▪ Two teams from SCAPA at Bluegrass have advanced to the 32-team final round of the 2016 Lexus Eco Challenge, a national STEM contest for grades 6-12 built on environmental issues and practical solutions. With their first-round success in the air/climate division, the Mighty Meat Minimizers and the No Drive-Thru Crew each secured a $10,000 prize for their team and their school. Both groups are guided by science teacher Ashlie Beals Arkwright.
The Mighty Meat Minimizers include Aedon Gunn, Shannon James, Angie Xiao, Nolan Gunn, Katherine Cherry, Jacqueline Mullins and Abigail Fister. Concerned about the environmental impact associated with meat consumption, they found that 51 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to animal agriculture, according to PETA. To target this issue, the team used social media to encourage SCAPA families and community residents to eat two or more meatless meals per week. They also presented their project at Julius Marks Elementary’s Science Night, hosted a SCAPA Night at Alfalfa’s Restaurant, and published an online meatless cookbook.
The No Drive-Thru Crew includes Helena Schatzki, Morgan Buckner, Vicky Chen, Abigail Ratliff, Niki Maleki, Samantha Briggs and Mary Beth Matocha. They learned that, according to CNN, people waste enough gasoline to drive half a mile every minute that their cars are idling. The team urged people to forgo a restaurant’s drive-thru and instead park their cars and order inside, resulting in reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality. The students spread the word about their initiative through social media, presented their project at Julius Marks Elementary’s Science Night, and partnered with Kentucky’s Division for Air Quality.
Earlier, a team from Tates Creek High School, Let’s Go Batty, advanced out of the land/water division to the final challenge, which ends Feb. 19. Eight first-place teams will receive $15,000 each, while two grand prize winners (middle and high school) will net $30,000 each.
▪ Amir Abou-Jaoude, a senior at Henry Clay High School, repeated as winner of the Lexington League of Women Voters’ essay contest and received $250 for his efforts. Second place and $150 went to Samuel Clark, a Henry Clay freshman. Waleed Ibrahim, a senior at Lafayette High School, received the special recognition for English Language Learners and a $100 award designated for students facing the dual challenge of content and writing in a second language. Honorariums went to their mentor teachers: Scott Brown at Henry Clay and Tim Mitsumori at Lafayette.
This year’s contest encouraged students to research an issue of public policy that concerned them and to present their position as a persuasive essay, organizing data to support their stand. Amir tackled racism on college campuses, addressing the subject as “An American Problem,” and Samuel focused on forced labor in the production of goods sold by large corporations, calling his entry “Slavery in America Today.” Meanwhile, Waleed explained the dangers of an illegal synthetic drug in “Let’s Make a Stop to Flakka.”
▪ Paul Laurence Dunbar High School topped its field in the 2016 Governor’s Cup district-level contests, which wrapped Jan. 30. The Governor’s Cup, founded in 1986 to promote classroom achievement, is Kentucky’s premier academic competition. The contest consists of five written assessment exams, composition (on-demand writing), future problem-solving and quick recall (quiz bowl).
Fayette County Public Schools’ team results in District 44:
Overall: 1st Paul Laurence Dunbar; 4th Tates Creek.
Future problem-solving: 1st Paul Laurence Dunbar; 2nd Tates Creek.
Quick recall: 1st Paul Laurence Dunbar; 4th Tates Creek.
Overall: 2nd Henry Clay, 3rd Bryan Station, 4th Lafayette.
Quick recall: 2nd Henry Clay, 3rd Bryan Station, 4th Lafayette.
Complete details and students’ scores can be found at Kaac.com/results.
The middle grades and high school divisions of the Governor’s Cup include district, regional and state competition. Elementary students participate only in district and regional contests. This year’s high school regional concludes Feb. 20, and the state finals are March 19-21 in Louisville.
▪ Linda Medley, who previously served in the advancement office of St. Catharine College nearly 20 years ago, has returned as vice president for advancement.
Medley’s career in advancement spans more than 35 years, as she raised money for eight non-profit organizations. Her experience ranges from children’s services to senior nursing care and from high school to college advancement. She most recently worked with the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She has also raised money for the Home of the Innocents in Louisville, the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts and Boy Scouts of America.
Medley participated in her first capital campaign in 1985 with the Boy Scouts and since then has led campaigns that have generated more than $96 million.
▪ Students in the Class of 2016 in Fayette County Public Schools may apply for 16th District PTA scholarships, which help young people continue their education. The awards are based on financial need, academic achievement and contributions to the community through extracurricular activities. Recent awards have been $1,000; the minimum amount is $500.
A scholarship goes to one senior at each of Fayette County’s five high schools. (Students in other academic programs may apply through their home school.) An additional scholarship is earmarked for a senior with special needs. The winners will be notified this spring and recognized at May’s districtwide PTA luncheon.
The application deadline is March 15. Apply at Bgcf.org/learn/scholarships.