■ Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass recently recognized two individuals at its Adopt-A-School & Community Partners breakfast reception at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort & Spa. Michael Reilly of Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary School received the JA Teacher of the Year Award. Jeff VanderHorst, who has worked alongside teachers at Henry Clay High School for seven years, was named the 2014 Volunteer of the Year.
As owner of KnightHorst Shredding and manager of Fitzpatrick's Furniture, VanderHorst offers real-world experience. For instance, in the ninth-grade citizenship class at Henry Clay, he often teaches the teenagers about how to land a job. VanderHorst, who has worked with more than two dozen classes in his 10 years with JA, was nominated by social studies teachers Steven Riley and Jody Cabble.
■ Two students from SCAPA at Bluegrass received regional Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program. Kasey Fields, competing in the journalism category, was recognized for "John's Run/Walk Shop: Not Just ..." and Eva Grossi was honored in the personal essay/memoir division for her entry titled "Pink."
■ Students representing Beaumont Middle School earned first place in Kentucky's 2014 Destination Imagination state competition March 8 with their combined scores on Team Challenge and Instant Challenge. The team included students Elyse Halwes, Shamik Chandrachood, Adam Telechbush, Brenden Talbert and Neal Rekhraj. They were guided by managers Kelly Telech and Mona Azeem.
Destination Imagination is a problem-solving program that enhances self-confidence and critical thinking. The competition requires creativity, time-management strategies and clear presentation skills.
■ Paul Laurence Dunbar was the overall runner-up and placed second in quick recall among high schools competing in the 2014 Governor's Cup, and Tates Creek took first in the future problem-solving segment and placed eighth overall. In the middle school finals, Winburn finished third overall and third in quick recall, while its future problem-solving team was fourth. Zsombor Gal received top honors in science.
Individuals in the top 10 from Fayette County Public Schools included:
High school division
Composition: 3. Alice Li, Dunbar
Arts and humanities: 4. Athena Kern, Dunbar; 8. Neelav Dutta, Dunbar
Science: 6. Chloe Cao, Dunbar; 7. Valerie Sarge, Dunbar
Language arts: 3. Athena Kern, Dunbar
Math: 4. Kathleen Yang, Dunbar; 5. Valerie Sarge, Dunbar
Middle school division
Arts and humanities: 7. Hannah Wang, Winburn
Science: 1. Zsombor Gal, Winburn
Social Studies: 10. Kevin Hutcheson, Beaumont
Language arts: 8. David Ma, Winburn; 10. Austin Booth, LTMS
Math: 4. David Ma, Winburn; 7. Cici Mao, Winburn; 9. Theodore Ehrenborg, Morton
■ Eighteen musicians represented Fayette County Public Schools in the 2014 KMEA District 7 Jazz Honor Band. To cap a three-day festival, the ensemble gave a free concert in early March at host Henry Clay High School under the guidance of Christopher Oberholtzer, director of jazz studies at the University of Southern Maine.
The group included the following from FCPS:
Alto saxophone: Joel Nelson, Lafayette; Eric Zhou, Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Tenor sax: Michael Robinson, Bryan Station; Isaac Bane, Lafayette.
Baritone sax: Noah Hamilton, Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Trumpet: Will Lovan, Lafayette; Zach Robinson, Bryan Station; Ryan Booth, Lafayette; Cassadi Cordea, Henry Clay.
Trombone: Danny Alford and Andrew Slone, Lafayette; Seth Jaeger, Paul Laurence Dunbar; Noah Tolson and Moe Patten (bass), Henry Clay.
Guitar: Noah SirLouis, Lafayette.
Bass: Ben Bossert, Lafayette.
Drums: Stefan Vaught, Tates Creek; Katherine Wright, Bryan Station.
■ Eastern Kentucky University, home to more than 1,300 veterans and their dependents, is ranked seventh nationally among the Best for Vets: Business Schools by Military Times EDGE magazine, up from No. 16 a year ago. EKU is the highest-ranking Kentucky institution on the list. Other national honors in recent years include: a No. 1 national ranking from Military Times EDGE magazine in 2011 and 2013 in its annual Best for Vets: Colleges issue, which rates four-year colleges and universities on their commitment to helping military veterans further their education; and a recognition by G.I. Jobs as a Military Friendly School each of the past five years.
These national honors prompted first lady Michelle Obama to visit EKU's campus and address graduates at the spring 2013 commencement. In addition, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has named EKU a VetSuccess University, and a full-time VA employee is on hand to help veterans with benefits issues.
For more information about EKU's School of Business, go to Business.eku.edu.
■ Community Partners Leadership Team and Fayette County Public Schools recently recognized high-performance partners for 2013-14 at Commerce Lexington's Good Morning Bluegrass breakfast. These Golden Apple Award winners invest their time, energy and expertise in the district or particular schools through committed exchanges that ultimately benefit the entire county:
Partners for Youth (community organizations/nonprofits category; districtwide partner)
PNC Bank (businesses; districtwide partner)
Crossroads Christian Church (faith-based organizations; school partner with Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Excellence)
Living Arts & Science Center (community organizations; school partner with Russell Cave Elementary)
Dixie Consumer Products (businesses; school partner with Dixie Magnet Elementary)
UK College of Nursing (post secondary institutions; school partner with The Learning Center at Linlee)
■ U.S. Rep. Andy Barr visited Sayre School on March 18 as part of the Don Jacobs Senior Seminar. The Don Jacobs Personal Financial, Legal, and Civic Seminars present a curriculum focusing on personal finance and legal and civic responsibility. Organized around the principles of earning, owing, spending, investing, saving, and giving, the seminars are enhanced by guest speakers from various professions. Barr discussed civic responsibility with the students and engaged in a lively question-and-answer session.
■ Two Sayre high school students are taking their learning to the next level with firsthand research experience in science labs at the University of Kentucky. Elizabeth Schwarcz, class of 2015, is studying the SmnE33 genetic mutation that causes spinal muscular atrophy in fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster. Clara deCastro, class of 2016, is investigating synaptic transmission in fruit fly larvae.
Over the years, Sayre has cultivated a relationship with the UK science department, and this year several upper school scientists, including Rollie Mills, '16; Forrest Courtney '15; Will Kimmerer '16; and Sana Aslam '16, have been invited to work with research teams in UK labs.
Aslam is working with Ann Morris on research funded by the National Institutes of Health. She was to present her work last week at UK's Spring Neuroscience Day.
Schwarcz and deCastro worked with Robin Cooper, a recipient of the Kentucky Academy of Science Award who has been recognized for his dedication to outreach efforts in K-12 schools. Following a year of research, deCastro co-authored a paper titled "Analysis of various physiological salines for heart rate, CNS function, and synaptic transmission at neuromuscular junctions in Drosophila melanogaster larvae," published in the October issue of the Journal of Comparative Physiology.
■ The 2014 Lanford Family Highway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program is available to children of highway workers who were killed or permanently disabled in roadway work-zone accidents, related construction or maintenance activities, including mobile operations and the installation of roadway safety features. The applicant's parent must have been employed by a transportation construction firm or a transportation public agency at the time of his or her death or injury. Scholarships have a value of up to $5,000. Applications must be postmarked by Friday and sent to Kashae Williams, program manager, ARTBA-TDF, 1219 28th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007. Email Kashae at Kwilliams@artba.org with questions.