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School Briefs

Glendale Union High School District

JROTC Academic Team heads to nation’s capitol
The Sunnyslope Air Force JROTC Academic Team qualified for the National Championship competition in Washington, D.C. this summer. The College Options Foundation sponsors the tournament each year hosting the top 16 Air Force schools out of 327 teams that competed this year.

This is the fourth year in row that Sunnyslope has made it to the final round. Questions cover a variety of ACT/SAT topics that include chemistry, math, astronomy, and current events. In addition, the team will visit Smithsonian Museums and historic monuments while in Washington, D.C.

Bocce team gets boost from CFP Foundation
Deanne Streich, who works with students at Sunnyslope High School in Special Education as well as English Learning Language (ELL), recently needed $518 to fund her fledgling bocce ball team in the fall. The students are part of a unified sports team, and this is their first experience in organized sports.

Team members wanted to be able to practice during the summer, but desperately needed a shade structure, a large ice chest and some supplies to keep them safe and cool while outdoors. “Keeping our athletics together in the shade and keeping them hydrated is imperative in the Arizona sunshine,” Streich pointed out.

Her project, which was posted to a crowdfunding site available only to educators, was fully funded in May thanks to the generosity of The College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation and its Extra Yard for Teachers platform, which during Teacher Appreciation Week funded DonorsChoose.org’s sports-related projects in the host communities of the CFP National Championship. Streich will now receive a pop-up canopy, ice chest and several cases of Gatorade.

Madison Elementary School District

Student’s artwork chosen by Google
Madison Traditional Academy student Bella Strumpfer was selected as the Arizona winner of the Doodle 4 Google competition, for the Grade 4-5 Category. Bella was selected from more than 200,000 entries from students in Arizona. Online voting from the public closed on May 18.

Bella said, “I drew this picture because I love magical creatures. They help me believe anything is possible. They inspire me to be creative.”

Bella was one of 53 students from across the nation vying for the national award, which includes a $30,000 college scholarship and $50,000 technology package for her school. The five national finalists will be revealed on June 4.

Osborn Elementary School District

Cross-border summit hosts junior high students
Osborn Elementary School District’s Montecito Community School hosted more than 200 junior high students (13-15 years old) from Hermosillo, Mexico, and Arizona for the Cross Border Youth Summit on May 11, where they shared experiences and proposed solutions on topics ranging from prejudice and bullying to commerce, education, and media.

These students joined peers from different schools in small sessions to learn about each other, discuss perceptions of the current social climate, and create strategic solutions. Each group then shared their views during a plenary session. The objective of this exercise is to give youth a voice and provide their statements to policy makers, business leaders and community stakeholders.

Participating Arizona school districts include Osborn School District, Buckeye Union School District, Paradise Valley School District, and Balsz School District.

The purpose of the Cross Border Youth Summit is to create a safe space for students from border states to share their fears and dreams with each other, discuss perceptions about cross border social issues, create strategies for improving inclusiveness, and have their voices heard.

Phoenix Union High School District

Students compete at Educators Rising
Thirty-three students from Metro Tech, North, Alhambra and South traveled to Tucson to attend the 2018 Educators Rising State Conference and Competition in March. Over 500 students from all over the state competed in events that showcased various skills such as teaching, speaking, and writing.

One-third of the Phoenix Union students placed in the top five for their events. Chantel Clark from North was recognized as Arizona Teacher Leader of the Year and her student, Jenny Chinchilla, was elected as next year’s Arizona State Officer. Other achievements included Bronze Chapter Awards for Metro Tech, North and Alhambra.

Three Metro Tech students will travel to the Educators Rising National Conference in Orlando, Fla. this summer. Carolina Melendez, State Officer, placed First in Job Interview. Abraham Rivera, dual student from Phoenix Day School For the Deaf, placed First in Lesson Planning: Humanities. Ricardo Rojas placed Fourth in Creative Lecture (TED Talk).

DLA student members receive scholarships
For the past 11 years, Phoenix Union students have participated in the Diversity Leadership Alliance’s Youth Leadership Academy. The DLA is a nationally recognized diversity education organization, working to transform the culture of Arizona and cultivate an inclusive community. The Youth Academy is designed to assist students transitioning from school to work, provide them with resources to build leadership skills, participate in mentoring programs, and earn scholarships.

