Education Briefs for May 25, 2017

Two student writers from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School advanced to the final round of the Elie Wiesel Writing Competition. They are, from left, Austin DeVine and Kate Kiameh.
Two student writers from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School advanced to the final round of the Elie Wiesel Writing Competition. They are, from left, Austin DeVine and Kate Kiameh.

SBA receives $123K Assisi Foundation Grant

St. Benedict at Auburndale (SBA) High School has received word that The Assisi Foundation of Memphis Inc. has approved a grant award in the amount of $123,160 for the school’s “Enhancing the SBA Experience” project.

The grant will be used to equip 40 classrooms with mobile “SmartBoards” and stands. This provides the school the opportunity to have the most up-to-date technology for the classroom.

Upon receiving the grant, SBA Principal Sondra Morris said, “We are truly gratified by The Assisi Foundation’s generous grant to our school. Along with our STEM Lab, 1:1 Mac AirBook program, eBooks, Capstone AP program and so much more, this grant helps us continue to enhance the students’ educational experiences at SBA and beyond. We are extremely proud of our students’ accomplishments, much of which can be credited to our excellent educational facilities and programs. This year, alone, the 198-member Class of 2017 garnered over $17.4 million in merit-based college scholarships. The Assisi Foundation grant helps us continue to provide classroom enhancements for our students that will reap rewards for many years.”

St. Francis students move on in writing competition

Two 8th-grade student writers from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School were chosen from 582 entries to go to the final judging round of the 2017 Elie Wiesel Writing Competition. Austin DeVine’s essay, entitled “The Ongoing Holocaust,” was selected as one of the top 15 in the country. Kate Kiameh’s essay, entitled “Justice Starts with the Youth,” earned the third-place award nationally and will receive a monetary prize for her essay in the junior division of the contest.

The Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competitions is presented by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. The Competitions are open to middle and high school students. This year, the 20th year of the Writing Competition and 15th year of the Visual Arts Competition will be the first in memory of Elie Wiesel. A Romanian-born Jewish writer, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, Wiesel passed away at age 87 on July 2, 2016. He wrote more than 60 books, many of which deal with powerful Holocaust themes.

The Holocaust Commission is dedicated to encouraging students to learn about the Holocaust and apply its myriad lessons to their own lives. The Commission wants students to understand the importance and true nature of moral courage, as the dangers of all types of prejudice, peer pressure, unthinking obedience to authority, and indifference to the suffering of others are still widespread in our world.

Briarcrest theater gets 3 Orpheum nominations

Briarcrest Christian School’s Theatre Department, led by Rachel King-Barr, has been nominated for seven Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards for 2017.School’s Nominations include Outstanding Production Materials, Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Costumes, Outstanding Lighting, Outstanding Technical Achievement, Megan Cheng – Outstanding Lead Actress and Jeremy Beloate – Outstanding Lead Actor.

BCS middle-schoolers honored for essays, art

bex-2017-05-25-educbriefs1Briarcrest Christian School recently held a publishing breakfast in the middle school library to celebrate the student artists and authors who were selected for Briarcrest Middle School’s 2017 Edition of “Stuck in the Middle” Art and Literary Magazine. Students, teachers, friends and families attended this event where the art was displayed and where several students shared their essays and artist statements.

The cover art for the magazine was a painting by eighth-grader Brianna Skulina. Her abstract painting features light emerging through a rainbow of colors against a dark tunnel. In her artist’s statement, she explained that the light represents Christ. Seventh-grader Michael Lisenko created his artwork titled, “Remembering Russia.” Michael used a variety of media in the design of this self-portrait, which depicts Moscow in the background.

Next, sixth-grader Ansley Green shared how her whimsical cat painting, “Art Cat,” was a fun depiction of her cousin’s cat, painting a portrait of Ansley looking strangely like Mona Lisa. Jayla Ross also read her essay, “The Best Vacation Spots,” and was followed by Bridget Barek’s reading of “Realities of Marching Band.”

Principal Caron Swatley and Assistant Principal Mershon Cummings shared how proud they were of the hard work and dedication of all of the students both in art, guided by their art teacher, Melody Weintraub, and in creative writing lead by former eighth-grade teacher Jessica Moseley and current writing teacher Anna Hedgepeth. Each student received a copy of the magazine.

SBA hires sports journalist as advancement director

Matt Stark
Matt Stark

Veteran sports anchor and reporter Matt Stark has accepted a position as Advancement Director at St. Benedict at Auburndale High School in Cordova. He will head up the fund-raising arm of the Development Department Team.

Stark has been a freelance radio host recently, but was seen on WHBQ-Fox News 13 in Memphis from 2001 to 2016. He is an Emmy Award winner and a five-time Associated Press Award winner.

On being announced in this new position, Stark said, “I’m excited about joining SBA and the opportunities ahead. SBA is a tremendous asset to the community.”

Matt and his wife Tonya have two children, one of which will be a freshman at SBA in the fall.