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Education Briefs | Ambrose gains national recognition with PBS Kids

SHOWLOW, Ariz.

Celena Ambrose

Celena Ambrose, a graduate of Northland Pioneer College and current early childhood educator with Holbrook’s Head Start, was recently named as one of only 11 PBS Kids Early Learning Champions nationwide.

The award, established in 2018, recognizes and celebrates passionate educators who work with the youngest students, from infants to second graders.

Ambrose said, “It is still pretty mind-blowing to me! It feels very surreal!”

She said she was pleased to meet her peers among the select group of champions, reporting that, “They are all doing amazing things!”

In 2020, Ambrose completed an associate in early childhood development.

This past December, Ambrose was elected to Arizona’s Early Childhood Alliance, an advocacy and awareness group that fosters positive change in the field of early childhood education.

As a PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion, she will learn professionally and network to benefit the youngest students in her rural area.

Ambrose is focused on becoming an accomplished teacher and plans to broaden her education this spring by beginning a bachelor’s degree program in early childhood studies.

According to PBS, this year’s honorees were chosen for their passion and devotion to early education, as well as their desire to foster relationships with their students and local PBS stations.

Kristine Nishimura, PBS Kids’ regional outreach coordinator for education and community impact in southern Arizona, notes Ambrose was selected for, “her intense ability to network and give the youngest children the possibilities and opportunities to learn through a variety of resources on a state and, now, on a nationwide level.”

It is safe to say the tiny students at Holbrook Head Start are in excellent hands.

Winslow teen awarded for safe-driving habits

Braxton Billy was recognized as a UPS Road Code Ambassador.

FLAGSTAFF – Braxton Billy from the Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff and Winslow Residential Hall was recognized as the local ambassador of the UPS Road Code program, sponsored by Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The UPS Foundation.

Billy, a UPS Road Code graduate, was selected for outstanding safe-driving habits and his desire to advocate for local teens to participate in safe-driving and to be safer passengers.

The UPS Road Code Ambassador Program is available at 235 club sites around the country and on U.S. military installations overseas to teens, ages 13 to 18, who have completed the UPS Road Code program and plan to advocate for safe-driving knowledge.

Approximately 150 UPS employees serve as trained volunteer instructors and, by the end of 2021, the program will have reached more than 60,000 teens globally since its launch in 2009.

Lauren Kaibetoney, director of Club Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff, said, “Thanks to organizations like The UPS Foundation, Braxton has an opportunity to develop not only safe-driving knowledge, but also advocacy skills which will help him to be a greater leader.”

Billy is a senior at Winslow High. He has been a Boys & Girls Club member for three years and was accepted to attend the Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix in the fall of 2022.
He plans to pursue an automotive technician certificate and plans to be a car mechanic.

Blanding talent search program receives 5-year grant

BLANDING, Utah – Thanks to a five-year extended federal grant, the TRIO program at Utah State University-Blanding will continue to identify individuals and help them get the tools and support to succeed in middle and high school and to enroll in college.

The TRIO Talent Search program is a federally funded program that helps individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education.

The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, provides academic, career, and financial counseling for participants.

Jami Bayles, USU-Blanding TRIO director, said, “This program recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success.”

Bayles and her team work with local high school and middle schools across eight schools and three districts. This includes seven schools in Utah and one in Arizona.

In total, the funds for the 2021-22 school year will serve 825 students in 6th through12th grade.

“I am living proof that TRIO truly does work,” Bayles said. “Not only did this program help me prepare for college, but it gave me the skills to help my younger sister succeed as well.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 80% of TRIO participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation.


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