This year, 13 students from seven Phoenix Union schools earned 16 scholarships, totaling $16,500. Metro Tech’s Niyonkuru-Alexis Pamphile, who participated in the personal leadership training, will receive  $3,500 in scholarships and was selected to give his speech at the DLA conference this fall, after delivering it March 21 to DLA members.

He has been with the DLA Youth Leadership Academy for three years. Born in Tanzania, he is Burundian, speaks four languages, and says in his speech that he is an “asylum seeker, immigrant, African, refugee and first generation,” and his goal is to “aspire to inspire.”

Other Metro Tech scholarship recipients were Luis Pena, Michelle To, Yamilla Martinez, Rosa Ortega, Angel Gomez and Daniel Cruz.

Building adaptive games for kids
The Bioscience Engineering program has developed a relationship with the ACCEL school (for kids with challenges and special needs) this year. In addition to other tasks, Bioscience students were challenged to create fun carnival-type games that could be accessed by kids with severe physical limitations.

In completing these tasks, the students utilized Career and Technical Education (CTE) equipment at different campuses, their own resources, and many engineering planning tools.) They created bowling, dunk tank, beanbag toss and much more, and tried out the games with the ACCEL students in March.

Senior does well in archery competition
Central High JROTC Battalion Commander, Cadet Amelia “Bingo” Bingochea, competed in the 2018 US Eastern National Tournament of the Archery in Schools Program, held May 10-12 in Louisville, Ky. There was over 15,000 Archers in the competition. Bingochea scored a 283 out of 300 to rank 304th out of 5,589 girls.

In the High School Division, she was 198th of 2,393 archers, and 46th out of 446 in the 12th grade division.

Franklin repeats as Fire Muster Champs
Franklin Police and Fire High School repeated as Fire Muster Champions at the 15th Annual Arizona High School Fire Science Muster competition, held in Peoria on April 21.

Franklin had five teams competing, among the 35 tams from 10 schools across the state. The team of Christian Simmons, Mark Gutierrez, Josh Javier, Jorge Verdugo, Christian Cota, Gabriel Mora, Miguel Serrano, Angel Sandoval, Alberto Melendrez, and Fernando Flores brought home the title for the third consecutive year.

In the girls division, the Thunderbirds fielded two teams, but after winning the state title five years in a row, a team from Peoria beat them this year.

The fire muster competition is a timed contest testing the skills of donning turnouts (protective fire clothes and gear) putting on the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), securing a water source from a fire hydrant, advancing a fire attack hose line, performing a rescue drag of a 165-pound mannequin, and two new events: the fire equipment carry, and the forcible entry, where competitors simulate breaking through a (prop) door to make entry into a structure.

Washington Elementary School District

Schools benefit from Kiwanis Club donations
Dorothy Watkins, administrator of Social Services for the Washington Elementary School District, has seen families at their lowest, with little to no money for food, or transportation, or medical care—let alone, school supplies for their children.

In the school year that just wrapped up, Watkins had more than 900 students who were identified as homeless via the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law that requires that children and youths experiencing homelessness are immediately enrolled in school and have educational opportunities equal to those of their non-homeless peers.

However, what that act doesn’t provide is funding to help these children—or their families—with the basic items they need to help them succeed. And state funding for schools cannot be used to purchase things like a gas card, or a bed.

That’s where nonprofit service organizations like the North Phoenix Kiwanis Club come in. Watkins was one of three WESD beneficiaries who received checks from the North Phoenix Kiwanis Club at a social gathering on May 3.

Kathleen McKeever, director of After School Programs for WESD, also received a check from the club. System-wide the programs serve approximately 4,500 children with activities that build social and emotional skills, as well as help those who are struggling in core academic areas such as math and reading. The money from the North Phoenix Kiwanis Club will be used for programming at two WESD schools, including Desert View Elementary, 8621 N. 3rd St.

