Fayette County

Education Notes: Dec. 15

Lucas Etter
Lucas Etter Photo provided.


▪ Lucas Etter, a ninth-grader at Henry Clay High School, has set a world record in the speedcubing community. His time for a single solve of the Rubik’s cube 3x3 – 4.9 seconds – was marked on Nov. 21 during a World Cube Association-sponsored competition outside of Baltimore, Md. His time will be a Guinness World record as well after the two-month application process, according to his mother, Dana Mendenhall-Etter, an LAN/WAN technician for Fayette County Public Schools.

▪ Lois Wiggins, band director at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, is one of 10 national finalists for the 2016 Music Educator Award, which carries a $10,000 honorarium. Each finalist receives $1,000 and their schools get matching grants.

A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation, the Music Educator Award was established to recognize current teachers (kindergarten through college) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in school.

Wiggins has taught for 31 years in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana; she has been at Hayes since the school opened in 2004. She earned a bachelor of science in Music Education from Austin Peay State University, a master of Music Education from the University of Georgia, and a Rank I in secondary education from Western Kentucky University. Wiggins serves as band chair for the Kentucky Music Educators Association and band content area leader for Fayette County Public Schools. She is also a member and associate conductor of the Lexington Brass Band and co-conductor of the Central Kentucky Youth Repertory Orchestra.

▪ A public service announcement created by students from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was runner-up in a video contest sponsored by the state attorney general’s office, the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, the Kentucky Pharmacists Association, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, and Operation UNITE. Their charge was to produce a 30-second video that illustrates the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Students Tatyonna Williams, Riley Brown, Lori Martinez, Rest Aliu and Haley Hall will share a $100 Amazon.com gift card donated by the pharmacists’ group. (Rest’s brother Praise Aliu, a sixth-grader at Beaumont Middle, also helped.) Their announcement features a teenager who stays up late, studying for an exam. Soon she starts to feel drowsy and decides to take some pills to stay awake. Unfortunately, she becomes addicted and loses her friends, grades and hope.

▪ A serial podcast produced at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School has received Multimedia Feature Story of the Year honors from the National Scholastic Press Association, which recognizes work by student journalists and fosters careers in media.

Dunbar graduate Pamela Stravitz, senior Keaton Allen, and juniors Brooke Bledsoe and Emily Liu were the staff for the first season of Torch (2014-15), created in the broadcast journalism class.

This academic year, Keaton and Brooke are producing the podcast series, which will offer seven episodes dealing with teens and mental illnesses.

▪ Blue Grass Community Foundation has awarded a total of $10,000 to eight sites in Fayette County Public Schools for the 2015-16 Teacher Mini-Grant Program, which encourages innovation and creativity.

The following schools received awards:

Booker T. Washington Primary Academy: $800 to purchase 40 sets of Zingo board games to teach kindergartners socialization skills and mastery of sight words.

Lafayette High School: $650 to produce creative writing pieces in French.

Leestown Middle School: $850 to purchase two iPads and accessories for the Let’s Talk project, for students learning English.

Mary Todd Elementary: $1,000 for the Bilingual Music in the Classroom program, to sponsor a bilingual instructor for five sessions of song, dance and reading for preschoolers.

Meadowthorpe Elementary: $910 to purchase seven Kindle Fire units and cases to create a Techno Literacy Center.

Picadome Elementary: $2,145 for five second-grade classrooms to purchase books for the Scholastic Ready-To-Go Classroom Library, to increase student reading and family engagement.

Picadome Elementary: $465 to purchase Kindles for the Helping Kids to Love Reading project.

Picadome Elementary: $500 to purchase graphic novels for fifth-graders to inspire young readers.

Sandersville Elementary: $716 for All About Kentucky magazine, to help produce a student-researched and student-written magazine.

Sandersville Elementary: $964 for Bringing Literacy Alive, to purchase texts and subscriptions to improve nonfiction comprehension.

Southern Elementary: $500 to purchase Comix with Content to boost reading comprehension.

Southern Elementary: $500 for A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, to purchase a grade-level set of primary source documents.

▪ Lexington Catholic student Stevan Kriss has been invited to the International Pediatric Radiology Meeting May 15-20 in Chicago. Kriss’s scientific paper, “Incidence and location of abusive skeletal injuries in infants and children: does perpetrator handedness matter?,” was reviewed by the Abstract Review Committee and accepted for presentation during the meeting.

Stevan’s project was a requirement as part of the Lexington Catholic Exemplar Scholars Program. The project was done at the University of Louisville, Speed School of Engineering and Kosair Children’s Hospital, with mentors Gina Bertocci, Angela Thompson, and Melissa Currie. It focused on abusive skeletal injuries in infants and children, specifically the connection between rib fractures and perpetrator handedness. The results imply that perpetrator handedness does matter in abusive cases, and in the future could be used to help law enforcement and social services identify abusive perpetrators.

▪ Caitlin Porter, a senior at the University of Kentucky, has been recognized in a national design competition sponsored by Kroger. She will receive $500.

The Planning and Visual Education Partnership hosted a gala in New York City on Dec. 2 for student winners.


▪ The Color of Education celebrated its ninth annual conference on Nov. 13 at Georgetown College.

The conference included more than 100 high school students from Scott, Madison and Harrison counties who spent the day learning how to prepare for college. Students were provided with information about their options for college, how to enroll and how to prepare for higher education.

The nonprofit organizationprovides resources to students of underrepresented, low-income, and at-risk backgrounds. For more information, go to Thecolorofeducation.org.


▪ Kentucky Wesleyan College has announced six new scholarships for aspiring teachers for the Fall 2016 entering class. The Pyles Scholarships are made possible by Luellen Pyles, a 1944 graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan, who taught English and Spanish in Ohio and Kentucky public schools from 1944-53. Pyles, a Mayville resident who died in December 2014, was a longtime college trustee whose bequest of over $4 million was one of the largest estate gifts in the college’s history.

Potential Pyles Scholars will be interviewed on Feb. 20, which is also Teacher Education Day and Performing Arts Day for prospective students.

For more info on the scholarships and to register for Teacher Education Day, see Kwc.edu/pylesscholars/ or call the admissions office at 270) 852-3120.