Monica Anuforo, a senior at Stillwater Area High School, is one of five Minnesotans to receive a $2,500 National Achievement Scholarship award — an honor given annually to the nation’s outstanding black students.

The awards were announced April 8 and are financed by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

About 150,000 students entered the competition for the awards by taking the PSAT, which is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, in 2013. In September, about 1,600 students were named semifinalists for National Achievement Scholarship honors, and of them, about 800 won awards totaling more than $2 million.

The National Achievement Scholarship program is in its 51st year and offers single-payment awards on a regional basis, with the number of honorees based on the number of black students in each geographic area. Next year, the program’s focus will change. “High-achieving, under-represented college graduates” will be honored instead, according to the April 8 news release.

Anuforo is considering a career in computer science.

Forest Lake

High school senior hopes to fight crime

Zachary Boesel, a senior at Forest Lake Area High, was selected from among 2,600 applicants to attend a law enforcement explorers conference in Washington, D.C.

He has been a member of the explorers program for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office since 2012, and has earned the rank of captain, a school district news release said. The program gives students ages 14 and older an opportunity to explore law enforcement careers.

Boesel plans to study criminal justice at Winona State University.

Cottage Grove

Principal named at elementary school

The South Washington County School District has tapped a veteran leader to be the new principal next year at Armstrong Elementary in Cottage Grove.

Andrew Caflisch has served as principal at Red Rock Elementary in Woodbury since 2008, and before then was principal for five years at Grey Cloud Elementary in Cottage Grove — also part of the South Washington County district.

According to state data, Armstrong Elementary is smaller yet more diverse than Red Rock Elementary, and its test scores show greater room for improvement.

Caflisch said in a district news release that Red Rock was a “great school community” and that it would be difficult to say goodbye. But he looked forward to building new relationships at Armstrong, which he described as a “terrific school.”

Tom Berg, current principal at Armstrong, is retiring at the end of the school year.

“District 833 is fortunate to have Andy as part of its administrative team,” Assistant Superintendent Julie Nielsen was quoted as saying. “He has done outstanding work at Red Rock Elementary and we look forward to those continued efforts as he transitions to Armstrong.”

The district hopes to announce who will lead Red Rock by the end of the school year.


East Ridge squad wins robotics meet

A robotics team at East Ridge High that calls itself the Raptors has been chewing on competition in recent regional events.

This month, it won the North Star regional championship at the University of Minnesota, after capturing the Northern Lights regional in Duluth in March. By winning in Duluth, the team qualified for the FIRST Robotics world championships to be held April 23-25 in St. Louis.

In a news release, Omar Ahmed, the team’s captain, said: “I’ve watched this team grow in size, skill, experience, resources and reputation over the last four years. We’ve learned from our failures and we’ve gotten better. That’s what I like most about our win at Duluth. We didn’t get lucky. We didn’t get carried by other teams.”

The Duluth win also qualified the ERRORs (East Ridge Robotic Ominous Raptors) for the Minnesota State High School League’s robotics championship on May 16.

Also set to compete in the state event is the robotics team from Tartan High in Oakdale.

Anthony Lonetree