Sunnyslope choir hitting high notes
Thirty choir students from Sunnyslope High School were named to the Northwest Regional Honor Choir.
Sponsored by the Arizona Music Educator’s Association, students from throughout Arizona audition for one of eight regional choirs. Each choir is composed of the top 100 singers in the region based upon a solo performance and a test of musical literacy. The auditions took place Jan. 27 at Prescott High School.
Members of the Regional Choir then rehearsed with Jason Thompson from Arizona State University in Flagstaff on Feb. 17 and perform in concert along with the Northwest Regional Honor Band and Orchestra.
Eleven members of the Sunnyslope band and orchestra also participated. Students who make their regional ensemble are eligible to audition for All-State Choir-the top 200 singers in the state. Those auditions will take place March 9-10, and the All-State Music Festival will take place at the University of Arizona April 19-21.
In other Sunnyslope news, the Sunnyslope Vocal Ensemble performed at the Northern Arizona University Jazz/Madrigal Festival on Feb. 10 and received two superior ratings for their performances in both categories.
There are 135 students in Sunnyslope’s four choirs: Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, Concert Choir and Vocal Ensemble. The choirs have performed locally, throughout the state and at festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Chicago and at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
LeTarte named a Coach of the Year
Sunnyslope High School Volleyball Coach Amber LeTarte was named a 2016-17 Sectional Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School (NFHS) Coaches Association.
Coaches who are considered for the annual awards must be active during the year for which they are being considered, and are judged on a points system by an advisory committee comprised of a chairperson and eight sectional representatives.
The NFHS Coaches Association has been honoring high school coaches in both girls and boys sports from throughout the country since 1982.
Gossett vies for top principal title
Priscilla Gossett, principal of Madison Heights Elementary School, has been named a semi-finalist in this year’s Maricopa County Exemplary Principal program. Selected from 964 school principals in Maricopa County, Gossett’s semifinalist selection has been determined by achievement data, superintendent recommendations and feedback from teachers.
The program is conducted by the Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA).
Meadows basketball team takes top title
The Madison Meadows varsity boy’s basketball team completed another sweep of the Valley Athletic Conference this year (13-0, 20-7) with a win over Wigwam Creek, Jan. 31 at Western Sky Middle School in Goodyear. This is the school’s third basketball championship win in the last four years.
Future Sunnyslope Viking and team MVP Jayden Warren led the team in rebounds, assists, and points during a battle featuring future Vikings: Collin Hasenstab, Spencer Russell, Dylan Heath, Kai Garcia, and Tate Whittaker.
Other standouts were Londyn Jones-Townes, Micah Wilkersen, Evan Clayton, Eli Elitz, Khary Beler, and 7th grade returning starters Bradley Kemp, Mack Molander and Sam Williams.
OMS students receive ‘passports’ to Central
Osborn Middle School eighth graders spent a day touring the Central High School campus on Jan. 31.
Each student received a passport and collected stamps for exploring the many opportunities available. They went to a physics class; picked up a copy of Central’s newspaper, The Central Echoes, and learned about Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs; stopped at the bookstore, gymnasiums and library; learned about 16 Advanced Placement offerings; checked out the flagpoles representing the Global Studies magnet; and learned about visual arts. The also learned that Central High has 43 student clubs, and AIA sports across the board.
Camelback council earns highest honor
Camelback High’s Student Government earned the highest honor of “Outstanding Council of Distinction” at the annual Arizona Association of Student Councils State convention, held at Independence High School on Jan. 27.
Cesar Chavez and Maryvale also were recognized as “Councils of Distinction.” Four other PUHSD schools earned Honorable Mention.
Girls show strong at weightlifting contest
The Metro Tech Weightlifting Team competed in the Arizona State High School Championships, Feb. 3 at Queen Creek High School and came home with five state champions and the girls state team title.
Celina Ortega was named Arizona Sophomore Lifter of the Year and won the 75 kilogram weight class. Yuliana Lopez was named the State of Arizona Senior lifter of the year and won the 69 kg. weight class and set two state weightlifting records.
Araceli Cabera won the 63 kg. weight class, and Lesly Martinez won the 58 kg. weight classes. Carlos Ortega won the Boys 105 kg. weight class. Carmen Zamora Cruz took second in the 48 kg. weight class, and Johana Vargas was third in the 53 kg. weight class.
Dance team wins at first competition
Camelback High’s Elite Dance Company competed for the first time in school history in the Varsity Dance Division, Feb. 3 at the 2018 Cheer for Charity Competition in Peoria. Elite Co. placed first in Varsity Hip-Hop and third in Varsity Jazz.
The group, made up of six students, grades 10-12, is led by four-year dance senior, Kayla Thornton.
Students share learning with peers in Egypt
More than 60 Xavier College Preparatory students are collaborating with 60-plus students of the Al Farouk School in Cairo, Egypt, to solve real-world biology and physics problems.
