Education news of interest in Central Kentucky.
■ Benjamin (Ben) Tucker, valedictorian of the Class of 2013 at Sayre School, was recently named the winner of a national contest for the best high school graduation speech in the country by Own the Room Speakers Corner, in partnership with Parade Magazine.
Tucker gave a lighthearted ode to his alma mater, urging his classmates to attend their first reunion because, after all, they are family who love and care for each other. To see the speech, visit: Youtube/eiwmo1j2rgM
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Tucker beat out finalists from nine other states for the recognition.
Tucker will attend DePaul University in the fall and plans to major in digital cinema and television production. Along with Parade Magazine's Best High School Commencement Address 2013, Tuckers's achievements at Sayre School include: president, Sayre School Student Council; president, Sayre National French Honor Society; president, Lexington Youth Arts Council; vice president, International Thespian Society; numerous Kennedy Bookstore Literary Awards for Fiction, Personal Narrative and Academic Essay writing; appointed Commonwealth Ambassador for Kentucky by Secretary of State Alison L. Grimes; AP Scholar with Distinction; National Honor Society member; The Silver/Bender Foundation Scholarship from the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation Holocaust Remembrance Project 2012; and Kentucky Commonwealth Diploma 2013. His published work includes Problem Solving, a play performed and published by Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2012.
■ Ethan Hamblin, 22, a Berea College senior and native of Gays Creek (Perry County), has received the Sargent Shriver Youth Warriors Against Poverty Leadership Award from The Marguerite Casey Foundation.
While interning at the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky in Hazard, Hamblin established the Youth Leadership and Philanthropy Initiative to spur local youths to invest in enhancing their community by participating in applying for grants, fundraising, nonprofit engagement and community service.
As one of 14 young persons to receive the award, Hamblin will receive $5,000 in recognition of his vision, passion and dedication to improving the lives of families in his community.
■ In honor of Blue Grass Community Foundation's founders, the foundation established the Irene and C.W. Sulier Scholarship to provide scholarship awards to five Fayette County Public School graduating seniors who demonstrated community service through their active philanthropic works.
The following students received this year's scholarship: Virginia Newsome, graduate of Lafayette High School; Roshnee Raithatha, graduate of Henry Clay High School; Dylan Sarkisian, graduate of Henry Clay High School; Nada Shalash, graduate of Tates Creek High School and Syndey Winchester, graduate of Tates Creek High School.
■ Qaisar Sultana, professor emeritus in the department of special education at Eastern Kentucky University, has been named a Senior Fulbright Specialist.
This fall, Sultana will travel to Norway where she will teach graduate students in the European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations Program and undergraduate students in the Teacher Training Program.
Sultana joined EKU in 1980 as chair of the department of special education. She retired in 2006 but has remained professionally active, occasionally teaching part time in the department and frequently traveling overseas consulting, delivering keynote addresses at international conferences, conducting professional development of teachers and teacher educators, assisting with curriculum development, designing evaluation systems and writing public policy in education, among other responsibilities.
■ Eastern Kentucky University Department of Music Chair Rob James was elected recently to serve a two-year term as president of the Kentucky Association of College Music Departments.
The association is a service organization created to increase the effectiveness and advance the standards and ideals of higher learning music departments in Kentucky. James served as president-elect from 2003 to 2005 and president from 2005 to 2007. He also served as secretary from 2011 to 2013.
James joined EKU in 1988 and has served as music chair and professor. He received his bachelor's degree from Oakland University and his master's degree from Miami University of Ohio.