“We receive federal money via the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant, and part of that grant asks us to work with community groups and leverage local resources to help our kids succeed. We have been so grateful to partner with the Kiwanis Club and to be a beneficiary of their commitment to children,” she said.

Private and Charter Schools

Alvarez wins award for artistic drawing
Six Xavier College Preparatory students were honored for their artwork at the Annual Congressional District 9 High School Art Exhibit and Competition awards reception, held April 28 at the Art Institute of Phoenix.

Sophomore Camille Alvarez of North Central Phoenix placed second in the “Drawing” category. All winners received monetary gift certificates. Fiona Pan was also awarded “Third Best In Show” honors and received a $2,500 scholarship to the Art Institute of Phoenix.

Two days prior to the competition, Xavier hosted its annual Art Feast for parents, families, and friends to showcase its students’ achievements in art, theater, music, and dance.

MHP leaps to top at track and field event
Madison Highland Prep finished the Arizona state track and field championship with numerous accolades.

MHP track and field crowned 11 state champions, 11 state runner-ups and eight state medalists over the two-day state meet, May 11-12 at American Leadership Academy-Gilbert North and Arizona State University Sun Devil Stadium.

The women set five school records and 24 personal records, and the men set six school records and 25 personal records. Track Coach Curtis Watson was named Division I Men’s Track & Field Coach of the Year.

Women’s track and field completed their repeat as Division I State Champions, dominating Paradise Valley Christian by a score of 189-66. The 2018 state champions are: Zoe Ewell in 100 meters and 200 meters; Rose Ritter in 1600 meters and 3200 meters; Madison Jones in 300 meter hurdles; and the 4×400 meter relay of China Pappillion, Jasmine Garcia, Jenn Kobs, and Madison Jones. The 2018 State runner-ups are Jasmine Garcia in 100 meters and 200 meters; Rose Ritter in 800 meters; Edith Townsend in 100 meter hurdles; China Pappillion in 300 meter hurdles; and the 4×800 meter relay of Anai Urbieta, Emily Day, Rose Ritter, and Madison Jones.

The 2018 state medalists are Madison Jones in 200 meters; Layne Fritz in 100 meter hurdles and high jump; and Zoe Ewell in long jump.

Men’s track and field also repeated as Division I State Champions, with a commanding victory over James Madison by a score of 183-99. The 2018 state champions are: Hugo Lopez in 400 meters; Simon Bowen in 800 meters; Alex Kobs in Shot Put; the 4×400 meter relay of Carlos Lopez, Cristian Casarubia, Simon Bowen, and Hugo Lopez; and the 4×800 meter relay of Kai Kroodsma, Jay-ar Gloria, Simon Bowen, and Hugo Lopez. The 2018 state runner-ups are Kai Kroodsma in 800 meters; Zach Larger in 110 meter hurdles; Angelo Garcia in 300 meter hurdles; Drake Morris in shot put and discus; and the 4×100 meter relay of Angelo Garcia, Josh Mowry, Carlos Lopez, and Cristian Casarubia.

The 2018 state medalists are Angelo Garcia in 110 meter hurdles; Drake Morris in 300 meter hurdles and high jump; Alex Kobs in discus; and Zach Larger in triple jump.

A group pilgrimage to Lourdes, France
Fifty-two Xavier College Preparatory students, faculty members, parents, and grandparents in March traveled together to Lourdes, France, on an Easter pilgrimage that the all-female high school introduced 18 years ago.

Xavier launched an International Studies Program six years ago to expand upon its Lourdes sojourn and to provide its students and faculty members with additional global religious, educational, cultural, and service opportunities. Since then, nearly 600 of the school’s young women and their faculty chaperones have traveled globally to Ecuador, France, Ireland, Germany, Nicaragua, Poland, the Holy Land, and the U.S./Mexico border town of Nogales.

Earlier in the school year, 21 students from Xavier and the Rhein-Maas-Gymnasium school in Aachen, Germany, crossed the Atlantic Ocean with their faculty chaperones to participate in Xavier’s annual exchange program that welcomed German students to Arizona in October and sent Xavier students to Germany in February.

This summer, nearly 100 more Xavier students and faculty members will travel internationally with the school’s program.

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