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Students bring home top honors in leadership showcase

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By Molly Haines

Just call them the champs.

More than 3,500 students from across Kentucky competed in the Student Technology Leadership Program State Showcase competition May 11 in Lexington where students from Maurice Bowling Middle School captured both first and second place.

According to a press release, STLP is a project-based learning program that empowers students in all grade levels to use technology to learn and achieve.

The event provided primary through 12th-grade students opportunities to present their projects to people outside the classroom.

First place went to the “Don’t Delay: Neuter and Spay” project by students Veronica Chisholm, Brittany Thornton and Kaylee Boling.

Instructional technology teacher at MBMS Jenna Gray said the group worked closely with the Owen County Friends of Animals (OCFA) to complete their project.

“They collaborated with OCFA to help educate the community about the importance of spay and neutering by brochures, videos and T-shirts,” Gray said. “They also helped raise money for OCFA with fund-raisers such as Pennies for Pups, which sent six dogs to a rescue group; Fido Fiesta, which raised over $3,500; and T-shirts which raised over $600.

“They also helped maintain OCFA’s website ... The group is hoping to help bring a low-cost spay and neuter clinic to the county and host an event at the fairgrounds this summer called ‘Pups in the Park.’ ”

The showcase runner-up was a project by local students Allyson Beverly, Sarah Wotier, Cheyene Gaines and Hannah Runion. This group dedicated its time to Relay for Life.

“They helped with advertisement, newsletters and the Relay for Life website,” Gray said. “They created one website with educational videos about each type of cancer and also revamped the relayforlife.org/owenky website to include specific information about Owen County’s relay and upcoming fund-raisers. They also taught teams to register online and how to fund-raise online, receiving donations from as far as Las Vegas, Nevada.”

Gray believes the increase in advertisement and online registration resulted in more Relay teams and more pre-event donations this year.

An MBMS group also took home the best in regional showcase by improving the middle school’s news. Mikala Byers, Sabrina Brock, Kylee Hearne and Miranda Mason revamped their quarterly newsletter and included a section called “Teen Talk” written by students.

STLP students Kennedi Dermon, Shelby Gambrell and Mackenzie Fitzgerald implemented an e-mail distribution that provides teens with inspirational stories.

Gray said this is the first time both the firs- and second-place awards have gone to groups at the same school.

Gray said the first-place group will travel to the International Society for Technology in Education Conference in Denver, Colo., June 27-30.

Gray said a special thank-you goes out to Hillari Gentry, Lisa Allen and Jenni Duncan who all worked closely with the students on their projects.