The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office honored five local schools Wednesday for receiving awards from the California Department of Education and the National Title I Association.

Fruitvale Junior High, Liberty High School and Norris Middle School were selected as three of California's 2013 Distinguished Schools. The state presents the awards annually to schools that have demonstrated strong commitment and innovative approaches to improving student academic achievement.

For the second straight year, W.A. Kendrick Elementary School received the California Department of Education's Title I Achievement Award. Schools receiving the award must have demonstrated that all students are making significant progress toward proficiency on California's academic content standards. Additionally, the school's socioeconomically disadvantaged students must have doubled the achievement targets set for them for two consecutive years.

Cesar E. Chavez High School in Delano was recognized for being named a 2012 National Distinguished School by the National Title I Association. Only two schools per state are selected each year as National Distinguished Schools.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, has announced the winners of the 32nd annual "An Artistic Discovery" congressional art competition for high school students.

Winners and participants will be honored at a reception 7 p.m. Friday at Metro Galleries, 1604 19th St. in Bakersfield.

Christiana Kallemeyn, a senior at Grace Christian Academy in Lancaster, created the overall winning piece, "Waiting in the Wings" using colored pencil.

Kallemeyn's artwork will be on display at the U.S. Capitol for a year, and she will receive three round-trip tickets to the exhibit opening, as well as a cash award to be presented at the district reception.

In photography, the winners were:

First place -- Iliana Moore, "Masquerade," Valley Oaks Charter School, Tehachapi.

Second place -- Bethany Gomez, "Pierced," Bakersfield High School.

Third place -- Bethany Gomez, "Beauty," Bakersfield High School.

Honorable mention -- Ulises Aldrete, "Lonely Leaf," Bakersfield High School.

All other media:

First place -- Danielle Schroeder, colored pencil, "Ebony and Ivory," Veritas Christian Academy, Lancaster.

Second place -- Michael Davidson, scratchboard, "Snoop Lion," Independence High School.

Third place -- Yanzhen Chen, watercolor, "Blushing Spring," Stockdale High School.

Honorable mention -- Heidi Lorelei Elliott, pencil, "Self Portrait," Frontier High School.

Honorable mention -- Jose Rodriguez, pencil, "Lion Hearted," Bakersfield High School.

Don Martin, owner of Metro Galleries, gave out a new award for the piece of his choice. The Metro Galleries Award went to Gabrielle Jordan, linoleum cut, "Deep in the Woods," Bakersfield High School.

McCarthy received a record number of 141 entries from 21 schools in the 23rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Kern, Tulare and Los Angeles counties.

Kern Valley High School student Victoria Scoggan will be receiving a Youth Award for anti-bullying education efforts at her school.

Scoggan will be honored at the Wendy Wayne Awards Dinner on 6 p.m. today at the Bell Tower Club, 1200 Truxtun Ave. Suite 100.

The dinner is co-sponsored by Cal State Bakersfield's Kegley Institute of Ethics and Dignity Healthcare.

Also, the late Wendy Wayne will posthumously receive the institute's first Adult Lifetime Achievement Award. Her husband, Gene Tackett, will accept the award on her behalf.

Wayne was a nurse and advocate who devoted her life to humanitarian causes locally, nationally and in developing countries all over the world. She died of cancer last year.

For tickets or more information about the event, visit or call 654-3149.

Eight students from Kern County schools achieved honors at the National History Day-California competition, which concluded Sunday in Sacramento.

The annual competition focused on the theme "Turning Points in History" and brought together those students who had won History Day competitions in their home counties to challenge for the title of state champion.

Kern County students earned the right to appear at the state competition by winning in their category at the Kern County History Day in March, which was sponsored by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

The three winning entries listed below are now eligible to compete at National History Day to be held June 9-13 at the University of Maryland.

Group performance:

Miguel Vargas, Sadie Armijo, Stevie McNabb, Jake Beardsley and Dylan Pearson, Chipman Junior High -- No Turning Back

Individual performance:

Cassidy Porter, Fruitvale Junior High -- The Story Never Dies

Group exhibit:

Caitlyn Richter and Kaitlyn Moss, Fruitvale Junior High -- Drake's Well: The Ability to Drill our Nation's Oil. A Turning Point in Energy, Industry and History.

Arvin High School's We the People Team did not advance to the top 10 in the 2013 We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals this week in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 1,400 high school students from 45 states and the District of Columbia had gathered in Washington, D.C., Monday to participate in the 26th annual contest.

In the competition, students demonstrated their knowledge of constitutional issues before simulated congressional committees composed of constitutional scholars, lawyers, historians and public officials. Students completed a comprehensive course of study on the Constitution to qualify for the competition.

The Arvin team finished second in the state finals in February. First-place state finisher Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton was in the national top 10.

Foothill High School teacher Tony Alteparmakian has been selected as one of only 50 middle and high school educators across the country to take part in the Siemens STEM Institute fellowship, designed to bring teachers to the cutting edge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

The Siemens STEM Institute is a one-of-a-kind, all-expense-paid, weeklong immersion program that promotes hands-on, real-world integration of STEM in the classroom.

Alteparmakian and the other participants will obtain professional development through workshops, lectures and field trips.

The Siemens STEM Institute will take place Aug. 4-9 just outside of Washington, D.C., at the world headquarters of Discovery Communications, home to such television networks as Discovery Channel, Science and Animal Planet.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has awarded $2,500 to the Schuetz Career Center-ABLE Program to complete Project Keeping It Green.

The program is designed to teach low-income students with intellectual disabilities functional, vocational and life skills through the construction of small solar powered sheds, developing a school garden and teaching the cleaning of houses with environmentally friendly homemade cleaning products.

Nearly $500,000 was given out as part of the PG&E Bright Ideas Grant Program last year.

The deadline to apply for the next PG&E Bright Ideas grant is Nov. 30. Applications may be submitted in educational solar projects, youth energy and environmental programs, renewable energy, science-related field trips, "green your school" projects, or service learning or workforce/professional development programs.

For information, visit

The Kern County Farm Bureau has awarded its annual Michael R. Mettler Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship is presented to high school seniors or college freshmen, sophomores or juniors who plan to study or are currently pursuing an agriculture-related major. The recipients get $500 each year that they are in school for up to four years.

This year's winners are Arvin High School senior Oscar Alvarez and North High School senior Abigail Grisedale.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.'s Kappa Omega Omega chapter will hold a scholarship awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Monday at St. Peter Restoration Community Christian Ministries, 510 E. Brundage Lane.

For three decades, the AKA sorority has presented more than 1,000 African-American high school graduates in Kern County with more than $250,000 in scholarships.

This year, the sorority is awarding $26,825 to 15 recipients. There are 68 in, including 15 scholarships funded by AKA and 53 funded by community donors. Another 180 eighth-graders will be receiving recognition awards from various junior high schools.

-- Courtenay Edelhart, Californian staff

For more education news, go to The Californian's education blog, The Grade, at or follow The Grade's Twitter at Like us on Facebook: