■ Austin Booth, a seventh-grader at Lexington Traditional Magnet School, won the 2013 Fayette County Spelling Bee. He received a trophy and $75. Austin competed Feb. 19 against 68 other students from public, private, parochial and home schools across Lexington. Julia Radhadrishnan, a home-school seventh-grader from Lexington, was second. In third was Shashank Bhatt, a sixth-grader at Winburn Middle School.
Fayette County Farm Bureau sponsored the countywide spelling bee for students in grades 4-8. Austin will represent Fayette County at the Kentucky Derby Festival State Spelling Bee on Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville.
■ The annual FAME Awards in Fayette County Public Schools offer graduating seniors a chance to thank publicly a teacher, coach or mentor who made a difference in their education. For instance, Tates Creek's Brynna Monk recognized Karen Morrison, who taught her in fourth grade at Lansdowne Elementary and helped her gain confidence, particularly with reading and writing.
Morrison, sitting next to a grown-up Monk at FAME celebration Feb. 16, was overcome with emotion. "This is why I've chosen to do what I do — to affect the life of a child," she said. "This is the best compliment I've ever received."
Eighty-seven seniors submitted essays this year. The five high school winners presented their essays during the event at Bryan Station High School, and the rest of the students introduced their nominees with brief excerpts.
The winning essays:
Bryan Station High School: McKenzi Peace, honoring English teacher Catherine Vannatter.
Henry Clay High School: Olivia Cottrell, honoring psychology teacher Catherine Jaquith.
Lafayette High School: Miranda Holm-Hudson, honoring English teacher Jonel Sallee.
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School: Venecia Proctor, honoring English teacher Wendy Turner.
Tates Creek High School: Kayla Denton, honoring Youth Services Center director Angela Davis.
■ The American String Teachers Association honored two music educators in Fayette County Public Schools. Mary Elizabeth Henton was named Kentucky's 2013 Studio Teacher of the Year, and Rebecca Goff was named the state's Orchestra Director of the Year. They received the awards Feb. 8 in Louisville.
Henton is in her first year with FCPS, working as assistant orchestra director at Tates Creek High School, assistant at Southern Middle School and orchestra teacher at Breckinridge Elementary.
Goff, who has been an orchestra teacher for 17 years, works at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and Rosa Parks Elementary.
■ Maya Chamberlain, a fifth-grader at Liberty Elementary, won the 2013 bookmark design contest in the Lexington Legends/Chick-fil-A "Hit the Books" reading incentive program. Allison Steele, a fifth-grader at Stonewall Elementary; Samuel Jung, a second-grader at Eastern Elementary in Scott County; Grace Kim, a fourth-grader at Wilmore Elementary; and Leah Olmstead, a fourth-grader at Wilmore Elementary, all received honorable mention for their designs. They received framed posters and Legends merchandise.
Maya received Legends merchandise, a framed "Hit the Books" poster featuring her artwork and a free membership in the 2013 Little Legends Kids Club. She also will be invited to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a designated game for her school. Bookmarks featuring Maya's artwork will be distributed to everyone participating in this spring's "Hit the Books." More than 21,000 students from 52 Central Kentucky schools are expected to take part in the program, which runs through April 1.
■ Eastern Kentucky University's baccalaureate degree program in Safety, Security and Emergency Management ranks among the nation's "Top 25 Public Safety College Degree Programs," according to Safe Sound Family.
"Schools that made our list offer public safety degree programs with a thorough foundation in core leadership and management competencies needed to turn today's students into tomorrow's public safety leaders," according to an article on the Safe Sound Family website: Safesoundfamily.com/blog/top-25-public-safety-degrees.
For more information, visit Ssem.eku.edu.
■ A team of middle school math-letes from Winburn Middle School captured first place in the local Mathcounts competition Feb. 16 at the University of Kentucky. Students on the top three teams advance to the state contest.
First place, Winburn: Austin Li, Ronit Kar, Benjamin Xie and Zsombor Gal; second place, Tates Creek Middle: Ethan Tan, Philip Bryant, Matthew Zachman and Andrew Albrecht; third place, SCAPA at Bluegrass: Riley Bishop, Josephine Wendroth, Gavin Burt and Carson Crovo.
Individual competitors moving on to state are Mingxi Mao, Amy Wang, David Ma and Eric Cao of Winburn; Theodore Ehrenborg of Morton Middle School; and Emily Lui of Lexington Traditional Magnet School.
