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Penn Foster, a leader in career-focused online and hybrid education designed to address the skills gap in America, announced the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards honored Morgan Vaca, a Penn Foster High School student.

Vaca received regional honorable mention awards for her literary pieces in the categories of science fiction/fantasy and humor. Vaca’s works were among more than 230,000 entries submitted to the country’s longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative teenagers, a program that has recognized well-known writers including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath and Truman Capote.

“We are thrilled Morgan received such a distinguished honor,” said Joe Gagnon, president and COO of Penn Foster. “Penn Foster’s online high school program, the largest high school in the country, is full of talented students such as Morgan. We look forward to seeing our students continue to be recognized for their exceptional academic work.”

In 1994, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers was founded to present the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and grow the program to a national level. Today, the awards program, which is open to teens in grades 7 through 12, includes 28 art and writing categories such as dramatic script, journalism, humor, novel-writing, science-fiction as well as painting, sculpture, photography, fashion design, film and animation and video game design.

This year’s list of jurors included luminaries in the visual and literary arts including Edwidge Danticat, Myla Goldberg, Kurt Andersen, Althea Harper, Red Grooms, and Andres Serrano. Submissions were judged on originality, technical skill and the emergence of personal vision or vision.

“I’m honored to receive these awards,” Vaca said. “I will continue to pursue my endeavors in creative writing with the support and guidance of my Penn Foster instructors. While I’m enrolled in an online program, my instructors are there every step of the way, helping me reach my educational goals.”

Penn Foster High School faculty members Meghan Lodge and Alanna Bright were also recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for assisting Vaca with her award entries.

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Johnson High School freshman Sierra Schade, will particpate Friday, April 26, in the free concert Artsvibe Voices & Vibes Teen Voices at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

Schade auditioned in March and was put in a group piece from the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in the song “Forget About the Boy.”

For more information, visit

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SEARCY, Ark.Harrison Waldron of Pendergrass departed in January to spend a three-month semester living outside of Athens while studying at Harding University in Greece.

As part of the HUG curriculum, Waldron, a sophomore oral communication drama and speech major, has been spending the semester immersed in Greek culture. Past semesters have had the opportunity to visit places such as holy sites in Israel and Turkey, ancient ruins of Egypt, Petra in Jordan, and the islands of the eastern Mediterranean. Travel during the program is given a biblical emphasis.

Students in the program have a full course load available to them through visiting Harding professors, who travel with the students. Classes encourage exploration and interaction among the people of Greece.

Harding is the largest private university in Arkansas with 6,815 students and attracts more National Merit Scholars than any other private university in the state. For more information

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Ms. Chambers’ fourth-grade class reached its goal of raising $1,000 to build a well for children in Africa. Freddy Ramos, one of the students, thanked the Board of Directors at Milton Martin Toyota at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 9, at Milton Martin Toyota, for making such a large contribution.

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