Education news of interest in Central Kentucky: Dec. 9

Michael Benson
Michael Benson


The University of Kentucky Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of professor James Campbell, performed a Showcase Concert at the 2014 Percussive Arts Society International Convention held in Indianapolis recently. Their convention performance was the prize for winning the International Collegiate Percussion Ensemble Competition, a record feat they have won five times.

PASIC is the largest percussion event in the world featuring more than 120 concerts, clinics, master classes, labs, workshops, panels and presentations. The finest artists from all over the world are invited to present and perform at PASIC. The program showcases all areas of percussion, including: drumset, marching, keyboard, symphonic, world, recreational, education, music technology, new music, and health and wellness.

The UK Percussion Ensemble performed new works by composers Lewis Nielson (Oberlin Conservatory), Baljinder Sekhon (University of South Florida), Anders Åstrand (Stockholm) and Glenn Kotche (UK alumnus and drummer for Wilco).

UK Percussion Ensemble is housed at the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The school has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson has been appointed to represent Football Championship Subdivision institutions on the nine-member NCAA Honors Committee. Benson is the first Ohio Valley Conference president to serve on the committee. His term begins immediately and will continue through the January 2018 NCAA Convention. The Committee selects award recipients for the annual Honors Dinner: the Theodore Roosevelt Award, Silver Anniversary Awards, Today's Top Eight Awards, Inspiration Award and Award of Valor. Its first scheduled meeting is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2015, in conjunction with the Honors Celebration at the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C.

Blue Grass Community Foundation has awarded nearly $10,000 to eight schools through its Teacher Mini-Grants Program, which supports educators' ideas for creative and interesting programs, projects and events that foster learning through special materials or additional classroom resources.

All teachers in Fayette County Public Schools were invited to apply. A committee of community volunteers considered each proposal's potential to improve student achievement, number of students who would benefit, creativity of the project, potential for continuation and replication, and cost-effectiveness.

The following schools received mini grants for 2014-2015:

Bryan Station Middle School: $800 for an iPad and other technology for students with cognitive and communication challenges.

James Lane Allen Elementary: $994.59 for drums and other percussion instruments for music instruction.

Julius Marks Elementary: $423.95 to encourage oral expression through storytelling.

Mary Todd Elementary: $1,000 for the "Music and Literacy in the Preschool Classroom" project.

Meadowthorpe Elementary: $977 for the "Learning through Literacy" project, in which second-graders show preschoolers how to use technology to enhance reading.

Sandersville Elementary: $1,000 for the Engineering is Elementary project, using STEM principles to solve real-world problems; $949.70 for LEGO robotics to provide hands-on instruction for engineering projects; $750 for the 4th Grade Gazette, through which students write, edit and publish a grade-level newspaper; $664.95 for the Quirkles, a program to develop science and literacy skills in second-graders

Southern Elementary: $910.80 for "Economics and English," which presents practical living and financial literacy to fifth-graders; $725.20 to purchase award-winning literature for fifth-graders.

Squires Elementary: $444.96 to partner with parents to promote reading in kindergartners' homes.

■ Lexington Catholic student Christian Cole has received the Association of Fundraising Professional's 2014 Youth in Philanthropy Award. The group recognizes an outstanding youth each year for his or her service to humanity. Christian was recognized for building a rubble home for his friend Odolphe in Haiti (introducing the innovative building concept to that Haitian community), refurbishing a chicken coop, purchasing 200 chickens, and providing money and supplies to send 17 Haitian children to school. His support has been ongoing for the past four years. He continues his support for Haiti through a landscaping business he owns and operates year round. This is the second year in a row that a Lexington Catholic student has won the award. Eliza Waller was last year's recipient.

Tates Creek High School's drama club received first-place honors for The Amish Project, and Paul Thomas of Lafayette High has been named the state's Drama Teacher of the Year at the Kentucky Theatre Association's 2014 high school festival. Bryan Station's drama club placed third with I Never Saw Another Butterfly, and Paul Laurence Dunbar's drama club received an honorable mention for set design.

Tates Creek's Layne Preston was named best actress, and the all-star cast included Cassidy Mullins of Tates Creek, Cavan Hendron of Bryan Station, Addyson Bell of Dunbar, and Brianna Mayo of Lafayette. As the state theater champion, Tates Creek advances to national competition in Chattanooga in March. The cast and crew includes Griffin Allen, Hunter Bell, Hannah Carpenter, Michaela Carter, Katelyn Conn, Jonah Fryrear, Gavin Holiday, Amelia Hurt, Cassidy Mullins, Hailey O'Hair, Layne Preston, Erin Reed, James Southworth, Joseph Southworth, Micah Stewart-Wilcox, Ryan Welleford and Josh Wicker.

Lexmark International has honored the first four winners of INSPIRE: Lexmark's Teaching Award for the 2014- 2015 school year. The program recognizes outstanding Central Kentucky area elementary, middle and high school science, technology, engineering and math teachers.

Lexmark representatives surprised the following teachers with an INSPIRE award presented in front of peers and students at their schools: Julye Adams, a biomedical sciences teacher at Elkhorn Crossing school in Georgetown; Tammy Bradley, a science teacher at Collins Lane Elementary School in Frankfort; Amanda Prewitt, a science teacher at Waco Elementary School in Waco; and Lana Russell, a science teacher at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School in Lexington.

Lexmark presented the teachers with a $1,000 award to be used to promote STEM education in their classrooms.

Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975, by Carolyn Dupont, assistant professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, has earned the annual Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize from the American Society of Church History.

Dupont's book, published in 2013 by NYU Press, examines the faith communities at ground-zero of the racial revolution that rocked America. The Brewer Prize, accompanied by $1,500, is awarded annually to an outstanding first book.


The deadline for the Keep-It-Real: Remix 30-second video contest about substance abuse prevention is Friday. High school students can compete for cash prizes and the chance to have their video aired on regional television and as pre-show ads in local movie theaters. For contest details as well as tips and ideas for creating a video, go to


Big Ass Fans is again offering a $10,000 scholarship and summer internship program to one of Kentucky's best and brightest high school seniors. Winners will receive $5,000 in scholarship funds and a $5,000 stipend for a full-time, mentor-guided internship the summer after high school graduation. The program is open to any graduating senior in Kentucky, but participants must arrange for their own housing and transportation to Big Ass Fans' Lexington headquarters during the internship.

To be eligible, students must reside in Kentucky, earn a non-weighted GPA of 3.7 or higher, achieve a minimum composite verbal/math SAT score of 1200 or composite ACT score of 27, and plan to attend any four-year accredited college or university in the U.S.

To apply, go to Applications are due Feb. 27. Contact Big Ass Fans at with questions.