has been a key commentator for events at 10 Olympic Games, including the 2012 games in London.
Purnell is the son of Fred B. and Clara Purnell, who founded Purnell's "Old Folks" Sausage Co. He grew up in the family business and has supported the UK College of Agriculture in many ways for several decades, including providing tours of the sausage-making facility to more than 200 undergraduate students annually. Purnell also provides internships for students and donates research materials to UK and the University of Louisville.
Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor given by the department.
■ Carol Hanley from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture has been selected as the Distinguished Science Educator of the Year for 2012 by the Kentucky Science Teachers Association.
Hanley began her career teaching biology and chemistry at Bryan Station High School before becoming sciences branch manager in the Kentucky Department of Education. Hanley is associate director of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, where she coordinates professional development for teachers, develops environmental programs and writes proposals for funding. She develops outreach programs for science education, writes proposals, supervises staff, and monitors budgets for programs for the Environmental and Natural Resources Initiative in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
From 2001 to 2008, Hanley was 4-H curriculum developer, in which she developed curriculum for topics including forestry, GIS/GPS and food and culture, butterfly wings, wind power and environmental science. She also has developed STEM (science/technology/ engineering/math) activities for black male students in Central Kentucky to assist in the transition to postsecondary careers and successful careers.
Hanley received a bachelor's degree in biology and master's degree in environmental studies from State University of New York at Buffalo, and a Rank 1 in biology from Eastern Kentucky University. She received a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Kentucky.
■ The Fayette County Board of Education has received the 2012 Amici Linguarum (Friend of Language) Award from the Kentucky World Language Association.
Board chairman John Price accepted the honor Sept. 22 at the KWLA fall conference.
Under the school board's direction, the number of world language programs in Fayette County Public Schools has quadrupled since 2005, when the district sought community input to develop a "2020 Vision" blueprint for world-class schools. Many of the world language committee's recommendations have been implemented, including K-12 pipeline programs in Chinese, Japanese and Spanish, and additional schools in the Spanish immersion program.
The school board sought support through a variety of sources, including two Foreign Language Assistance Program grants and an Innovation in Education Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This past spring, as those funds dried up, the board realigned the district's budget priorities to provide $1.5 million for language programs.
In their award nomination letter, district world languages immersion program coordinator Alicia Vinson and content specialist Thomas Sauer praised the school board's ongoing commitment to providing quality world language learning opportunities.
■ Lexington Catholic High School will hold an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10 at its campus, 2250 Clays Mill Road. In addition to student-led tours and interactive department presentations, information sessions will highlight the school's Equine Academy, Exemplar Scholars Program in the Fine Arts, Exemplar Scholars Program in Math, Science & Technology, and High Marks Center & Learning Differences. All prospective students in grades 5 to 8 and their families are invited to attend. For more information, go to Lexingtoncatholic.com or call (859) 277-7183.
■ Montessori High School of Kentucky is holding an information session from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at its new location, 620 South Broadway. MHS is a four-year private school in working partnership with the University of Kentucky Department of Education. For more information go to Montessorihigh.org or call (859) 455-8064.
■ The Lafayette Alumni Association will hold its 10th annual potluck picnic at 3 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Bach Farm on Redd Road. Meat and beverages will be provided. Guests are asked to bring vegetable dishes, salads or desserts. Line and swing dancing will follow dinner. All alumni are invited. For information and directions, call (859) 278-1489.