Education notes: April 18



■ Three area seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2012 Presidential Scholars Program, one of the nation's most prestigious honors for high school students.

Rachel Geil of Henry Clay High School, Allison Wood of Bryan Station High School and Megan Hooven of Scott County High School are among the nine Kentucky students advancing in the competition. The winners will be announced in early May.

Each year, as many as 141 seniors are named Presidential Scholars for their outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship and community service. When selected, students spend several days in Washington, D.C., in June interacting with government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished professionals.

All graduating seniors who are U.S. citizens and have scored exceptionally well on the ACT or the SAT are automatically considered for participation.

The Southeastern Conference recently announced the winners of its first ever Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Awards. The awards honor professors from SEC universities with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for other faculty and students. The University of Kentucky recognized Steven W. Yates, a professor of chemistry, physics and astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In presenting the awards, the SEC becomes the only Division I conference within the National Collegiate Athletic Association recognizing university faculty for their achievements unrelated to athletics or student-athletes.

To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, a professor must be a teacher or scholar at an SEC university, have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.

SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners, one from each university, receive a $5,000 honorarium and become their university's nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized during the annual SEC spring banquet in May.

■ Three area students received awards in the 2012 National Achievement Scholarship Program, which benefits black high school seniors. Area winners are Micayla R. Tatum, Henry Clay High School; Samantha D. Poston, Scott County High School; and Abyssinia M. Lissanu, Somerset High School.

Candidates are judged on their record of accomplishments and potential for success in college. Micayla, who is interested in international relations and possibly law school, is one of some 700 young people who will receive $2,500 scholarships for undergraduate study. About 100 others will get corporate-sponsored awards of varying amounts.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is a privately financed academic competition established in 1964 specifically to honor scholastically talented black American youth.

This year's awards, totaling more than $2 million, are covered by grants from 29 organizations and professional associations and by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

Some 160,000 high school juniors requested consideration in the competition when they took the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Anne Evans of Lexington, a senior at Centre College, was chosen by her classmates to be one of two speakers at the college's annual Honors Convocation on May 1. The program recognizes student achievement, including recipients of prizes and awards, new members of honorary societies, new Junior Marshals and students on the dean's list. Evans is the daughter of Carson and Lida Evans of Lexington and is a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

Willow Dickey of Lexington has received a full scholarship to The Webb School, a boarding school in Bell Buckle, Tenn., where she will be a freshman in the fall. Webb's Honors Scholarship Program recognizes students who excel in academics, extracurricular activities and leadership.

Dickey was selected as one of the school's Honors Scholars among a field of 11 finalists, all of whom were invited to the Webb campus to compete for the four-year scholarship valued at more than $158,000.

Dickey, who conducted her own national search and decided to apply to Webb, said she chose the school because of its "sense of community" and the "independent work environment."

Dickey was awarded state recognition in the Duke Talent Identification Program. She plays soccer and tennis, and enjoys drawing, painting, modeling and rock climbing. She is involved in community service at an animal shelter.

The Honors Scholarship program is Webb's only full merit scholarship, which includes tuition and boarding for four years. Awarded once a year, the program recognizes rising ninth-grade boarding students who are ready to become leaders in the college preparatory school academic environment.