The students, who are all young women enrolled in the U.S. equivalent of grades 9-12, communicate primarily through virtual exchange experiences and utilize applications such as Dropbox to share information as they work together on problem-based learning activities.
Part of a new Leadership through Problem-Based Learning (LtPBL) initiative created by Arizona State University associate professor of science education, Dr. Peter Rillero, the program teaches students not only to solve complex problems, but to understand the real-life applications of various scientific techniques. Grant funding from the U.S. Department of State and the Stevens Initiative, specifically aimed at educational exchanges between youth in the United States and youth in the Middle East and North Africa, has made the initiative possible.
In January, three faculty members from the Al Farouk School traveled from Egypt to Arizona to spend several days working with their three Xavier counterparts and observing the Xavier students in their biology and physics classes. In June, the three Xavier faculty members will travel to Cairo to collaborate with their Al Farouk colleagues and to observe the Egyptian students in their classes.
PCDS speech, debate team shines
In late January, the defending National Champion Phoenix Country Day School Middle School Speech & Debate team competed at the Columbia University High School Speech & Debate Tournament in New York City, featuring competitors from over 120 high schools from 25 states and four countries. The PCDS Middle School team received a special invitation to be the only team of middle school students to compete at the tournament.
After two days of grueling events, with the 25 PCDS Middle School students competing against 17- and 18 year olds from some of the nation’s top high school debate programs, the results were undeniable: 15 of the PCDS students advanced to elimination rounds, and two PCDS Middle School students finished at or near the top in their respective events.
PCDS eighth grader Yash Wadwekar was crowned overall champion in the Prose and Poetry event, beating a senior from Bronx Science High School (one of the top-ranked public schools in the country). Additionally, PCDS eighth grader Alexander Ashman finished national runner-up in the original oratory event.
SS. Simon & Jude debuts new building
After a lengthy construction process, SS. Simon & Jude opened a new 11,000-square-foot multi-purpose building in January. The building, known as the Mary Ward Center, houses the entire administration of the school on the first floor, and boasts four large classrooms on the second floor.
The former school offices were located near the rear of the campus, so school officials felt it was essential to relocate these facilities to the front of the school for the optimum in safety for their students.
SS. Simon & Jude has worked tirelessly for the past decade on campus improvements totaling $7 million. These improvements include an indoor gymnasium, junior high building, remodeled classrooms, and a new library space. The school will celebrate its 65th anniversary this fall.
Riach to attend Space Camp
Where can you find the top innovators, inventors and scientists of the future? Many of them will attend the 2018 Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy at the U.S Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., March 4-8. Madison Highland Prep senior Natalie Riach will join high school students from around the globe to attend the weeklong event.
The academy uses interactive technology, science-oriented workshops and team exercises to teach participants leadership skills in STEM. The program helps develop students’ capabilities through hands-on challenges including designing, building and testing rockets. Students also participate in simulated astronaut training, shuttle missions and a moon walk. This unique opportunity allows students to work with others that have similar interests in STEM fields and develop both professional and personal contacts for future academic and career endeavors.
Juniors at MHP are NMSQT Scholars
Madison Highland Prep juniors Reilly Benn and Jasmine Lee received qualifying scores for Arizona students on the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) administered this past fall. Benn and Lee scored in the top 2 percent of students taking the exam nationally.
MHP had 16 juniors and eight sophomores score at or above the 90th percentile nationally on the PSAT/NMSQT test. Juniors performing at or above the 90th percentile are Leo Ayala, Reilly Benn, Tatum Danna, Benjamin DeSimone, Aurora Griffin, Madison Jones, Lee Kole, Jasmine Lee, Lawrence Lovely, Ian Martinez, Gregory McFarland, Jay Melvin, Nicolas Mitsui, Drake Morris, Quirynn Slater, and Holland Stone.
Sophomores performing at or above the 90th percentile include Austin Brindowski, Emily Day, Dodge Flynn, Nolan Grueb, Ethan Groseclose, Zach Markewicz, Madison Montano, and Kevin Tartgalia.
Team of juniors wins App challenge
Xavier College Preparatory juniors Lillian Castle, Emily Conn, Katherine Katsenes, and Katherine Thomas are the 2017 Congressional App Challenge winners from Arizona’s 9th Congressional District, which is represented by Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.
The winning Xavier team created its “Teens For Political Action AZ” application in order to promote youth discourse and involvement in the issues affecting themselves, their community, and their country.
The annual Congressional App Challenge aims to engage students in coding and computer science. A total of 190 congressional districts across 42 states hosted app challenges for their student constituents. More than 4,100 students participated in the 14-week regional competitions.
All of the winners from across the country have been invited to showcase their apps to members of Congress and the tech community at #HouseOfCode, a reception on Capitol Hill to be held in April.
Their work is eligible to be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the House.gov website, and each winning student has been awarded $250 in Amazon Web Service credits.