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People tour the new engineering complex at Cal State Bakersfield.

Cal State Bakersfield held a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration for its new engineering complex last Wednesday.

The 5,000--square--foot complex includes laboratory and classroom space for more than $1 million in equipment for the university's three engineering programs.

CSUB launched its computer engineering program in fall of 2011 and its electrical engineering and engineering sciences programs in fall 2012.

The new buildings were funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

Arvin High School Health Occupational Students of America, or HOSA, has qualified more than a dozen students for the HOSA--Future Health Professionals National Leadership Conference June 26--29 in Nashville.

Thirteen students comprising the top finishers in multiple categories are eligible to go, but some may not due to the cost of the trip, said Arvin HOSA Director Chad Cole. Lower placed finishers are eligible to substitute for anyone who drops out, he said.

This is the fifth year the club has qualified students to compete at the national level.

Twenty--four of 47 students who competed at the state conference March 20--24 in Sacramento placed in the state's top 10 in nine events, Cole said.

The 2013 state leadership conference results were:

* 2nd Place -- Chris Leal , Brandy Plaat, Paula Dominguez, Karen Vazquez -- Creative Problem Solving

* 2nd Place -- Vanessa Fajardo -- Human Growth and Development Knowledge Test

* 3rd Place -- Yesenia Guapo -- Nutrition Knowledge Test

* 4th Place -- Lilly Calderon -- Nutrition Knowledge Test

* 4th Place -- Lilly Calderon, Daniel Gonzalez, Miguel Vazquez, Alexandra Calderon -- Creative Problem Solving

* 4th Place -- Lorena Cazares -- Extemporaneous Health Poster

* 5th Place -- Samantha Romero, Fabiola Lopez -- Career Display Board

* 6th Cynthia Gomez -- Medical Reading

* 6th Luz Perez -- Extemporaneous Health Poster

* 7th Angel Mireles, Estefania Caldera, Vanessa Gurrola, Aracely Pulido -- Creative Problem Solving

* 8th Maricsa Avelar, Edith Rubio, Nataly Paredes -- Health Education

* 9th Maria Moreno, Estefania Juarez -- Career Display Board

* 9th Erik Perez -- Job Seeking Skills

* 10th Perla Leyva -- Extemporaneous Health Poster.

A record number of fourth- through sixth-graders competed for book-knowledge supremacy during the annual Battle of the Books competition held on April 4-5 at Olive Drive Church in Bakersfield.

Sponsored by the Kern Reading Association and Kern County Superintendent of Schools, the annual reading incentive program gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the books they have read in a quiz format similar to TV's "Family Feud."

The contest consists of mixed school teams competing in six rounds leading up to the final showdown.

Members of this year's winning teams were:

North County Team Alligator

* Chloe Dodson -- McKittrick

* Ben Washburn -- Richmond

* Luaren Samaniego -- Norris

* Katelyn Blevins -- Pond

* Malynn Stepp -- Roosevelt in Taft

* Nicole Bockover -- North Beardsley

* Ryan Della Santina -- Faller

* Grant Cowen -- Valley Oaks Charter School

* Brooke Turner -- Del Rio

South County Team Monkey

* Alex Rodriguez -- Alicante Elementary

* Jordan Pitts -- Cesar Chavez Elementary

* Alexis Cordova -- Tompkins Elementary

* Kenneth Ottinger -- Miller Elementary

* Maria Alas DIaz -- Valle Verde

* Esther Sanchez -- Planz Elementary

Farmers can nominate local schools to compete for a grant of up to $25,000 for math and science education programs through America's Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.

Nominations will be accepted until April 15. School administrators have until April 30 to submit their applications.

The program serves 1,271 counties --including Kern -- in 39 states.

To nominate a school or learn more about the grants, visit:

-- Courtenay Edelhart, Californian staff

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