Thursday, August 28, 2014

Monterey High senior lands third place in national essay contest

Cathy Hsu, a senior at Monterey High, is the third prize winner of a national essay contest sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council of the Washington, D.C.-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

The topic for the 2014 Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest asked students to discuss whether or not religious messages, such as Bible verses on “run-through” banners at football games, should be permitted at public school-sponsored events.

More than 630 students from 48 states and the District of Columbia entered the contest, as well as students from China and Albania.

Hsu received a $250 scholarship for her essay, “Christianity in Cheerleading: The Role of the First Amendment in Public Schools.”

She wrote that “... to exploit the cheerleading squad, a school-sponsored activity, as an outlet in promoting Christian messages would position the school into appearing to endorse religion, an obvious transgression of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.”

 Hsu plans to study political science in college. She is the daughter of Tienhui and Huichu Hsu.

The grand prize winner is Daniel Ingham of Ellicott City, Maryland, who received a $2,000 scholarship. Sienna Li of Portland, Oregon, won a $1,000 scholarship for her second prize essay.

The Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest was established in 2006 to engage high school juniors and seniors in church-state issues. A panel of judges issued scores based on the content of each essay and the author’s writing skills. For more information, click here.

Salinas High to participate in construction trade pre-apprenticeship program

Nine California high schools will take part in a pilot project this fall designed to help students earn pre-apprenticeships into the construction trade industries, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced this week.

Salinas High is one of them.

The course of study will lead students to a better-than-entry-level position or pre-apprenticeship with a number of construction trades industries. The curriculum includes: building trades math; labor history; training to recognize and prevent hazards in construction sites; first aid and CPR training; and an introduction to the trade industries. This type of program has only been previously used with adults over 18 years of age.

Torlakson is a champion of career technical education, and this program gets at the type of learning California students should be getting, he said in a release.

The program "makes clear to students that what they are learning in school can have a direct effect on their careers after they leave school, keeping them engaged in their own learning," he said.

Nine career technical education teachers in the pilot project have received training and earned certifications to teach the program. Teachers will now design lessons to assure students are prepared for each succeeding step, ultimately building up to a “capstone” course. The capstone course prepares students for a pre-apprenticeship position in the construction trade industries or for further training in college or certification programs.

It looks like this year will be dedicated to recruiting students, so maybe I won't get to profile the program. But you never know. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Salinas girls take to the sky

The "Young Eagles Flight," sponsored by the non-profit EAA Aviation Foundation, took about 30 girls from the Hartell SEMAA program on a tour of our Salinas skies last weekend. It's a new partnership between the aviation group and the Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy to provide its participating students with a free airplane ride and teach them about aviation science.

Only girls already participating in the SEMAA program could attend. Only girls because much is being done to encourage ladies to pursue careers in sciences, and only those already attending SEMAA because you had to limit participation somehow.

It looks like they had a lot of fun. This should serve to encourage more girls to, at the very least, take science classes during the summer!