Education notes: Students honored

Aleksander Zieba
Aleksander Zieba

Aleksander Zieba, a member of the Sayre School Class of 2015, has been selected as an Egleston Scholar at Columbia University in New York City.

Being named an Egleston Scholar is Columbia Engineering's most prestigious academic designation for undergraduates. Alek is the first student from Kentucky to earn the distinction.

Alek also has been selected as a 2015 National Merit Scholar and was awarded a National Merit Scholarship.

During his senior year, he completed two graduate-level mathematics courses at the University of Kentucky. In addition to his studies, Alek has maintained an internship with the local company Awesome Inc.

Alek is the son of Piotr and Sonya Zieba.

■ Lexington native Colleen Wagoner has been selected to be part of the All-American College Band at Disneyland in California. Wagoner, a 2015 UK music education graduate, will play baritone saxophone for the summer program, which has been around since 1971.

Wagoner has been playing the saxophone for about eight years. While at UK, she gained experience in flute, saxophone and clarinet. She studied for five years under director of jazz studies and professor of saxophone Miles Osland.

The Disneyland All-American College Band is an ensemble of 21 musicians who provide musical entertainment in the park. Disney chooses students who are musically gifted, have a diverse musical background, and have expressive and outgoing personalities to part of the band. Along with performing five days a week, band members will be able to study with professional musicians and complete a musical educational project.

Sally Stevens, a 40-year education veteran, has been named the AdvancED Kentucky Excellence in Education Award honoree for her leadership in promoting and advancing excellence in education.

Stevens has served for the past 19 years as the principal of Lexington Catholic High School. She represented non-public schools on the AdvancEd State Council from 2009 to 2014.

■ University of the Cumberlands has presented Sarah England of Versailles with the George S. Munro Memorial Prize in Pre-Medical Studies during the May 9 commencement ceremony. The award recognizes academic excellence and effort by the graduating senior pre-medical student who has achieved the highest grade point average through his or her college career. She is the daughter of Danny and Donna England of Versailles.

■ University of Kentucky Family Sciences doctoral student Charlene Harris has been selected as one of only three recipients of the American Society of Criminology's 2015 Graduate Fellowship for Ethnic Minorities.

Harris, a native of the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, is the first doctoral student at UK to receive this national award since it was started in 1989.

Harris will use the $6,000 fellowship award to help finance completion of her studies at UK, as she prepares to defend her dissertation this summer.

E. Tyler Boyle, 18, has been named the South Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for his leadership in the fight against tobacco. Boyle was recognized at a gala in Washington, D.C., on May 14.

Boyle is active in the Smoke-Free Kentucky movement and spoke at the kickoff rally in Lexington for the campaign to enact a statewide smoke-free law. He worked with his local health department to organize two political forums — before the primary and general elections — to focus attention on tobacco's toll in Kentucky and the need for action to address it. He also has spoken at new conferences on tobacco issues with the Kentucky and Indiana attorneys general. More information about the youth award winners, gala and tobacco can be found at

■ Three graduating Transylvania University seniors and one alumna, all from Kentucky, will travel to Asia in the fall to teach English through grants from the highly competitive Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program.

Thomas Amburn of Fisherville will travel to Thailand, Courtney Marshall of Louisville will go to Malaysia, Rachel Smith of Mayfield will head to South Korea, and 2013 graduate Leslie Bartley of Bardstown will be in India. All four spent time abroad during their Transylvania careers studying and tutoring. They were chosen in part because of their extensive community service and campus leadership. They will teach English for the 2015-16 academic year.

Shuyi Liu, a junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, received the Best Poster Award after his oral presentation at the OMICS International Conference on Big Data Analysis and Data Mining, held May 4 and 5 in Lexington.

Shuyi registered for the conference on his own, not with a school group, because it was intended for university professors, Ph.D. holders and other research professionals. His topic was CUDA-based parallel line integral convolution on GPU for high-performance visualization of large flow data. The award was based on recognition of his research's quality, novelty and significance.

■ The annual Kentucky Junior Historical Society's state convention and the National History Day state competition were held April 24 and 25 at the University of Kentucky. Rookie Club of the Year honors went to Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, and Dunbar's Joanna Slusarewicz received the society's Leadership Award. Students also squared off to compete. The top three placements (middle and hich schools compete separately) included the following from Fayette County Public Schools:

Impromptu exhibit design: second place, Winburn Middle School: Rachana Charla, Helen Feibes, Divya Sunderam, Rebecca Turney and Samantha Underwood; first place, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School: Kelly Chen, Karina Henson, David Ma and Cici Mao.

