kirkwood high school| Senior DemBari Taneh took home top honors at the 10th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition. He performed a self-choreographed hip-hop routine called ‘Got It Good’ and took home an $8,000 scholarship sponsored by Ameren Corporate Charitable Trust. Contestants’ performances were filmed separately at The Fabulous Fox Theatre, and the awards event was broadcast on Nine Network.
Congratulations are in order for Heather Essig of Visitation’s upper school science faculty. She was named Missouri’s 2020 Outstanding Biology Teacher by the National Association of Biology Teachers. The award is based on ability, experience, community cooperation and student-teacher relationships. Essig leads college-credit courses in biology, anatomy, physiology and genetics.
It was a clean sweep for the school’s fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade teams at the 2020 National Geography Challenge. In the competition, scores of the top 10 students are combined to determine team scores. Rossman students Aniket Bhogaraju, John DeLuca and Avi Patel tied for first place in the fourth-grade category; Connor Blake scored highest in the fifth-grade category; and Shil Penilla was tops in the sixth-grade category. The competition is sponsored by the National Council for Geographic Education and tests general knowledge of geography, map skills, charts, graphs and reading comprehension.
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Senior Sri Jaladi recently pulled off a perfect score, 36, on the ACT college admissions and placement exam—an accomplishment achieved by only two-tenths of 1% of students. He is still deciding on a college but hopes to study economics and political science and eventually enter politics. Jaladi also plays varsity tennis and is active in the school’s cybersecurity and advocacy clubs.
Students kicked off the school year with a special socially distanced service project. Eighty-five incoming freshmen and faculty members spent a day cleaning the grounds and gravesites at the historically African-American Father Dickson Cemetery in Crestwood. They also learned about the property’s past and its historical significance from president Ernest Jordan.
Jim Wipke has been named a Superintendent to Watch by the National School Public Relations Association. Each year, the organization recognizes up to 25 professionals from across the country for their dynamic leadership and innovative communication efforts. Wipke is in his second year as head of the school district.