Education Lab

Education Buzz for Sunday, April 17

Students are national finalists in Bright Schools

Seventeen students from Sequoia Middle School in Porterville have been chosen as finalists for the national Bright Schools Competition.

The students, made up of six teams, will compete alongside 50 other teams for the $5,000 grand prize sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation and National Science Teachers Association. Each team submitted either a prototype, an awareness campaign or a written research proposal related in some way to light and sleep.

Shari Hembree, the students’ teacher, was also named a national finalist.

The finalists from Porterville are: Sydney Ayon, Sierra Mitchel, Chloe Weaver, Kiyah Ramirez, Abigail O’Bosky, Libby Adriaansen, Jake Buckley, Abby Lee, Kamilla Rosales, Zack Aqra, Maddy Chapman, Emily Short, Kristen Watson, Mari Sanders, Meera Kashyap, Devin Patel and Matthew Cunanan.

On May 2, the winning teams will be announced.

To see a full list of winners,

Valley student reaches speech semifinals

Isaak Hoffman of Reedley was one of nine students who advanced to the semifinal round Saturday in a national speech contest about the U.S. Constitution conducted by the American Legion.

Hoffman, who was sponsored by Post 147 in Clovis, competed in an initial field of 53 top high school orators who represent each state, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and France. He was eliminated in the competition Saturday afternoon that determined the three finalists.

The winner will receive an $18,000 college scholarship after Sunday’s finalist competition. The second- and third-place finishers receive $16,000 and $14,000 scholarships respectively

The American Legion holds the competition every year to encourage young Americans to improve their communication skills and to study the U.S. Constitution. More than 6,000 high school students begin competition annually at the American Legion post-community level.

Clovis North grad named to society of college scholars

Michael Manhire, a Clovis North graduate and San Diego State University student, was named a lifetime member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars on March 24.

Manhire was invited to become a member because of his outstanding academic performance at San Diego State, founder and CEO Stephen Loflin said.

The nationwide organization is the country’s only interdisciplinary honors organization for first- and second-year college students. Membership is by invitation only, based on GPA and class standing.

Local colleges join Pathway to Law School drive

In an attempt to diversify and streamline access to legal professions for Central Valley students, Fresno State, Fresno City College and San Joaquin College of Law are joining the statewide Pathway to Law School initiative.

Students who transfer first from Fresno City to Fresno State and then on to San Joaquin will be able to earn their associate degree, bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate upon full completion of the program and including course requirements.

A group of lawyers and judges called the Regional Advisory Council will provide mentoring, internships and curriculum and classroom assistance to support the initiative.

Fresno State will host a signing ceremony in celebration of the initiative’s launch on April 28 in the Henry Madden Library Table Mountain Reading Room at 4:45 p.m.

Valley students win military academy appointments

Four central San Joaquin Valley students were offered appointments to United States military academies after having been nominated by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

Eric Niino Jr. from Madera High School accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Mitchell Soper from Fresno City College accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Connor Vikupitz of Bullard High School and Caleb Wiens from Liberty High School accepted appointments to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.