Education Notes for the week of April 4

Members of the winning STEAM Academy team in the Lexington Legends’ Stache Tank competition received certificates. Pictured are, front row, from left: Julia Castorena, Noah Bentley, Ethan Martion, Marcus Alzner and Hannah Kern. (Team member Ava Schalk is not pictured.) Back row, from left: teacher Ashley Rosen, Legends’ mascot Pee Wee, STEAM Academy principal Tina Stevenson, Legends mascot Big L, and Legends president and CEO Andy Shea.
Members of the winning STEAM Academy team in the Lexington Legends’ Stache Tank competition received certificates. Pictured are, front row, from left: Julia Castorena, Noah Bentley, Ethan Martion, Marcus Alzner and Hannah Kern. (Team member Ava Schalk is not pictured.) Back row, from left: teacher Ashley Rosen, Legends’ mascot Pee Wee, STEAM Academy principal Tina Stevenson, Legends mascot Big L, and Legends president and CEO Andy Shea. Lexington Legends


▪ A team of ninth-grade students at STEAM Academy of Lexington has won the first Lexington Legends’ Stache Tank competition for their school with a design for a rock-climbing wall at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Originally, 28 teams of STEAM students presented ideas on potential uses for an area beyond the right-field fence at the ballpark, where a basketball court is currently located. Those were narrowed down to eight teams, which then made presentations to community leaders and Legends employees in January. The concept is based on the TV series Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs present business ideas to a panel of potential investors. “Stache Tank” refers to the Legends’ mustache logo.

The winning project, “Scaling the Wall to Success,” outlined plans for the wall, which would be 30 feet wide and 18 feet tall. Nearby lockers would allow climbers to store belongings before climbing, and picnic tables would be nearby for friends or family to watch Legends games while waiting for the climbers.

STEAM students Marcus Alzner, Noah Bentley, Julia Castorena, Hannah Kern, Ethan Martion and Ava Schalk submitted the winning idea.

In addition, all ninth-grade STEAM students will create a mural on an existing wall near the basketball court.

In the other competition, three girls from William Wells Brown Elementary designed a slap bracelet. Students Corlese Allen, Miranda Woods and TiMiya Jones are still working out the details but plan to feature the mustache logo in the design.

After visiting the ballpark last fall, students from three classes, working in teams as part of an economics unit, generated ideas for a Legends promotional item. The youngsters researched possibilities, designed products and surveyed fellow students, faculty and administrators to get their reactions. Six teams then presented their ideas to judges, including a backpack, a drinking hat, socks, a miniature bat and sunglasses.

Slap bracelets will be given to the first 1,000 fans at the Legends’ home game on May 13.

▪ Eastern Kentucky University’s Mock Trial Team is one of 48 teams nationally headed to the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament.

The EKU team finished first at the Opening Round Championship Series in Memphis March 18-20. EKU earned a bid to the national event, to be held in Greenville, S.C., April 15-17.

Allie Maples, a junior political science major from Mount Sterling, was the only student in the tournament to receive an Outstanding Attorney Award on both the prosecution and defense sides of the case. Anthony Sean Potter, a senior political science major from Whitesburg, earned an Outstanding Witness Award for his portrayal of a forensic investigator.

Other members of the team include Matt Boggs, a senior political science and history double major from Whitesburg; Ryan Wiggins, a freshman political science major from Georgetown; Melissa Mahan, a junior anthropology major from Bloomington, Ill.; Laura Jackson, a sophomore political science major from Artemus; and Mackenzie DeSpain, a senior homeland security major from Campbellsville.

▪ Elementary school teams from Rosa Parks and Veterans Park capped the 2016 Academic Challenge with victories in the Superintendent’s Cup. These students, along with individual winners in the math/science and writing assessments, received scholarship offers from sponsoring colleges.

The top primary and intermediate teams from the three regional tournaments squared off March 22 in the district’s Norsworthy Auditorium to field questions in math, science, language arts, social studies, arts and humanities, and practical living. The teams with the most points after the final round were declared champions of their respective divisions.

Primary (grades 2-3)

First place and winners of scholarship offers from EKU, Rosa Parks (14 of 18 possible points, blue region): Armeen Aftab, Kayla Chambers-Reed, Reagan Hammond, Anjala Karri, Maheen Khalid and Avneesh Kudrimoti

Second place, Glendover (12 points, green region): Malak Al Sharoofy, Mohammed Butrouna, Adaline Kariuki, Arabella Lee, Alexandra Cox Smith and Becca Wills.

Third place, Breckinridge (7 points, red region): King Namegabe, Delmas Oakley, Kassandra Shelby-Lear, Samantha Stevens, Christina Stokley and Madison Waugh.

Intermediate (grades 4-5)

First place and winners of scholarship offers from Morehead State University, Veterans Park (16 points after a tiebreaker, blue region): Anika Diggikar, Max Kelsey, Matthew Kotter, Zachary Rothrock, Aaron Wilson and Jennifer Zachman.

Second place, Arlington (15 points, red region): Dalton Dobbs, Alex Halliday, Marisol Morales, Chaylon Robinson, Edwin Rodriguez and Whitney Watson.

Third place, Tates Creek (14 points, green region): Maggie Asbury, Naser Eqal, Kyle Harris, Kiefer Lin, Meher Saini and Brit Stallard.

