■ The No Heat Ninjas team from SCAPA at Bluegrass scored first-place honors in the finals of the 2015 Lexus Eco Challenge, a national STEM contest for grades 6-12 built on environmental issues and practical solutions. The group included Trace Queen, Williams Atkinson, Katie Demos, Jackson Becker, Serena Male, Sarah Yohe, Vanessa Meliksetyan and Aidan Dunn. For their project, after learning that 12 percent of a Kentucky residents' carbon footprint is rooted in preparing hot meals, they set out to persuade the SCAPA student body to eat heatless (no help from cooking appliances) for one day a week. For the follow-up, the team spread out to nearby schools, local businesses and more, and held a movie night that collected nearly 150 items for a local food pantry.
The No Heat Ninjas group was among eight first-place winning teams that received $15,000 each. Of the prize money, $3,000 goes to SCAPA at Bluegrass, $2,000 to teacher/adviser Ashlie Arkwright for her classroom, and $10,000 in scholarships divided among the team members. The Eco Challenge also awarded two national grand prizes, with those teams receiving $30,000 each.
Four groups from Fayette County Public Schools had advanced to the 32-team final round. In addition to the No Heat Ninjas, another group from SCAPA at Bluegrass and teams from Carter G. Woodson Academy and Tates Creek High School excelled in the air/climate division, winning $10,000 per team in February.
■ George Szekely, professor of art education at the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies, has been appointed president of the National Art Education Association. He will serve a six-year term on the board. The NAEA is a professional membership organization exclusively for visual arts educators.
■ Bryan Station Middle School, Royal Springs Middle School in Scott County and Western Kentucky University are Kentucky's three nominees for 2015 Green Ribbon Schools, a recognition bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education. The national winners will be announced Wednesday in conjunction with Earth Day activities in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes schools, districts, and institutions of higher education that reduce environmental impact and costs; improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and provide environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways
■ After auditions this spring, 100 outstanding young musicians were selected for the 2015 Fayette County Middle School Honors Orchestra. The group is divided into the Fayette Strings, conducted by David Pope of Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla.; and the Lexington Strings, conducted by Kelly Mayes of Bryan Station High School. Following section rehearsals and an all-day clinic, the students performed a concert Saturday at Bryan Station High School.
Fayette String Orchestra
Beaumont: Grace Goff, Midori Saito, Natalie Fowler, Sophia Price, Stella Guralski.
Bryan Station: Madeline Farrar, Kangai Miriti, Cate Margolies, Brendley Nathaniel, Logan Florence, Caeyln Walton Macaulay.
Edythe J. Hayes: Joe Davis, Sydney Carter, Emily Jones, Sheridan Morgret.
Jessie Clark: Michelle Choi, Anna Jeoung, Deborah Han, Joe Mattingly, Tala Glass.
Leestown: Derek Ponciano Villa, Tristen Brothers.
Lexington Traditional Magnet: Jodi Harrison, Melissa Canales.
SCAPA at Bluegrass: Sophia Li, Ella Webster, Ella Abraham, Olivia Peppiatt, Celina Luo, Anna Grace Hurst, Isaac Martin, Emily Higgins, Sallie Kate Goff, Isabelle Logsdon, Jackson Arnold.
Tates Creek: Eric Han, Anna Watrous, Charlie Frederick, Arik Baron, Joey Ilagan.
Winburn: Megan Guan, Calvin Wu, Saiprasad Naidu, Jeffrey Shen, Stephanie Yang, Kylie Schmidt.
Lexington String Ensemble
Beaumont: Megan Mattingly, Neal Rekhraj.
Bryan Station: Eve Blackburn, Annalesse Bosch, Lauran Owens-Mundy, Leo Tapia, Allison Chavez, Taylor Cleveland, Mia Hunter, Peyton King.
Edythe J. Hayes: Dilni Abeyrathne, Emily Elkins, Kailie Settles, Leanna Marji, Madline Samuelson, Sarah Kent, Quincy Grevious, Autumn Jackson, Catherin Dalton, Ashley Brooks, Anna Cave, Catherine Lucier.
Jessie Clark: Ava Pitts, Hao-Wen Chih, Valerie Newberg, Kylie Meadows, Rosalynd Hollingsworth.
Leestown: Sara Alarcon, Yostin Blanco, Richard Smith, Victoria Holliday, Tanika Miller, Samantha Hawley.
Lexington Traditional Magnet: Avanti Sawarderkar, Colin Martin, Jared Conn, Ahtziri Melo, LeAnn Khong, Nathan Tantasook.
Morton: Melissa Richard, Walid Mbaya.
SCAPA at Bluegrass: Maren Bylund.
Southern: Natalie Hayslett, Arrianna Black, Leah Preston.
Tates Creek: Nick Tan, Sophie Harned, Anya Hartman, Katie Chen, Eli Flomenhoft.
Winburn: Katrina Baniak, Katherine Henson, LaMargaret Johnson, Subershan Wignakumar, Megan Slusarewicz, Shashank Bhatt.
■ At this spring's Student Technology Leadership Program State Championship, nearly 6,000 students from across Kentucky showed what they know and can do with technology in the arts, STEM areas and many marketable career fields.
A team from Bryan Station High School earned Best in State honors in the Technical Division of this spring's Student Technology Leadership Program State Championship competition for its AgendaBook, a mobile phone app that allows students to replace their planners. Team members Drake Witt, Isaiah Ogbulu, Omar Bojang and Elyse Blakeman have been invited to the International Society for Technology in Education conference/expo in Philadelphia this June.
