Six students in the South Washington County School District were among 38 state high schoolers honored for exemplary performance by the state Department of Education.

The awards were announced at a “scholars of distinction” ceremony May 17 at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley.

To be recognized, students had to demonstrate a mastery of complex subjects and apply their knowledge and skills on challenging projects in the areas of science, mathematics, social studies, theater arts or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming.

The local award recipients included three students each from Woodbury and East Ridge high schools in Woodbury.

Leah Guenter, of East Ridge, was named a scholar of distinction in mathematics for a project involving truck loads on beam bridges. A classmate, Katherine Spicuzza, was honored as a scholar of distinction in the theater arts. The third East Ridge student, Janani Narayan, earned a meritorious performance award in science for a project involving hypoglycemia.

Each of the three Woodbury High students — Manasa Melachuri, Amrita Mohanty and Samyuktha Melachuri — was named a scholar of distinction in science. Mohanty and Samyuktha Melachuri were repeat award winners, according to the state Department of Education. Last year, Mohanty was honored as a scholar of distinction in social studies after assembling a video about impediments faced by Hmong high school students.


School district to offer summer meals for free

The Stillwater Area Public Schools has announced it will offer free breakfast and lunch this summer to area children who are 2- to 18 years old.

The federally funded program will run Mondays through Fridays in the cafeteria at Stillwater Junior High, 523 W. Marsh St., the district said in a news release.

Breakfast will be served from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. and lunch from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. beginning June 16 through Aug. 22.

“The goal of this program is to make sure all youth in our community have access to nutritious meals while school is out for the summer,” the news release said.

Menus for what are expected to be hot and cold meal options will be available online at

The district said families will not have to complete paperwork or provide any names. But it is asking that an adult accompany children to the cafeteria, stay with them while they eat and then escort them from the school when they are finished.

District 622

Two schools honored for safe environment

Two elementary schools in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District won national recognition this month for their antibullying efforts.

Castle Elementary in Oakdale and Carver Elementary in Maplewood received the inaugural “Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence” from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a group committed to ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The honorees have used the foundation’s Welcoming Schools curriculum to create “school climates that welcome all family structures and all students,” the foundation said in a news release. The first 12 schools and school districts to win the honor were recognized in a May 2 ceremony at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul.

Anthony Lonetree