Weekly roundup: OC students make list of America’s top 300 teen scientists, governor proposes budget, and more

Three high school students from Orange County were named finalists in the Society for Science’s list of the top 300 scholars in the 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search.

The program is billed as the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Along with the recognition, the scholars will each be awarded $2,000 and their respective schools will receive $2,000.

The three seniors from Orange County are Thaddaeus Kiker from Sunny Hills High School in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Tyler Benjamin Yang from Yorba Linda High in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District and Akshata Tiwari from Aliso Niguel High in the Capistrano Unified School District.

“The enthusiasm and quality of projects from this year’s participants were just outstanding,” said Society for Science President and CEO Maya Ajmera. “Each year, I am tremendously impressed by the ingenuity that the students bring to the competition. Their hard work, creativity and perseverance should be applauded.” 

The society selected the scholars from 1,949 applications submitted from 627 high schools across 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and four other countries. The students were chosen based on their research and leadership skills, community involvement and commitment to academics.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search recognizes and empowers the nation’s most promising young scientists who are generating innovative solutions to solve significant global challenges through rigorous research and discoveries.

Here are the other stories we have been following this week:

  • K-12 schools in the state would fare relatively well compared with other areas in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget. The plan projects a shortfall of about $22.5 billion for 2023-24, but as EdSource reported, Newsom’s plan would largely keep cuts away from schools.
  • As part of his spending plan, Newsom pledged to provide naloxone — an emergency overdose-reversal drug — to every middle and high school.
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  • A teacher surprised her class with new books to bring home before winter break. Her act of kindness was one of many that schools and districts across Orange County displayed during the holiday season.
  • The Anaheim Elementary School District’s new music and arts initiative, called Anaheim Succeeds, offers students opportunities to learn about their community’s rich history and culture.
  • The Newport-Mesa Unified School District hired Keith Carmona as its new director of teaching and learning for secondary education.
  • Students from the Saddleback Unified School District’s Esperanza Education Center gained real work experience at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. The students helped create seedlings, harvest crops and learn plant management.
  • By a 4-3 vote, the Orange Unified school board released the district’s superintendent and placed an assistant superintendent on leave, the Orange County Register reported. Interim candidates were appointed to fill the vacancies.
  • Edward Velasquez, Orange Unified’s new interim superintendent, told the Register that his time in the role will be “short.” While the educator officially retired in 2013, he has taken on interim roles at two school districts, as well as a county office of education.

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.