Around the District

Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Quarter ends

The first quarter of the 2001-02 school year ends Friday, with report cards to follow.

Students will have Nov. 1 and 2 off. Schools are planning for parent-teacher conferences and in-service training for those days. Check with individual schools for details.

Students earn National Merit standing

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced the names of about 16,000 semifinalists nationwide in the 47th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Five high school seniors from the Kenai Peninsula have achieved this prestigious honor.

They are: Benjamin M. Histand and Janna C. Schaafsma from Soldotna High School, Tyler P. Boyd from Kenai Central High School, and Heidi M. Benson and Nicholas C. Fuller from Homer High School.

These academically talented students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 Merit Scholarship awards, worth more than $32 million, that will be offered this spring. Semifinalists are the highest scoring entrants in each state and represent less than 1 percent of the state's seniors.

National Merit Finalists will be announced beginning in April.

VFW Ladies Auxiliary sponsors art contest

High school students are invited to enter the Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards program.

The VFW Ladies Auxiliary of the Jerry V. Horn Memorial Post No. 10046 sponsors the contest. This program was developed in 1987 to encourage high school students to use their artistic talents to express their patriotism while becoming eligible for funds to further their education.

Students must be in grades nine through 12, enrolled in public, private or parochial school or home schooled.

In addition to monetary awards presented to participants in each school, the overall winner from the area will receive an additional money prize and his or her entry will be forwarded to state-level judging. The first-place state winner's entry will go to the national judging, where the first prize is $10,000, plus an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in April.

For complete rules and to see the first- through fifth-place winners from last year, see and look under Ladies Auxiliary scholarship programs. For more information, contact art teachers at area high schools or call Billie Huddleston at 283-9443.

School Bus Safety Week celebrated

This is National School Bus Safety Week. Laidlaw Transit, which provides bus service for the western and southern Kenai Peninsula, is honoring the occasion with a series of school bus safety drills at central peninsula elementary schools for students in kindergarten through second grade.

Schools are taking the opportunity this week to thank bus drivers and others involved in student transport for their service. Drivers on the peninsula are responsible for thousands of children and must drive icy roads in the dark.

National School Bus Safety Week began in California in 1963. Nationwide, buses now carry more than 23 million American children, according to the School Transportation News.

Worldwide education project comes to Seward

The JASON Project, a multimedia, interdisciplinary science education program run by renowned undersea explorer Robert Ballard, is coming to Seward.

The project will bring teams of students, teachers and scientists to Alaska for a series called JASON XIII: Frozen Worlds. Part of the project will include filming for live broadcast via the Internet to participating schools nationwide.

The Alaska segments will be based in Anchorage, Portage and Seward, where the team will visit the Alaska SeaLife Center. The broadcasts are planned for Jan. 28 to Feb. 8.

GCI is providing fiber optic links from Seward and Portage.

The Frozen Worlds series focuses on research in earth, ocean, atmospheric and space science and explores the distinctive life in cold regions.

The goal of the JASON Project is to bring learning to life for students by taking them along for virtual expeditions.

Ballard, who became famous for exploring the wreck of the Titanic, began the project in response to receiving many letters from students interested in his work. The first JASON Project education expedition was in 1989.

PDK hosts meeting

Educators are invited to meet with the local chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, the professional association. The topic of the next meeting is "Advocating for Public Education." Donna Peterson, superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, will be the guest speaker.

The meeting is Thursday at Kenai Peninsula College at Cobblestone Court. The social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. and the talk at 7.

SoHi announces Students of the Month

Soldotna High School has announced its Students of the Month for October: Brent Knight, music; Kaitlin Vadla, social studies; Rica Howarth and Jennifer Stout, photo; Ari Goldstein, biology; Garret Gardner, English; Stephanie Holley, home economics; Danielle Pettijohn, physical education; Brandy Goracke, health; Eric Simpson and Phil France, German; and Martin Glaves and Makena Roesch, geometry.

After the Bell opens at SoHi on Saturdays

After the Bell is offering an ongoing "Saturday Experience" at Soldotna High School to high school students needing homework assistance, preparation for quarter finals, a quiet place to get caught up after missing several days of school or time to simply get ahead. This program is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday in the Dell lab at the school. Snacks will be served. For more information, call Jeanne or Robin at 260-7085.

Challenger Center offers workshops

The Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai will offer a simple machines workshop for ages 12 to 15 Friday. The class is from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $20. Students will need to bring lunches or snacks.

The Lunar Challenge workshop involves groups of 15 parent and child teams working together to build a futuristic colony for the moon. The first meeting was Tuesday. The program is designed for mother-daughter teams, with the child being in grade fourth through eighth grades. The teams will continue to meet for two hours each Tuesday at 6 p.m. for four weeks. The price per family team is $50.

For more information or to register, call 283-2000.

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