Local high school students earned honors in the districtwide Soapbox Challenge, a speech contest held recently at McBride High School. Top-performing finalists among 60 local students were Lina Banda from Poly High School for a speech on poverty in America, Emilio Carreon from Poly for a speech on a path to citizenship, Jaycie Packard of Wilson High School for a speech on wrongful imprisonment, Cadence Stringer of Wilson for a speech on sexual offender punishment, AJ Walker of Wilson for a speech on implicit racism, and Noah Sonnenberg of McBride High School for a speech on mental illness. The students all are taking either Advanced Placement Research or AP Seminar classes, and the contest is one of the class activities. The Long Beach Unified School District held the competition in collaboration with the nonprofit Mikva Challenge, which promotes civic engagement among youth.
Franklin Classical Middle School teacher Ruth Lisha recently received a Leadership Award at the Green California Schools & Community Colleges Summit. The awards were established by the Summit’s Advisory Board to honor individuals and school districts on the leading edge of school sustainability. The awards recognize achievements in categories ranging from green building and energy efficiency to curriculum.
Several young artists earned honors recently at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration art contest as part of NOAA Day at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The art contest raises awareness of NOAA’s mission and emphasizes ocean literacy within schools. The theme of this year’s contest was “Marine Mammals and People: A Tale of Two Species.” Winning in the 9th to 10th grade category were: first place, Cassidy Bui; 2nd place, Randy Bustos; 3rd place, Isabella Rugeroni; and honorable mention, Salina Ortiz, all from Renaissance High School for the Arts. Selene Vargas from Jordan High School also earned honorable mention. Winning in the 11th to 12th grade category were: first place, Victoria Nguyen from Poly High School; second place, Marc Del Rosario from Renaissance; and third place, Jacob Alpern from Poly. Renaissance students Marina Khmelyuk and Hafsa Ahmed both received honorable mention.
Carol Ortega, program administrator for High School Counseling, has earned the 2016 Excellence Award for Service in Public Education from Centro C.H.A., or the Long Beach Community Hispanic Association. The award will be presented at the Dec. 8 annual Nuestra Imagen Awards recognizing Latino leadership excellence. The awards honor outstanding contributions that enrich the quality of life for youth, families and neighborhoods.