■ The Kentucky Retired Teachers Association announced the winners of its AARP/KRTA Grandparent Essay Contest at the group's March luncheon. Kailey Lewis, a fifth-grade student at Veterans Park Elementary, is the Fayette County winner of the AARP/KRTA Grandparent Essay Contest. Kailey is the daughter of Jennifer and Michael Lewis. Haley Hill, a fifth-grade student at Bourbon Central Elementary School in Paris, was also named a winner. Haley is the daughter of Candy and Jeff Hill. Both students wrote essays honoring their grandmothers.
■ Fayette County Public Schools recently announced the following 16th District PTA's 2011 awards and recognitions: Scholarship winners ($1,000 each): James Hardin, Bryan Station; Danielle Peterson, Henry Clay; Eurika Boulay, Lafayette; Dillon Hickman, Paul Laurence Dunbar; Tyler Farquhar, Tates Creek; Carly Hodges, Eastside Technical Center; Jasmine Marie Johnson, Southside Technical Center; and Claudia Ivette Gonzalez, Opportunity Middle College. Attendance recognition (for 100 percent participation in district-wide roundtable meetings): Beaumont Middle, Bryan Station Middle, Deep Springs Elementary, Dixie Elementary, Jessie Clark Middle, Lexington Traditional Magnet School, Maxwell Elementary, Meadowthorpe Elementary, Sandersville Elementary, Tates Creek High, Veterans Park Elementary and Winburn Middle School.
Outstanding program awards: Stonewall Elementary — Student Achievement Program: Science Night; James Lane Allen Elementary — Student Achievement Program: Tiger Tales; Cassidy Elementary — Healthy Lifestyles: Health Policy and Health Family Night; Dixie Elementary — for promoting involvement; Meadowthorpe Elementary — for overall programming. Reflections art program Kay Collins Award (for 100 percent student participation): Dixie, Garden Springs, Millcreek and Tates Creek elementary schools. Membership awards: Judy Whitmer Award, Ashland Elementary; Harold L. Steele Award, Beaumont Middle School; Ronald Walton Award, Henry Clay High School. Highest percentage of PTA membership (based on student enrollment): Veterans Park Elementary, Southern Middle School and Tates Creek High School. Membership Challenge awards (for a 16 percent increase over last year): Arlington Elementary, Ashland Elementary, Athens-Chilesburg Elementary, Beaumont Middle School, Booker T. Washington Academy, Bryan Station Middle School, Crawford Middle School, Dixie Elementary Magnet School, Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, Liberty Elementary, Meadowthorpe Elementary, Northern Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary, Tates Creek Elementary, Tates Creek Middle School and William Wells Brown Elementary. Special recognitions: Maggie Price Award (for courage and devotion through volunteerism): Kathy Silberman. Special recognition: Superintendent Stu Silberman, who is retiring this summer after seven years leading Fayette County Public Schools. Lifetime Achievement Award: Jessica Berry, 16th District PTA president for the last two years.
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■ The E=USE2 initiative in Fayette County Public Schools and three school projects will represent Kentucky at the National Energy Education Development (NEED) conference this summer in Washington, D.C. They also were honored at the Kentucky NEED and the Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools joint awards ceremony May 18 at the Frankfort Convention Center.
In the NEED Youth Awards Program for Energy Achievement, Dixie Elementary Magnet and Ashland Elementary turned in the most outstanding primary and rookie division projects, respectively. A team from Morton Middle School will also attend the June 24-27 national conference since their project received the highest score out of all FCPS middle and high schools.
■ University of Kentucky journalism student Cassidy Herrington recently was named a national finalist in the prestigious Society of Professional Journalists' Mark of Excellence Awards. Her column "'Undercover' in hijab: unveiling one month later," which originally appeared in The Kentucky Kernel, earned her the honor in the general column writing category. The award puts Herrington's column in the top three college newspaper columns in the country for 2010.
■ A second-grader at Liberty Elementary earned an Award of Merit in the National PTA's Reflections competition, one of the country's oldest and largest arts recognition programs.
Jackson Gonzales, whose "Energy Creator" was entered in the literature category, received a silver-plated Reflections medallion, a certificate and a letter signed by the national PTA president. He will also be included in a virtual PTA Reflections gallery.
This year's theme was "Together we can ..." Eight students from Fayette County Public Schools advanced to the national contest including Jackson, who won an excellence award in literature and a merit award in photography at the state level.
■ Fayette County Public Schools' 16th District PTA, which encompasses all Fayette County Public Schools, has welcomed the following new officers to two-year terms: Liza Holland, president; Kathy Smiley, first vice president; Jaime Nebbitt, second vice president; Colleen Wolfe, treasurer: Kate Wood, recording secretary; Jenni Scutchfield, corresponding secretary.
■ UK's Martin School of Public Policy and Administration recently honored Patrick P. DeLuca with its annual William E. Lyons Award for Outstanding Service. The Lyons Award is presented each year to an individual associated with UK who has contributed significantly to the university, the Lexington community and/or the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
■ Sarah Caton, a junior at Lafayette High School, won a national first-place award for poetry in a Junior American Citizens contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Students, who were judged by grade level, also created stamp designs, posters, banners and short stories focusing on the theme "Preserving America's Past." Among eighth-graders, Emma Norris of Edythe J. Hayes Middle School received honorable mention for her stamp.
Sarah will receive a certificate and award from the DAR's National Society and a gift from the Bryan Station chapter in Lexington.
■ Carlos Verdecchia, an AP Biology teacher at Bryan Station High School, has been named a 2011 All-American Teacher of the Year by the National Math and Science Initiative.
Verdecchia is one of three Kentucky teachers among the 23 national honorees. He received a cash award and recognition at a May 26 awards luncheon in Washington, D.C.
■ Dr. Wendy Hansen, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Kentucky, has been chosen to participate in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women at Drexel University College of Medicine.
Hansen is one of only 54 senior faculty across the country named to ELAM's 2011-12 class of fellows.
ELAM is the only national program dedicated to preparing senior women faculty for positions of leadership at academic health centers. While the number of women graduating from health professional schools across the country continues to climb, the number of women holding positions of leadership in academic health centers lags severely behind.