2017 National Merit winners named

Frankie Langdon
Frankie Langdon Photo provided

▪ Fourteen recent graduates of Fayette County Public Schools are among 85 Kentucky recipients of 2017 National Merit college-sponsored scholarships:

Thomas Cheal, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, who plans to study computer science at the University of Louisville

Jessica Daniel, Lafayette High School, undecided career field, Centre College

Preston Gorman, Henry Clay High School, computer science, University of Kentucky

Sarah Han, Dunbar, undecided, Northwestern University

Carson Hardee, Lafayette, marketing, UK

Elizabeth Howard, Dunbar, accounting, U of L

Jodi Kirkner, Henry Clay, foreign language, University of Southern California

Johnathan Krauss, Tates Creek High School, medicine, UK

Clara McKinley, Henry Clay, neurology, University of Oklahoma

Matthew Pitts, Dunbar, accounting, UK

Miranda Rojas, Lafayette, music, Belmont University

Halle Shannon, Lafayette, biochemistry, UK

Nicholas Sirlouis, Lafayette, environmental science, University of Cincinnati

Natalina Corrinne Vaccaro, Dunbar, computer science, U of L

The following area graduates were also recipients of 2017 National Merit college-sponsored scholarships:

Benjamin L. Barberie, Lexington Catholic High School, engineering, U of L

Eliot J. Bradshaw, Woodford County High School, Versailles, law, UK

Luke Hudson Dean, West Jessamine, Nicholasville, engineering, UK

Michael C. DeLetter, Lexington Catholic, chemical engineering, U of L

Anna E. Duncan, Boyle County High School in Danville, medicine, Wofford College

Sophie R. Grimes, Madison Southern High School in Berea, materials engineering, UK

Samuel P. McElhannon, West Jessamine High School, Nicholasville, engineering, UK

Sarah A. Murner, Woodford County, Versailles, music, UK

William B. Plucknett, Scott County High School in Georgetown, engineering, UK

Garrison P. Wright, homeschool, Nicholasville, medicine, UK

Linda M. Yoder, Model Laboratory School, Richmond, biomedical engineering, University of Cincinnati

In the National Merit Scholarship Program, 3,200 award winners were chosen from a pool of 15,000 finalists deemed to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the school financing the scholarship.

▪ Frankie Langdon, a Media Services technician in Fayette County Public Schools, has been selected by the Kentucky Education Association as its 2018 Education Support Professional of the Year. She received the award and a $1,000 cash prize during the association’s delegate assembly in Louisville; she can attend next spring’s national conference at no expense.

In a voluntary role, Langdon serves as president of the Fayette County Education Support Professionals Association, which advocates for classified employees throughout Fayette County Public Schools. Langdon has been with Fayette County Public Schools for 22 years.

▪ As part of its fourth annual Spotlight Awards Ceremony, Midway University honored the late bourbon pioneer Margie Samuels, wife of Bill Samuels Jr., and members of the Parrish-Roach family, whose history with the school dates back to its establishment in 1847.

Samuels received the Pinkerton Vision Award, which honors a person who has shown leadership and innovative thinking in her field while serving as a role model to others.

Though she never held an official position with the company, Margie’s contributions included naming Maker’s Mark and the distinctive red wax that drips down the neck of every bottle.

During the ceremony, Midway also presented its Legacy Award, which honors those who have given time, service and support to the university, to the Parrish-Roach family.

The family’s patriarch, James Ware Parrish, raised money to purchase the land where Midway University stands. Parrish’s descendants, including Roach family patriarch Thompson Marcus Parrish, have remained involved with the institution.

The current generation of the Parrish-Roach family remains actively involved at Midway and in the community. James Parrish Roach is a member of the Board of Trustees, while Helen Rentch is a member of Midway’s Ambassador Program. Robyn Roach established and still helps lead the Ruth Slack Roach Scholarship Program, which provides two years of full tuition to selected leaders on campus.

For more information about the awards, go to

▪ Students from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School excelled in the 2017 Kentucky Envirothon, which was held May 17-18 at the Lake Cumberland 4-H Education and Leadership Center in Jabez. In this statewide competition, the teams demonstrated their knowledge of Kentucky’s natural resources at field stations covering aquatics, soils, forestry and wildlife.

Fayette County’s “B” team was runner-up with Dunbar’s Hannah Wang, Cici Mao, Zsombor Gal, Kelly Chen and Reka Gal, and the “A” team placed third with Yoon Cho, Spandan Buch, Amit Lohe, Ananth Miller-Munthy and Kevin Hutcheson. Both groups were coached by Carly Burton of the Fayette County Conservation District.

▪ An illustrated story by Rosie Katz of Maxwell Spanish Immersion Magnet School is among the 2017 honorees in the KET Young Writers Contest. Her subject was a human rights activist from India who advocates for oppressed children. Rosie’s second-grade entry, “The Story of How I Met Kailash Satyarthi,” earned third-place honors in her age group.

Kamryn Hahn, a fifth grader from Danville, won first place in her age group in the short story category for “Lost Girl.”

Hannah Neeley, an eighth grader from Berea, won first place in her age group in the poetry category for “Hard Lines and Scars.”

Check out all of the winners at


▪ Ten school libraries in Fayette County Public Schools will be open for limited hours on certain days this summer, and their students are welcome to drop by and check out materials.


Bryan Station High School, 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, June 20 and 27

Bryan Station Middle School, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 21 and 28, July 5, 12, 19 and 26

Deep Springs Elementary, 8 a.m. to noon Thursday and June 22

Garden Springs Elementary, 10 a.m. to noon Monday, June 26, July 10, 17, 24 and 31

Mary Todd Elementary, 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday and Wednesday, Monday, June 20-21, and 26-28

Northern Elementary, 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, June 20 and 27

Southern Elementary, 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, 21, 28, July 26 and Aug. 2

Tates Creek Middle School, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and July 11

William Wells Brown Elementary, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, June 22 and 29, July 6, 13, 20 and 27

Winburn Middle School, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 26, July 10, 17 and 24

In addition, the Lexington Public Library’s reading program Discover Summer is open to all Fayette County students.