In another STLP highlight, a group from Beaumont Middle School was a Best in State runner-up for its project Kokofuku Suru, a visual storybook with multiple endings. This team included Brendan Talbert, Jake Lechleiter, James Lechleiter, Audrey Jones, Mary Rice and Kaitlyn Hicks. Participants competed March 26 at Rupp Arena in more than 48 technology categories including student-designed projects, products, services and live demonstrations.
■ Two current Transylvania students and one 2014 graduate have been awarded three of the 23 Alpha Lambda Delta Fellowships offered to the honor society's 275 chapters nationwide.
Seniors Nashwin Laungani, Lexington, and Emily Martin, Florence, as well as 2014 graduate Raisa Tikhtman Lexington, received the annual fellowships for the 2015-16 academic year. The awards offset the expense of pursuing a graduate or professional degree.
■ William Jay Jackman of Versailles has received the Outstanding Alumni Award for the Department of Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education from the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Each year the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences honors one alum from each department who has graduated more than 10 years ago for his or her achievements since graduation. Jackman earned a Ph.D. in educational research and evaluation in 1991.
■ The speech team from SCAPA at Bluegrass and the debate team from Henry Clay High School captured state championships in this spring's Kentucky High School Speech League tournaments. For SCAPA, coached by Katie Donohue and Karen Stayton, it was the 18th consecutive state title. Henry Clay, coached by Ryan Ray, earned its 10th debate championship in school history.
Overall in speech: State champion — SCAPA at Bluegrass
SCAPA's top results:
Improvisational Duo, winner: Anna Marie Gilligan and Benjamin Tonks
Oratorical Declamation, winner: Anna Marie Gilligan; fifth place: Vanessa Meliksetyan
Original Oratory, winner: Angie Xiao; runner-up: Josh Andreatta
Radio Broadcasting, winner: Audrey Fields; fourth: Josh Andreatta; fifth: Michael Lozovoy
Duo Acting, runner-up: Michael Lozovoy and Jon McGee
Prose, runner-up: Tabitha Gervis; fifth: Anna Marie Gilligan
Storytelling, runner-up: Katie Demos
Impromptu, third: Sarah Yohe
Solo Acting, third: Una Mijatovic; fourth: Benjamin Tonks
Extemporaneous Speaking, fourth: Nicholas Skidmore
Morton Middle School
Improvisational Duo, runner-up: Raegan Alexander and Julia Lawson
Overall in debate: State champion — Henry Clay High School; third place, Paul Laurence Dunbar
Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate, runner-up: Emmet Allen, Henry Clay
Varsity Lincoln-Douglas / Speaker Awards, runner-up: Katy Estes, Henry Clay
Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate, runner-up: Shelby Amato, Henry Clay
Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate / Speaker Awards, fourth: Rachel Hudson, Henry Clay
Varsity Public Forum, runner-up: Jimmy Chen and Sahar Mohammadzaden, Dunbar
Varsity Public Forum / Speaker Awards, fourth: Anya Slepyan, Henry Clay
Policy Debate / Speaker Awards, runner-up: Henna Khan, Henry Clay; fourth: Jacob Collins, Henry Clay
Overall in speech: fourth place, Dunbar; fifth, Henry Clay
Radio Broadcasting, winner: Laura Briggs, Lafayette; third: Meghana Kudrimoti, Dunbar
Impromptu Speaking, runner-up: Amir Abou-Jaoude, Henry Clay
Duo Interpretation, third: Henna Khan and Faith LoPiccolo, Henry Clay; fourth: Jarod Frank and
Hannah Whitley, Lafayette
Storytelling, third: Sahar Mohammadzaden, Dunbar; fourth: Linda Zhang, Dunbar
Oratorical Declamation, fifth: Amir Abou-Jaoude, Henry Clay
Extemporaneous Speaking, fifth: Sahil Nair, Dunbar
■ Rosa Parks Elementary fifth-grade teacher, Allison George, is the first honoree in radio station 106.3's Tell on Your Teacher Tuesdays promotion, which is tied to the May 5 celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Day. George was nominated by student Zach Carter and received a $350 prize basket including gift cards for a restaurant, facial and massage, a bracelet and movie passes.
■ Leadership Lexington Youth presented its 2015 Distinguished Leader Award to Erin Disponett of Lafayette High School. Erin will be recognized at Commerce Lexington's annual dinner next February and will receive a $1,000 scholarship upon high school graduation. LLY is an eight-month educational program that enables high school juniors to engage with community leaders and talk about issues, careers, business opportunities and post-secondary options.
■ Michael Bardo, professor of psychology in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2015 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.
Bardo becomes the university's nominee for the 2015 SEC Professor of the Year Award and will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the SEC. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named later this month, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the SEC Awards Dinner in May and the SEC Symposium in September.
■ Anna Secor, professor of geography, social theory and gender and women's studies at the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the university's first Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Islamic Studies Professor.
The endowed professorship was created by Dr. Hamid Hussain Sheikh Sr., a Lexington obstetrics and gynecology specialist, and his wife Amy Lee Sheikh, in memory of his mother Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh. A native of Lahore, Pakistan, Hajja Sheikh was active in her community and a leader in her faith. Although she did not receive a formal education, she held a strong belief in education and encouraged all eight of her children to pursue a college education.
The new professorship will be devoted to the enhancement of Islamic studies education through the examination of existing research coupled with the generation of new ideas, concepts and research findings in the areas of Islamic culture, history or civilization.
■ 50th Reunion for Lafayette High School Class of 1965 will be July 31 and Aug. 1. Go to Lafayettesr65.com for more info. Deadline for reservations is July 1.