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Friday, October 25, 2019

School Board Celebrates Athleticism, Good Sportsmanship, Academic Achievement

Three Highland High students were on gold medal medal winning teams at the Kentucky State Softball Special Olympics

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

With the school year underway, the Fort Thomas Independent Schools Board celebrated both student and faculty successes at its October meeting.

Three Highlands High School students brought home gold medals from the Special Olympics Softball Tourney in Bowling Green last month. Joshua Fahlbusch, Ian Kirschenbaum and Luke Laskey were on two different teams that both achieved first place in competition.

Parent Marc Kirschenbaum explained that, while Special Olympics provides opportunities for people with unique skill sets to participate in a variety of athletic events, softball is unique in that it is one of the few sports for which participants must qualify.

"These guys played all summer long in a variety of tournaments and eventually went to Georgetown, Kentucky, and participated in a regional tournament, qualified for the state tournament and then in the middle of September they went down to Bowling Green for two days and participated in the state games," he said.

Board members thanked the students for representing Fort Thomas Independent Schools at this important statewide event. About 1,000 students from across Kentucky compete on 69 teams in the state softball program.

National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists  

National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists Hiren Lemma and August Hug. (Maria Broering, not pictured, also earned semi-final status.)

Highlands High School Counselor Laura Schnitzler announced that three Highlands students have been named 2020 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: seniors Maria Broering, Hiren Lemma and August Hug.

About 1.6 million juniors from 21,000 high schools enter the national scholarship program each year by taking a qualifying test known as the PSAT.

"A nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of high school seniors includes the highest scoring entrants in each state," explained Highlands counselor Laura Schnitzler.

"To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application on which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received."

She emphasized the challenge of making it to the semifinals. "A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test."

From approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level. Finalists are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference, said Schnitzler.

In February students will be notified if they have made finalist status. About 7,600 of the finalists are chosen winners and receive a $2,500 Merit Scholarship or a company-sponsored or college-sponsored scholarship. In addition, those not selected as finalists have the opportunity to be considered for one of more than 1,000 special scholarships provided by corporations and business organizations.

Superintendent Karen Cheser and school board members congratulated the students. Lemma said she plans to study psychology in college, and Hug is preparing to go into mechanical engineering. Broering was unable to attend the meeting because she was playing soccer for her school.

The Johnson Project now looks like a project

Work has been underway for some time on the Johnson Elementary School project, but Director of Operations Jerry Wissman said it’s gotten a lot easier to drive by and see the work in progress.

Up until now work was focused on the foundation and underground work but is now building up from the bottom. "We are getting to the point where people will start to see evidence of that work. As I mentioned previously, the foundations of building one, the footers are done, and they are working on the foundation walls. A lot those that were up close to the road that were pretty far below eyesight as people were driving along...These are now starting to creep up high enough for people to notice and say ‘wow, stuff’s going on.’ They now can see the evidence, not just hear it," he said.

The various trades are working with the concrete company to make sure what they need is in place for utility work. The developers are now at the point, where they are asking school officials to discuss colors for the building both interior and exterior. Overall, said Wissman, work is progressing at a steady pace.

Board members said the plan for the colors is serene and natural. More to come soon.

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