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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Education notebook: Sisters selected division finalists for national piano competition

Student pianists Sarah and Avah Girges were recently announced as division finalists in the Music Teachers National Association Senior Piano Duet Competition.

The pair are the daughters of Rimon and Melissa Girges residing in Liberty Lake.

Sarah Girges is a ninth-grader at Valley Christian School. Her honors from previous piano competitions include being a CAPMT Honors district winner, the Ghiglieri Piano Competition and Musicfest, where she was awarded gold medals in each of the five categories she entered, and awards at the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition, Spokane Piano Competition and most recently Outstanding Artist Competition. She has studied piano for nine years and also plays violin.

Avah Girges is a sixth-grade homeschooler. Her honors include winning first place in three categories at the Spokane Piano Competition, gold medals in each of the three categories she entered at Musicfest Northwest, and various awards from competitions in California. She has studied piano for four years and also plays the cello.

The sisters will find out if they go on to compete in nationals when the division winners are announced in mid-January. National finals will take place in Chicago in March at the MTNA National Conference.

The MTNA is a nonprofit organization comprising 20,000 music teachers and was founded in 1876.

‘The Tempest’ opens Dec. 7

The Oaks Classical Christian Academy will open William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” on Dec. 7.

The play is directed by Teri Woodroof and features a 15-member cast comprising students in grades 7-12.

The story follows Prospero, a sorcerer robbed of his wealth and power and deserted on a remote island to live alone with his daughter Miranda. Prospero casts a vengeful storm across the sea, wrecking a ship of his enemies and washing them ashore on the fantastical island.

Performances are at 2 and 6 p.m. at The Oaks, 2303 S. Bowdish Road, in Spokane Valley.

Tickets, available at the door or online at, are $8 per person or $7 per person in groups of ten or more.

For more information, call (509) 536-5955.

CVSD to hold public event today

The Central Valley School District will host a Community Connections event today from 8-9:30 a.m. at Ponderosa Elementary, 10105 E. Cimmaron Drive, Spokane Valley.

The meeting will focus on extracurricular opportunities available at Ponderosa in addition to providing parents and community members opportunities to connect and hear about district updates and performance reports.

Those interested can RSVP by emailing or calling (509) 558-5532.

Westwood teacher honored

Westwood Middle School teacher Lucas Jensen has been selected for Best of the West’s Educator of the Year award by the West Plains Chamber of Commerce.

Jensen, an eighth-grade science teacher, was presented with the award at an awards gala Nov. 8.

The award recognizes educators in kindergarten to 12th grades in the Cheney and Medical Lake school districts.

In a nomination letter, Westwood principal Erika Burden and assistant principal Tami Skillingstad said Jensen uses creative means to inspire and engage students in science. His dedication extends beyond the classroom to after-school and summer programs. He has guided DJ, archery, soapbox derby and 3D printing clubs and more recently a school rock band.

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