Individual Awards

Scholarship recipients from each region were selected earlier and announced during an awards ceremony at “It’s About Kids” Support Services.

Fifth-grade math/science winners, with University of Kentucky offers: Matthew Kotter, Veterans Park; John Huff, Athens-Chilesburg; Nayoung Kim, Julius Marks; Derek Hollifield, Dixie; Alex Halliday, Arlington; and Lorna Ashby, Northern.

Fifth-grade writing winners, (offers pending): Olivia Sparks, Cassidy; Evan Covert, Liberty; Layan Hnoosh, Julius Marks; Christain Turner, Tates Creek; Ahnaf Ahmed, Harrison; and Destiny Eversole, Cardinal Valley.

Fourth-grade writing winners, with Bluegrass Community and Technical College offers: Jonathan Callahan, Veterans Park; Emily Hall, Athens-Chilesburg; Hailee Russell, Dixie; Meher Saini, Tates Creek; Emily Fabian, Cardinal Valley; and Gabriella Cortes, Northern.

Arlington and William Wells Brown elementaries received the Haymaker Foundation Team Award, which goes to schools with impressive participation levels. Each was presented with a $1,000 check.

▪ Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez, state specialist for sustainable programs and director of the center for environmental education at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, has been selected as one of five Outstanding Educators by Project Learning Tree, the national environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation. This is the second time an educator from Kentucky has won the award since its inception in 1994. In Kentucky, the group is coordinated by the Kentucky Association of Environmental Education.

Hubbard-Sánchez, along with the four other educators from around the country, will be honored May 23-26 at the 30th International Coordinators’ Conference in Salt Lake City. She is also invited to attend the World Forestry Center’s International Educators’ Institute July 10-16 in Portland, Ore.

▪ Students and teachers from more than 1,250 elementary, middle and high schools recycled 4 million pounds of material in the 2015 National Recycle-Bowl competition. The Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl, held Oct. 19-Nov. 15, encouraged students and faculty to collect and recycle materials generated at their schools.

Lexington won the state school division for the fourth consecutive year. Montessori High School placed first in Kentucky. Students and teachers at the school recycled 1,007 pounds, about 44 pounds per person. As the state Recycle-Bowl winner, Montessori High School will be presented with a recycled-content plaque.

Leestown Middle, Providence Montessori High, Cardinal Valley Elementary and Ashland Elementary took the second, sixth, 15th and 17th spots respectively in the state.

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▪ EKU’s game design program ranks 50th internationally, according to The Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review determined its rankings based on a survey of 150 institutions offering game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States, Canada and other countries.

EKU’s Gaming Institute was established in 2014 and is home to the Commonwealth’s first bachelor’s degree program in game design. EKU will host Kentucky’s first-ever game design conference April 30.

▪ The Computer Forensics and Security concentration within the Computer Science degree program at EKU is one of the first two undergraduate digital forensic programs in the United States to earn national accreditation.

In computer (digital) forensics, students learn how to examine digital devices such as computers, notebooks, mobile electronic devices and network devices to collect evidence that can be used in trials.

Established in 2011, EKU’s Computer Forensics and Security program now serves about 60 students.

▪ Kentucky’s best high school speech and debate students went head-to-head at Centre College March 18-19 at the annual Kentucky District Tournament of the National Speech and Debate Association. Students competed in eight speech and four debate categories to represent the Commonwealth at the Grand Nationals in Salt Lake City in June. Students competed in as many as five preliminary rounds before advancing to the finals, with the top two entries in each event moving on to the nationals, a contest dating back to 1931 that features students from Maine to Guam competing for college scholarships and national titles.

Tournament host Centre College was named the Kentucky District Communicator of the Year for i its sponsorship of national and state debates for political candidates. Andrew Brennen, a Dunbar High School graduate who serves as the National Field Director of Student Voice after co-founding the Pritchard Committee Student Voice Team, was awarded the district’s Alumnus of the Year honor.

In the team contests, Rowan County High School took honors in speech, with Danville High tops in congress. Zane Arnold of Danville won the Susan Moore Scholarship; Rowan County’s Makda Mehari won the Harlen Hamm Scholarship.

Area students advancing to the nationals are Grace Sheene (Danville) in dramatic interpretation, David Ma/Sahar Mohammadzaden (Dunbar) in public forum debate, Hannah Draut (Danville) in program oral interpretation, Zane Arnold (Danville) in the House of Representatives and Abigail Anderson (Danville) in informative speaking.

▪ Wendy L. Turner of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School has achieved Certified Journalism Educator status from the Journalism Education Association. Certification recognizes teachers who meet national standards of preparation to teach high school journalism classes and advise student media.


▪ Representatives from the Battelle Foundation presented $10,000 to the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Natural Sciences division. Battelle is a non-profit research and development organization, and contributes to community development and education.

The award will be used to provide $5,000 for a spectrophotometer for an environmental field study, which will look at improving water quality and providing data to the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government to aid in managing its aquatic systems more effectively.


▪ The Rotary Club of Lexington is accepting scholarship applications from high school seniors. To apply for the $10,000 Rotary Scholar and one of the eight $1,000 scholarships, which are based on outstanding academic achievement, extracurricular activities and community service, go to The application and all supporting materials are due by 5 p.m. Monday. Winners will be congratulated April 28 at Fasig-Tipton.