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East Ridge and Woodbury high schoolers earn distinctions

From left: Esperanza Lee, Anya Steffel, Neha Jain, Alex Bretoi, Arsema Belai, Sophia Pfluger and Eesha Bharti. Not pictured McCrossen Schiller and Tre’ Edgerton.

The Minnesota Department of Education named nine East Ridge and Woodbury High School students Scholars of Distinction May 12.

Students earned awards by doing self-directed research.

East Ridge High Schooler Eesha Bharti earned the Science Scholars of Distinction Award for the project, "Causes of Alzheimer's Disease: Genetic Differences between Early- and Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease."

Four East Ridge students earned the Theater Arts Scholars of Distinction Award.

Arsema Belai earned it for the acting project, "The Power of Theater to Create Ensemble and Expand the World;" Alex Bretoi for the acting/musical theater project, "Fully Engaged: Making Bold Physical, Vocal, and Emotional Choice;" Tre' Edgerton for acting/musical theater project, "The Voice of Social Justice on a National Stage;" and Sophie Pfluger for technical theater/scenic design project, "All the World's My Color Palette: Designing for the Stage, Mentoring the Next Generation."

East Ridge students McCrossen Schiller and Anya Steffel earned Theater Arts Meritorious Performance Awards for the directing project, "Staging Strong Women: Empowering Female Characters and Actors" and for the playwriting project, "Creating Contemporary Characters to Reflect Society and Spark Empathy."

Woodbury High School student Esperanza Lee earned the Social Studies Meritorious Performance Award for the applied history project, "China to Minnesota and Back: China Inland Mission's Legacy," and Neha Jain earned the Science Scholars of Distinction Award for the project, "Non-narcotic Emergency Management of Renal Colic Improves Length of Emergency Department (ED) Stay and Discharge Rate."