Suhavi Singh and Iris Wang

Suhavi Singh, left, and Iris Wang

Upper St. Clair

• Two Boyce Middle School fifth-graders were recently recognized for their work in the fourth annual Mahatma Gandhi Creative Writing and Art Contest. The event was conducted as part of the 2020 Mahatma Gandhi Birthday Celebration at Carnegie Mellon University.

Suhavi Singh, who placed in the top five, was recognized with the book, “Gandh’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind.” Iris Wang, whose artwork earned Honorable Mention, received a backpack for her efforts.

The contest, open to middle school students ages 10-14, asked young writers and artists to reflect on a time when they served their community in efforts to build peace and what actions they might take in the future that mirror Gandhi’s commitment to serving communities, building peace, and action. Submissions could include creative writing, poetry, or a creative artwork.

• Upper St. Clair High School’s speech and debate team was recently named one of the top 100 schools in the National Speech and Debate Association for the 2019-20 school year. Upper St. Clair ranked 50th out of more than 3,000 schools nationwide.

Also during 2019-20, 10 Upper St. Clair High School students earned Academic All-American Awards from the National Speech and Debate Association. The honorees are senior Maddie Nolen and 2020 graduates Vivek Babu, Sunny Chai, Claire Chen, Devan Ekbote, Mathena Jencka, Basir Khan, Alex Lampe, Anusha Neupane and Anika Sinha.

With nearly 125 members, the speech and debate team has high hopes of winning its third Pennsylvania High School Speech League championship in the spring.

“COVID has been a challenge, but we’ve utilized some really innovative technology developed by our national league, the National Speech and Debate Association, so that we have a full slate of Saturday tournaments between October and April,” Ben Edwards, speech and debate coach, said. “We’ve lost some of the camaraderie fostered by in-person practice and tournaments, but we hope to foster an environment where our students feel like they’re a part of something in these strange times.”

• State Rep. Natalie Mihalek, R-Upper St. Clair, announced that the Upper St. Clair School District has been awarded funding from the Safe Schools Targeted Grants program.

The district will receive a $17,307 program grant, awarded by the School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency as part of the School Safety and Security Grant Program, which was created by lawmakers in 2018.

Safe Schools Program grants fund a variety of different projects, including hiring school security officers, purchasing security-related technology, completing safety and security assessments, implementing violence prevention curricula, offering counseling services for students, and creating other programs to protect students.