Awards and honors
■ University of Kentucky freshman and journalism pre-major Annie Dunbar has been named the Kentucky and Region II "Buddy of the Year" by the U.S. Youth Soccer Association.
Region II comprises 13 states. Dunbar will travel to Boston in February, when the selection will be made from four regional representatives for the National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year. TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based training and team-placement program for athletes with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Dunbar has been involved as a TOPSoccer volunteer in the Lexington Youth Soccer Association for five seasons. She began as a high school sophomore at Henry Clay High School in Lexington.
As a buddy, Dunbar has helped improve the social skills, self-esteem and soccer skills of the athletes with whom she works. In addition to her time as a buddy, Dunbar has become involved with the TOPSoccer advisory committee, serving as high school liaison.
For more information on TOPSoccer or volunteering as a Buddy, go to Lysa.org/tops.
■ Bourbon County Middle School seventh-grader Isabel Torres recently won a nationwide essay contest relating to the Cassini Solstice Mission project sponsored by NASA. Isabel's essay was the winning entry among all seventh- and eighth-grade students. Roughly 800 students in 26 states participated in the contest. Isabel's winning essay is posted on the NASA Web site at Saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/education/scientistforaday10thedition/winners2011/essayB2.
■ Bourbon County High School's theater department has been nominated by Ken Jones from Northern Kentucky University to perform at the 2013 American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. This is the first time Bourbon County's theater troupe has been recognized by this prestigious group. Nominations are submitted by directors from state, regional and national theater organizations, university theater professors, and AHWTF alumni directors.
As a nominee for the world's largest performing arts festival, Bourbon County's program is eligible to become one of the members of this international troupe. If the program is selected to be part of the 2013 contingent, the group will participate in a two-week trip in August 2013.
The invitation was received by Carl Willoughby, director of the drama productions at the high school. He is assisted by Rachel Poe and Connie Hutson.
■ Sixth-grader Kasey Fields, who attends the School for the Creative and Performing Arts at Bluegrass, has been selected as this year's statewide winner of the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award.
The award, open to students in grades 3 to 6, recognizes a student who has not only achieved in academics, leadership or the arts but also contributed to the community at a level beyond his or her age expectations. In this case, Kasey coordinated a 5K fun run/walk called Running 4 the Sole, which gathered shoes for people in poor countries and disaster-stricken areas.
The award is presented by the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education and the National Association for Gifted Education. The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority provides the $500 savings bond for the winner. Kasey was recognized Feb. 7 during KAGE's state conference at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa.
This nationwide award honors the memory of a 7-year-old boy named Nicholas who was killed in a drive-by shooting while visiting Italy in 1994. It has been given to one distinguished student in each state every year since 2000. Kasey is the first Kentucky winner from Fayette County.
Fourteen Montessori schools from around Central Kentucky will host a Montessori Education Fair at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Calvary Baptist Church, 150 East High Street in Lexington. The fair will feature information about Maria Montessori, the Montessori method of education and opportunities for Montessori education in the region. The featured speaker is Trevor Eissler, author of Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education, who will speak at 7 p.m.
Participating schools are: Children's Montessori School of Georgetown, Creative Montessori (Nicholasville), Community Montessori School, Harmony Day Montessori, Holding Hands Montessori (Berea), Keystone Montessori (Georgetown), Lexington Montessori, Montessori High School of Kentucky, Montessori Middle School of Kentucky, Providence Montessori, Southern Hills Montessori, St. Agatha (Winchester), Versailles Montessori School, and Victory Heights Montessori (Winchester).
The event is free. For more information, contact Carol Hiler at (859) 255-7330 or firstname.lastname@example.org
■ Eastern Kentucky University's "Try Teaching" program, in its seventh year, is accepting applications from mid- and second-career professionals who are considering a return to college for a degree in teaching.
The program allows participants to gauge their comfort level as a classroom teacher before making a life-changing career move.
The program, funded by a $175,000 grant from Covington-based Ashland Inc., has attracted 44 participants in its first six years. Each spent one or two weeks in a K-12 classroom, gaining firsthand experience as they assisted in the preparation and execution of lesson plans while learning successful educational practices from their teaching mentors.
Participants have the option of one- or two-week placements in middle and high schools throughout Central and southeastern Kentucky, as close to home as possible.
In addition to classroom time with a mentoring teacher, program participants spend time with a university-level educator to learn more about certification procedures, the teaching profession and career benefits.
The application deadline this year is June 30. For more information, contact Cynthia Resor at (859) 622-2165 or email@example.com. More information is available at Tryteaching.eku.edu.
■ Applications are being accepted for the 14th annual Teachers Who Made a Difference program hosted by the University of Kentucky College of Education.
The program gives people an opportunity to thank the teachers, principals, college professors or other educators who have inspired and motivated them to succeed.
The program does not select winners from a pool of nominees. Rather, the UK College of Education created the program to provide individuals a means to express thanks to educators who have had an impact on their lives. Honorees can be from anywhere and do not have to be affiliated with UK; however, the number of honorees to be recognized is limited. Organizers ask that nominators limit recognitions to one teacher per year.
To honor an educator, visit Education.uky.edu/community/twmad and complete the online form or download the printable form to mail in. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 29.