Impromptu composition: second place, Reka Gal, Winburn; first place, David Ma, Dunbar; second place, Cici Mao, Dunbar; third place, Kelly Chen, Dunbar.

History test: first place: Divya Sunderam, Winburn; first place: David Ma, Dunbar; second place: Kelly Chen, Dunbar; and third place: Cici Mao, Dunbar.

History Bowl: first place, Dunbar: Cici Mao, Kelly Chen, Joanna Slusarewicz and Zsombor Gal.

Nearly 500 students — the regional winners from across Kentucky — participated in the National History Day state showdown, presenting the theme "Leadership and Legacy in History." Winburn's Reka Gal received a special prize sponsored by Kentucky Dataseam for her website design, "Thirteen Days That Shook the Kremlin." Following are other highlights from FCPS. The top two places can move on to the national competition June 14 through 18 at the University of Maryland.

Paper: second place: Nicole Wong, Winburn, "Communist and Capitalist, Nuclear Abolitionists: Depolarizing U.S.—U.S.S.R. Relations"; first place: Amir Abou-Jaoude, Henry Clay High, "Richard Wagner and the Legacy of the Leitmotif."

Group exhibit: first place: Ashley Rowell and Katrina Baniak, Winburn, "Conserving the Country: Theodore Roosevelt's Role in the Conservation of the United States."

Group website: first place: Kevin Jing and Rehan Ghanta, Winburn, "Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Ideas That Saved America."

Individual website: first place: Stephanie Yang, Winburn, "Einstein: Leader of Past and Present"; second place, Zsombor Gal, Dunbar, "Che: A Global Reformer."

Group documentary: first place: Subershan Wignakumar and Saif Ahmed, Winburn, "Theodore Roosevelt: Defining What it Means to be President."

Individual documentary: first place: Nicholas Imam, Winburn, "Dr. Michael DeBakey: Pumping Innovation for the Future"; second place: Megan Slusarewicz, Winburn, "The Vision of Helen Keller: Her Civil Rights Legacy"; first place: Joanna Slusarewicz, Dunbar, "Pulling the Teeth: How a Collision Between Leaders Left a Lasting Legacy on the Federal Banking System."

■ Two teachers in Fayette County Public Schools are among 213 quarterfinalists for the Grammy Music Educator Award, presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. After submitting videos, essays and testimonials, Lois Wiggins of Edythe J. Hayes Middle School and Sarah Milazzo-Payne of Bryan Station Middle School will find out in September if they make the next cut. Initially, more than 4,500 nominations were entered nationwide.

■ In U.S. News & World Report's 2015 rankings of Best High Schools, which highlight top performers on a state and national level, Henry Clay placed sixth in Kentucky, Lafayette came in at No. 10, and Tates Creek was 30th. All three were silver medalists on the national level.

Researchers reviewed data on more than 21,000 U.S. public high schools, and 87 in Kentucky made the rankings ,with four gold, 29 silver and 54 bronze medal recipients. Gold indicates the greatest level of college readiness, based on students participating in and achieving passing scores on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests. For a school to be eligible for a gold or silver medal, its students also must do well on the appropriate statewide tests, as explained in the methodology.

■ Two entries from Fayette County Public Schools have earned national awards of merit in the Reflections arts in education program, sponsored by the National PTA: Stephanie Stumbur of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was recognized for "The History Around Us" in the photography category, and Sydney Carter and Lydia Blues of Edythe J. Hayes Middle School were cited for "Everyone Sign Up" in visual arts. The awards honor imagination, creativity and interpretation of the 2014-2015 theme, "The World Would be a Better Place If ..."

■ Two students from SCAPA at Bluegrass have earned state-level honors in the 2015 Letters About Literature writing contest. Nicholas Skidmore was runner-up in the grades 7-8 division, and Emma English placed third in the grades 4-6 competition. Nicholas wrote to author Margaret Peterson Haddix about her science fiction adventure The Always War, and Emma wrote to R.J. Palacio about her debut novel, Wonder.


Sphinx Academy will offer year-round-school as an option for middle- and high-school students beginning in August. The choice of year-round instruction fits with the school's philosophy of flexible, customized student-centered learning.

Need and preference help to determine the best schedule for each student. For more information, go to