Eaman Shire, a senior at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, was one of seven Minnesotans named last week as a recipient of a $2,500 National Achievement Scholarship award — an honor given annually to the nation's outstanding black students.

The awards were announced Wednesday by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

More than 160,000 students entered the competition for the awards by taking the 2012 PSAT, which is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. In September, about 1,600 students were named semifinalists. About 800 finalists then were selected to receive scholarships totaling more than $2 million.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the National Achievement Scholarship Program.

Shire lives in Woodbury and is considering a career in medicine, a National Merit Scholarship news release said.


Drug expert to speak about current trends

A parent communications group at Mahtomedi High School is holding an April 21 presentation on the "attraction, availability and prevalence of drugs and alcohol" — as well as tips on what parents can do about it, a district news release said.

The event, open to all parents, will be led by Carol Falkowski, the founder of Drug Abuse Dialogues and author of the book, "Dangerous Drugs: An Easy-to-Use Reference for Parents and Professionals."

In February, Falkowski was among the participants in a heroin-abuse round-table discussion led by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. State and local officials spoke then of the need to curb prescription-drug abuse, which can lead to heroin use, and to put heroin antidotes in the hands of law enforcement officers.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said at the time that the county had set a record in 2013 for heroin overdose deaths with 56 fatalities — or seven times more than the eight deaths reported in 2010.

Falkowski is expected to speak about the types of drugs being abused, their availability, the signs of drug use and what parents can do if their children are in trouble. The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Chautauqua Fine Arts Center at Mahtomedi High, 8000 75th St. N., Mahtomedi.


Local students collect awards at science fair

Four students from the Stillwater School District were among the more than 200 statewide to win honors at the 77th annual Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair.

Two Woodbury students also collected awards at the event, which attracted more than 500 participants on March 30 to April 1.

Students qualified for state competition by presenting original research projects at one of eight regional science fairs.

At the state event, they discussed their research with academic and industry experts, and competed for medals, certificates and cash awards totaling more than $25,000.

Winning students from Stillwater schools included Max Vogel of Andersen Elementary in Bayport, Steven Franklin of Oak-Land Junior High in Lake Elmo, and Pedro Angulo-Umana and Max Ylitalo of Stillwater Area High School.

Franklin won $750 for his project, "Audio Game: Adapted Video Game for the Visually Impaired," and Ylitalo won $250 for the project, "Garbage Reduction to Energy Production: Converting Waste Paper to Cellulosic Ethanol."

Also honored were Amrita Mohanty of Woodbury High and Manashree Padiyath of the Math and Science Academy charter school in Woodbury.

Anthony Lonetree