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LO student is National Merit Scholar

The first winners of the 61st-annual National Merit Scholarship Program have been announced, and Lake Oswego High School senior Neeta Rao is among their ranks.

The announcements come in waves, and Rao, a former guest columnist for The Review, is one of four Oregonians in the first wave released April 19. She received the National Merit Zerox Foundation Scholarship, and she plans to study computer science.

More than 1,000 high school seniors have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards, which are financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations. Winners are chosen from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met the criteria of their scholarship sponsors.

Girl Up summit debuts

A Riverdale High School senior is organizing the first Oregon Girl Up Summit on April 30.

The 10 a.m.-4 p.m. event for high school and middle school students, female and male, will feature speakers and workshops on challenges girls face throughout the world, said Sarah Gordon, lead organizer. Subjects include child marriage, girls being pushed away from education, insufficient health care and a lack of leadership opportunities.

Presenters will include staff of the Girl Up Campaign from Washington, D.C., and representatives from Pacific Northwest chapters. Reps from Portland-based companies Sseko Designs and Quin Candy also will be on hand. Girls can also learn how to take action by starting a Girl Up Club in their school and advocating for legislation to policymakers. Girl Up is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that operates on a “for girls, by girls” platform to help inspire American teenagers to raise funds and awareness for girls worldwide.

The cost to attend also includes breakfast, lunch and snacks. To register, go to bit.ly/1Sphlua.

LOHS students win debate award

More than 450 students representing 64 schools competed in the 2016 the Oregon School Activities Association/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires Speech State Championships last week in Monmouth — and two Lake Oswego High School students walked away with an award.

During the tournament, held April 21-23 at Western Oregon University, LOHS juniors Sarah Kwartler and Sara Jane Griffiths tied with a Bandon school for third place in Parliamentary Debate. Parliamentary is an audience-centered style of two-person debate.

Student wins writing competition

Riverdale Grade School eighth-grader Jordan McElroy received second place in the middle school category of the 2016 Sala Kryszek Art & Writing Competition.

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education created the competition to inspire middle and high school participants to study history and foster an awareness of the Holocaust.

Students had to write about how such an atrocity as the Holocaust could have happened in a country full of educated people, whether such things still happen and how such tragedies can be prevented. An estimated six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and millions more also were killed.

One line from Jordan’s poem is “All it takes is a speck of darkness/To captivate the people/Disguised as a ray of light.”

From today, April 28-May 15, Jordan’s poem, “Rot,” will be displayed at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, 1953 N.W. Kearney St., Portland.

Alumnus honored

Eric Avar of Lake Oswego has received the 2016 Rochester Institute of Technology Distinguished Alumni Award.

Avar, who graduated from RIT in 1990 with a degree in industrial design, is the vice president of design innovation at Nike, according to an April 8 announcement from the school.

He oversees projects in an extension of Nike’s Innovation Kitchen. In addition, he has created award-winning designs during the past 25 years, such as Kobe Bryant’s signature footwear series, Nike Basketball, Nike Free and Lunar.

RIT’s leaders select one graduate from each college who represents the best of RIT for this honor.

This year, 10 distinguished alumni stood out among the more than 118,000 accomplished alumni, including Avar. The awards will be presented on Friday.

Joint high school musical event coming up

Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high school students are joining forces to host a music festival next month. The second-annual LOChella — the name is a play on the name of Southern California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — will be on tap May 13 in Lake Oswego.

A variety of student acts will be featured, but the main focus of the event is music.

All are welcome to attend the event, which is free, though donations are suggested. All proceeds will be donated to Children’s Healing Art Project.

The event will be held from 6-10 p.m. at Foothills Park, 199 Foothills Road.

— The Review