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IN OUR SCHOOLS: Summer Performing Arts Company chosen for arts award

The Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA) was recently selected as a finalist for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, according to Dean Opp, SPA administrative director.

The program was chosen out of 360 nominations from 47 states and the District of Columbia. As one of 50 finalists representing the top arts- and humanities-based programs in the country, SPA is eligible to receive the award, which is selected by a national jury.

The top 10 finalists will receive a $10,000 award and attend a ceremony at the White House hosted by first lady Michelle Obama, according to Opp.

Allison Peterson, SPA operations director, said that being recognized in this manner is a tremendous honor.

“The arts are an important part of our students’ education, and to be nationally recognized for our efforts reflects the impact of SPA on our community,” she said.

The award focuses on using the arts as a means to enrich the lives of students, especially those considered at-risk or under-served. The award is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and other agencies.

This year is SPA’s 27th season and is expected to draw more than 1,200 area students.

Students earn math awards

Red River High School junior Andrew Hu won first place in the North Dakota 2014 American Mathematics Contest 12, according to the district on Thursday.

Hu earned the highest individual score out of about 640 students who participated in the state contest. Central High School senior Lucas Nelson took second place.

The Red River team — which included Hu, junior Abby Aymond and junior Julia Krogh — won first place in the team competition. The Central team of Nelson, junior Quinn Bauer and senior Elizabeth Dorner won third place. A total 28 state high schools participated in the contest.

“Our students’ willingness to explore nonroutine, challenging math problems is both rewarding and commendable,” said Allen Janes, AMC coordinator at Red River High School.

Student receives space camp trip

Jyoti Rai, a freshman at Red River High School, will attend the 2014 Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students this fall in Alabama, according to the district. 

The camp provides visually impaired students with educational experiences in space science and aviation. Rai will take a simulated walk on the moon and experience a simulation of a rocket escaping earth’s gravity, among other activities.

Rai and her teacher, Midge Thompson, received the opportunity through a Lighthouse Visions scholarship. This is given to students with diverse cultural backgrounds who also have a documented visual impairment.

Rai said she’s excited about the opportunity.

“I get to meet other students from around the world and learn their languages so we can communicate,” she said. “I’m excited to experience what it’s like to be an astronaut in space, learn how to scuba dive and do math and science while at camp.”

More info: Share K-12 education news at; include “K-12 notebook” in the subject heading. To see more K-12 education news, visit the websites of Grand Forks Public Schools and East Grand Forks Public Schools. Herald Staff Writer Dani Meyer contributed to this column. 

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald.  Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit 

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