The University of Arizona College of Fine Arts has been awarded a $343,000 grant to expand two of its K-12 outreach programs.

The grant comes from the Lovell Foundation, a local nonprofit that funds projects concerning mental and physical health education, gender equality and youth access to the arts, according to College of Fine Arts spokesperson Kerryn Negus. The funding will allow the College of Fine Arts to expand its CFA in Schools and Lead Guitar programs, which provide in-school arts instruction to over 16,000 K-12 students in six states.

The programs also offer professional development for teachers, in-school concerts from professional musicians and learning opportunities at the UA. They are free and serve schools with 80 percent or more of students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. TUSD, Flowing Wells and Amphitheater school districts are among the handful of local districts that offer CFA programs in one or more schools.

Learn more about how to start a CFA program at your school at inschools.cfa.arizona.edu.

Empire High student wins $5K scholarship from VPN company

Savannah Sorenson, a junior at Empire High School, has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship from virtual private network company ExpressVPN.

Sorenson competed against thousands of students across the globe for the scholarship in ExpressVPN’s annual Future of Privacy essay-writing competition, according to a press release. Her winning essay was a faux news article about a fictitious form of artificial intelligence she called Carson. Sorenson wrote that Carson would secure the right to absolute privacy for Earth’s next generation.

ExpressVPN said in the press release that “Savannah’s essay reflects an increasing awareness among students and young adults, in Arizona and across the U.S., of the need to protect their security and privacy online.”

Sorenson told ExpressVPN she wanted to study computer science with an emphasis on artificial intelligence in college.

Christmas comes early for Roadrunner Elementary students

Nearly three dozen Roadrunner Elementary School students were treated to a shopping spree and holiday luncheon sponsored by the Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge #2815.

Elks Lodge volunteers assisted students with clothing and shoe purchases, with the Lodge donating $140 per child.

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The holiday luncheon featured a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus who arrived on a Golder Ranch Fire District fire truck to distribute toys and school supplies.

Marana Cares Mobile provides free meals over most of winter break

Marana Unified School District’s Marana Cares Mobile will serve free meals to children during winter break.

The service will be available Monday through Friday — except Christmas and New Year’s Day — starting Dec. 24 through Jan. 4.

Created from a retired school bus, Marana Cares Mobile offers free nutritious meals in an air conditioned/heated mobile facility with interior and exterior serving areas. Handicap accessible, the refurbished mobile unit offers a fun dining experience, with Wi-fi, Chromebooks, and literacy encouragement for children.

From 11 a.m. to noon, the Marana Cares Mobile will be located at Sandario and Anthony roads. From 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., it will be at 6560 W. El Tiro Road.

Contact reporter Brenna Bailey at bbailey@tucson.com or 520-573-4279. On Twitter: @brennanonymous.

Reporter

Brenna explains how national, state and local K-12 education issues impact Tucson schools. She's a proud product of Arizona public schools. Send her news tips, story ideas and existential life questions at bbailey@tucson.com.