The 30th state Mathcounts competition will be March 23 at the Clarion Hotel North in Lexington. The top four individual scorers will be offered full-tuition, four-year scholarships to the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville, and will advance to the Raytheon Mathcounts National Competition on May 10 in Washington, D.C.
■ Leia Wedlund, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, and Kareem Omar, a senior at West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, are Kentucky's winners of the 2012-13 Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, a program of the Siemens Foundation administered by the College Board. Kareem has taken 20 AP courses; his favorite is Physics B. Leia has taken 10 AP courses; her favorite is computer science.
The awards recognize the nation's top achievers in Advanced Placement Program courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a $2,000 college scholarship each to one male and one female student in each state. Two national winners are also recognized, each receiving a $5,000 scholarship.
■ Schools in Fayette County took five of the top 10 positions in the Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl "State Champion School Category."
Montessori Middle School won the contest, recycling more than 680 pounds for the contest, about 12 pounds per person. The school will receive $1,000 for its efforts.
The national competition, held from Oct. 15 to Nov. 9, challenged students and faculty across the nation to collect the most recyclable materials generated at their school.
Nationally, 1,577 schools registered to compete and 4.5 million pounds of material were recycled.
The top 10 in Kentucky were:
1. Montessori Middle School of Kentucky, Lexington
2. Leestown Middle School, Lexington
3. Eastern High School, Louisville
4. Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Lexington
5. Ashland Elementary, Lexington
6. White Hall Elementary School, Richmond
7. Henry County Middle School, New Castle
8. Pikeville High School, Pikeville
9. Russell Cave Elementary School, Lexington
10. Science Hill Independent, Science Hill
■ Myles Murry was named a student ambassador at the 2013 People to People Leadership Summit. Myles is a freshman at Henry Clay High School and will represent his school in the two-week medicine and health care program at Johns Hopkins University-Baltimore, Md., in June.
■ Allen Engle has earned Eastern Kentucky University's highest honor for teaching excellence. Engle, a professor in the Department Management, Marketing and Administrative Communication, received the 2013-15 EKU Foundation Professorship. The annual honor recognizes those who demonstrate outstanding abilities in the three primary roles of a faculty member: teaching, service and research. The professorship provides a salary supplement for two years.
■ The third annual FCPS Bluegrass Trifecta features three 5K races organized by Southern Middle School, Bryan Station High and Sandersville Elementary.
Race dates are: March 23, Lightning Strike 5K (Southern Middle PTSA); April 20, Defender Classic 5K (Bryan Station); and May 11, Sharks on the Run 5K (Sandersville). Participants' times from each race will be totaled and awards will be presented to the top three men and top three women.
Sign up at Bluegrasstrifecta.weebly.com.
■ Twenty recent college graduates are taking part in the inaugural Alltech Graduate Academy, and four of the participants are Kentuckians, including two who are University of Kentucky alumni.
Versailles native Rebecca Noble received a bachelor's degree in political science from UK and earned a master's degree in international political economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Danielle Palmer of Crestwood studied journalism as a UK undergraduate prior to receiving her master's degree from UK's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.
The other two Kentuckians chosen as part of an elite class of emerging leaders in global agribusiness are Ashland native Daniel Grubb and Woodford County's Ashley Hamilton Baker. Baker majored in Spanish at Auburn University and earned her master's in international business management from Kingston University, London. Grubb, a chemistry major and physics minor at Georgetown College, worked in a lab at UK's Center for Applied Energy Research for three years.
Noble, Palmer and Baker also bring professional experience to the program. Noble is assigned to the Alltech crop science team, Grubb is part of the algae team, while Palmer and Baker are members of the brewing and distilling team.
■ Collaborating with Kentucky Ballet Theatre, Leestown Middle School's advanced choir performed in the Wizard of Oz at the Lexington Opera House on Feb. 23 and 24. Students who participated in Oz were sixth-graders Sada Hussein, Litzy Najera, Morgan Redmond and Emily White; and eighth-graders Veda Cantara, Caitlin Eary, Christina Edwards, Kairi Frederick, Paige Mason, Jimmy Rutherford and Starr Scott. They sang in three performances of KBT artistic director Norbe Risco's ballet.
Providence Montessori School is offering Montessori elementary teacher training, focusing on students ages 6 through 9 in grades first through third. For more information, contact Providence Montessori at (859) 255-7330.