Weekly roundup: OC Register’s Artist of the Year nominees, schooling for Afghan students, and more

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The Orange County Register has announced 646 nominees for its 2022 Artist of the Year program.

Juniors and seniors representing 72 high schools and arts organizations were nominated in a number of specific categories within the disciplines of theater, dance, film, vocal music, instrumental music, computer-assisted visual arts and handcrafted visual arts.

According to the Register, a panel of arts educators will choose the semifinalists, who will then take part in in-person interviews with arts professionals and faculty from Orange County universities. 

Semi-finalists are expected to be announced April 24. The top Artist of the Year for each discipline — and finalists in each specialty — will be announced on May 1.

And here are some of the other stories we’re following this week:

  • The Orange County Department of Education continues to provide educational services to the children of Afghan families who were assisting the United States and its troops before the Taliban took over their country. About half of the 60 students who arrived in Orange County have been connected with housing, the Daily Pilot reports.
  • Samueli Academy, a Santa Ana-based school that received its charter from OCDE, marked the completion of a decade-long construction campaign with the opening of its new gymnasium and soccer field.
  • A report from the Southern California News Group with help from USC’s Center for Health Journalism says about one-third of California students reported being bullied or harassed between 2016 and 2020. Bullying rates varied by district from a low of 11 percent of students to a high of 59 percent, and Black, Native American, Asian, female and disabled students were more likely to be bullied. Yet some groups have found a way to fight back by working together, according to the SCNG report, which also examined solutions to cyberbullying.
  • More than 150 girls from Southern California middle and high schools attended the annual Girls in Ocean Science Conference at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor. The two-day event introduced students to the varying fields of ocean sciences with opportunities to hear from female experts.
  • Student-chefs from Orange County School of the Arts put their culinary skills on display over the weekend during a competition that raised money for the school’s Mekjian Family Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory.
  • A nutrition services assistant, a bus driver, a maintenance worker and a database specialist are among nine exemplary school workers who were announced this week as the 2022 Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year.
  • Laurel Elementary Magnet School began serving the Brea community back in September 1921 with an inaugural class of 139 students. This week, students and staff celebrated the school’s centennial birthday with former faculty members, school board members, district leaders, business partners, and local and state dignitaries.
  • Trustees for the California State University system voted to permanently eliminate the SAT and ACT exams for undergraduate admissions. With the move, the CSU has aligned with the University of California, which dropped the exams in 2020 over concerns about equity and access.
  • While the California Lottery only accounts for around 1.5 percent of the state’s education budget, it adds up to big numbers each year. In 2021, despite the pandemic, it generated around $1.9 billion.
  • Inside the Outdoors Foundation, which oversees OCDE’s long-running environmental education program, has been awarded a $75,000 grant from The Boeing Company to help rebuild its animal ambassador lineup and to increase community access to environmental education experiences.
  • And finally, students from Villa Park High School’s NAMI Club decorated canvas tote bags with uplifting messages to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. The bags were donated to the LGBTQ Center Orange County’s food pantry.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.