SPPS Lego League's new equity goals encourage diverse participation, judging criteria
Equity was at the forefront of coaching and judging during this year's SPPS Regional FIRST Lego League Tournament, where more than 500 students from Saint Paul Public Schools competed.

The tournament, which took place Jan. 24 at Washington Technology Magnet School, included 56 teams from elementary and middle schools -- the largest number ever to compete at the SPPS tournament. Seven of the teams advanced to the Minnesota FIRST Lego League Scientific State Championship on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Washington Tech.

Congratulations to the 220 participants in Murray's science fair
Congratulations to the nearly 220 participants in Murray Middle School's Science Fair. Forty-seven Murray students will participate in the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair on Friday, Feb. 27, at the University of Minnesota.

Farnsworth Lego League team advances to state tournament
Two teams from Farnsworth Aerospace competed in the SPPS Regional Lego League tournament on Jan. 24. The Lego Legends, a grade 5–8 team, took first place out of 56 teams. The team earned a near perfect score in the Core Values segment that emphasizes problem solving and creativity. Lego Legends is among seven teams advancing to the State Lego League tournament on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Washington Tech.

Murray Middle School collects more than 1,700 pounds of food for Keystone Community Services
Murray Middle School students recently collected 1,716 pounds of food for the annual food drive benefitting the Keystone Community Services food shelf. Sixth-graders led the way collecting 881 pounds of food, with seventh-graders collecting 516 pounds of food and eighth-graders collecting 319 pounds of food for donation.

Johnson High School senior awarded Youth Frontiers Character Award
Last month, Johnson High School senior Peter Yang was awarded the 2014 Youth Frontiers Character Award. Yang has served as a small group leader on multiple Youth Frontiers' Respect and Kindness retreats in Saint Paul, and was chosen for the award because of his strong work ethic, positive attitude and aptitude for leadership. Yang received an iPad and a $3,000 scholarship from Luther Automotive during the sixth-annual Ethical Leadership Luncheon.

"Peter was the best part of my day," said Elizabeth Ormsby, an 11th-grade teacher at Johnson. "His smile was contagious and his energy was palpable. As a teacher, I know how exceptionally hard he has had to work to overcome his communication and cultural barriers. But more importantly, Peter stands tall as he incorporates the values of kindness, courage, respect and integrity into his life and into the lives of others."