■ Surya Green, a senior at Tates Creek High School, will receive a Gates Millennium Scholarship that will cover her expenses at Baylor University in Texas.
She is the only Kentucky recipient of the scholarship this year. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, established in 1999, is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
These scholarships reduce financial barriers for minority students and provide for leadership development, mentoring, and academic and social support. Each year, 1,000 students nationwide receive the good-through-graduation awards to use at the college or university of their choice.
Surya's plans are to major in international relations, work for the United Nations and become an ambassador for the UNICEF program.
Surya is student body president at Tates Creek and is active in Distributive Education Clubs of America, Y Club and Beta Club. She also is a member of the school's speech team, swim team and principal's advisory board. This year, she was named the 2012 Youth Achiever of the Year through the YMCA of Central Kentucky's Black Achievers Program.
Besides Green, several other Fayette County students also were honored at the 27th annual YMCA of Central Kentucky Black Achievers awards program. They were chosen based on their YMCA Black Achievers' senior packet score, number of years and attendance in the program, grade-point average and ACT scores.
Bryan Station High School: Daveda Asberry, Frances Figgs, Deonte Gaines, Rhonisha Gentry, MarKedra Jackson, Justin Johnson, Desirae Jones, Kayswanna McCoy, Kelvin Relford and Joyia Williams (also of Opportunity Middle College).
Henry Clay High School: Timmothy Baker, Arabia Byrd, Ceci Evans, KyVonne Lackey and Lauren Wash.
Lafayette High School: Charna Coleman and Courtney Taylor.
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School: Lexus Miller.
Tates Creek High School: Everlena Hogans and Tayron Ross.
The YMCA Black Achievers is an educational and cultural enrichment program that prepares middle and high school students for college.
■ For the 15th consecutive year, SCAPA at Bluegrass secured the junior division title at the Kentucky High School Speech League's state tournament.
Category champions leading the way for SCAPA were Kurtis Brown, Erin Disponett and Amir Abou-Jaoude.
In the senior division's speech and debate competition, first-place winners included Ben Swanson of Henry Clay High School and Andrew Brennan and Eric Xiong of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Dunbar finished fifth overall.
■ Allison Wood, a senior at Bryan Station High School, is among Kentucky's three Presidential Scholars for 2012.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the 48th class of recipients May 2, recognizing 141 seniors for their accomplishments in academics or the arts. Kentucky's other scholars are from Louisville and Lewisport.
The students will travel to Washington, D.C., for several days of educational, celebratory and fellowship activities. Each also may invite his or her most inspiring and challenging teacher to the June 16 awards ceremony.
Allison is a member of Bryan Station's Key Club and Young Democrats, and she plays in numerous ensembles, including the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra. She also translates material into Spanish for various community organizations. She plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to study computer science.
All graduating seniors who are U.S. citizens and have scored exceptionally well on either the SAT or the ACT are automatically considered for participation in the Presidential Scholars Program, which was established in 1964. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts.
Of the 3 million students expected to graduate this year, more than 3,300 candidates qualified for the awards based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.
Other Fayette County Public Schools candidates were Rachel Geil and Patrick Lutz of Henry Clay High; Robert Cass of Lafayette High; and Erin Anderson, Grant Boggess, Todd Montgomery, Alexander Petros, Qi Yu and Christina Zhang of Paul Laurence Dunbar High. Rachel also was a semifinalist.
■ For the 21st straight year, Fayette County Public Schools has received the "What Parents Want" award, given since 1992 to districts that make noteworthy efforts to meet families' needs. FCPS was among 17 of 174 Kentucky districts to qualify in 2012.
The recognition comes from SchoolMatch, an educational research and database service company that specializes in rating schools. Nationwide, SchoolMatch found that 16 percent of the country's 15,571 public school districts met its criteria.
■ Junior Andrew Pennington of Corbin has been selected as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance student ambassador for Eastern Kentucky University.
NCIIA student ambassadors work to create networks and events that inspire university entrepreneurs, encourage them to become involved in NCIIA programs and activities, and support them to create inventions and innovations that have a social benefit.
Pennington, a public relations major, will attend a weeklong program in August with peers from universities across the country to develop ideas that he can bring back to EKU to encourage entrepreneurship activity among students. Pennington won the 2011 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge for his own business idea. He recently launched a company, Contractor Yard Sale, that is located in the Accelerator, EKU's Business Incubator in the College of Business and Technology.
■ Ninth-Grade Improvement Awards recognize Fayette County Public School freshmen who have put themselves back on the right path after some early struggles.
Each school cited one freshman deemed to be the most improved during the 2011-12 school year and presented each with mp3 players courtesy of Pomeroy and HP. They are:
Qwest Edwards, Bryan Station; Eli Gawthorp, Henry Clay; Rachel Wallace, Lafayette; Marlen Sanchez, Paul Laurence Dunbar; Jontavious Gray, Tates Creek; Joseph Rowe, Martin Luther King Jr. Academy; Alexander Brown, The Learning Center at Linlee.
■ Jazmine Shoup, a graduate of Scott County High School, has been named the recipient of a $500 travel scholarship from Kentucky Ecuador Partners.
The purpose of the scholarship is to support study abroad in Ecuador and to increase awareness of the Kentucky-Ecuador Partners of the Americas program among a new generation of students.
Shoup, a University of Kentucky sophomore majoring in elementary education, will travel with the UK Honors Program led by Kentucky Ecuador Partners Education chair Larry Grabau.
This month, she and 11 other members of the honors program will travel throughout Ecuador. The trip is designed to introduce students to culture, environment, language, indigenous communities, food and the overall atmosphere of Ecuadorian life.
After the tour, Jazmine will spend an additional two weeks working with the organization Compassion International. She will be living with an Ecuadorian family and helping in the home country office coordinating youth sponsorships, as well as helping with youth activities sponsored by Compassion in Quito.
Kentucky-Ecuador Partners offers one $500 scholarship for a participant in the Kentucky Institute for International Studies Ecuador program.
■ The North Middletown School (Bourbon County) Alumni Banquet will be May 26. Registration begins at 4 p.m., and the banquet begins at 5 p.m.
The graduating classes of 1961, 1962 and 1963 will be recognized.
Entertainment for the evening includes North Middletown Elementary School students performing excerpts from Seussical the Musical. Dance troupe Young at Heart is also scheduled to perform.
Past students of North Middletown High School and North Middletown Elementary School and their guests and former school personnel are invited to attend.
Registration is $25 per person. Contact Carol Myers Hatton at (859) 263-0790 or Billye Jean Stigall at (859) 737-3010 for more information.