■ These area students have been named National Merit Scholarship winners and will receive $2,500: Rex I. Bray, Clay County High School; Samuel R. Davidson, Trinity Christian Academy; Macy Early, Henry Clay High School; Matthew W. Fister, Woodford County High School; Jessie Li, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; Vania Ma, Dunbar; Kareem Hatim Omar, West Jessamine High School; Marina E. Robson, Franklin County High School; Natalie C. Warren, Berea High School; and Leia Wedlund, Dunbar.
■ Lexington student Jacob Mannino received the McCallie Community Service Award May 3 at McCallie School's annual awards day. Jacob was the leader of McCallie's award-winning Habitat for Humanity Chapter.
A boarding student from Lexington, Jacob is the son of Dr. Dave and Brenda Mannino.
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McCallie, a college preparatory boarding and day school for boys in Chattanooga, Tenn., is considered one of the nation's top independent schools.
■ Students from around Kentucky were recognized for their talents and research in history at the 51st Kentucky Junior Historical Society Conference and Kentucky History Day on April 26-27 in Louisville.
Student activities included an impromptu exhibit contest, history test, quick-recall History Bowl and a Kentucky History Day contest. Kentucky History Day winners have the opportunity to compete at the national level at the University of Maryland in June.
Here are area winners:
Fayette County: Amir Abou-Jaoude, Henry Clay High School, first place, senior division history test and first place, senior division impromptu composition; Joanna Slusarewicz, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, first place, senior individual documentary; Sameer Ahmed, Ananth Miller-Murthy, Winburn Middle School, first place, junior group documentary; Megan Slusarewicz, Winburn Middle School, first place, junior individual documentary; Ronit Kar, Ben Xie, Nisarg Patil, Winburn Middle School, first place, junior group website; Bobby Bose, Rohith Kesaraju, Akhil Kesaraju, Winburn Middle School, second place, junior group website; Ella Jensen, Winburn Middle School, first place, junior individual website; Christopher Beebout, Winburn Middle School, second place, junior individual website; Cici Mao, Winburn Middle School, first place, junior paper; Austin Li, Winburn Middle School, second place, junior paper; Shelby Amato, Kathleen Gibbs, Winburn Middle School, first place, junior group performance; Zane Jacobs, Alex Kehler, Winburn Middle School, first place, junior group exhibit; Zsombor Gal, Kevin Liao, Winburn Middle School, second place, junior group exhibit; Rebecca Armstrong, Winburn Middle School, second place, junior individual exhibit; Daryn Smith, Frankie Rice, Winburn Middle School, Outstanding Sports History Project award, sponsored by the Kentucky Sports Authority
Franklin County: Nikitha Rajendran, Elkhorn Middle School, second place, junior individual documentary; Riley Skaggs, Bridgeport Elementary, second place, youth individual exhibit
Jessamine County: Aleah Archer, Connor Aubrey, East Jessamine Middle School, second place, junior group documentary
■ Two students from SCAPA at Bluegrass are statewide winners in the 2013 Letters About Literature writing contest. Leila Abou-Jaoude took first place in Level 2 (grades 7-8), and Katrin Flores was runner-up.
Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, Letters About Literature challenges students to write a personal letter to an author of a book that inspired them. The contest is open to students in grades 4 through 10.
Leila, who received a $150 cash award, wrote to author Katherine Paterson, author of The Bridge to Terabithia. Katrin, who received a $75 prize, wrote to author Kate DiCamillo, author of The Tale of Despereaux. Leila advances to national judging.
■ The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program based at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Excellence has received the 2013 Community Partner Award from the University of Kentucky. This honor recognizes organizations in the Greater Lexington community that have demonstrated support for the Division of Student Affairs, the division's programs and services, and the overall quality of campus life. Mark Sellers is director of the Academy.
■ Cassidy Elementary and Lexington Traditional Magnet School were winners in the 2013 Battle of the Books reading incentive program, a series of competitions in Fayette County Public Schools.
The Academy for Leadership at Millcreek was runner-up in the April 25 elementary finals at "It's About Kids" Support Services, followed by Maxwell Spanish Immersion Magnet and Southern Elementary. In the May 2 middle schools showdown, Leestown was runner-up and Tates Creek Middle came in third.
A total of 31 schools participated in this year's Battle of the Books, in which students were encouraged to read with particular attention to details.
■ Seven Fayette County Public Schools freshmen were recognized with Ninth-Grade Improvement Awards on May 2 at Northeast Christian Church. Each school cited one ninth-grader deemed to be the most improved in 2012-13: Mckayla McAtee, Bryan Station; Hudson Bradley, Henry Clay; Micah Leahy, Lafayette; Cedric Hunt, Paul Laurence Dunbar; James Hendrix, Martin Luther King Jr. Academy; and Sabrina Hardesty, The Learning Center at Linlee.
■ Local black historian Yvonne Giles was this year's guest at Sayre School's "Visiting Voices," a program that brings authors, artists, scientists, athletes, and other professionals to campus for extended interaction with students in small groups.
Giles is the director of the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum in Lexington, and she works to preserve the history and integrity of black cemeteries in Lexington.
■ Common Good, a community development corporation that works with children and youth in north Lexington, will host Walk for Common Good on June 8. Sign up for the walk by emailing your team name, team captain's name and team members' names to WalkForCommonGood@gmail.com. Find out more about Common Good or the Walk for Common Good event at Commongoodlex.org or contact Becca Hughes at (859) 536-5929, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ Fayette County Public Schools will continue to offer STARTALK Chinese Language Institute so students in grades K-8 can practice the language and learn more about the culture during the summer break. During the free two-week program, classes will provide Chinese cultural experiences and hands-on activities in an immersion environment as students engage in conversational communication, interpretive listening and presentational speaking.
The institute will be June 10-21 at Tates Creek Middle School and can accept about 100 students. Applicants must be studying Chinese in an FCPS classroom. This program is not for beginners. The application deadline is Friday. For details, call Thomas Sauer at (859) 381-4192.