Vikings honored at annual event
The annual GUHSD Achievement Above All ceremony celebrates a teacher, student, support staff member, student group and volunteer who exhibit superior traits and representation.
Sunnyslope High School’s Achievement Above All Teacher recipient was Amber LeTarte, who has taught at Sunnyslope since 2000, and is an award-winning girls varsity volleyball coach. LeTarte has been with Sunnyslope since the ’90s, having first been a student at Sunnyslope.
The Achievement Above All Student recipient was Jenna Drotzman, who performed at the top of her class, contributes to her community and shines as a positive role model to her peers. Drotzman plans to attend Grand Canyon University this fall term. She will be studying early childhood development and speech pathology.
The Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient was the Sunnyslope Robotics Team, better known as Team Ra, led by Tyler Bolen. Team Ra developed a program with local elementary schools, inviting the younger students to the school on Saturdays and teaching them the basic skills and tools involved in robotics.
Glendale’s Volunteer of the Year has been a staple on the Viking campus for more than three decades. Ken Van Cott was a student at Sunnyslope and shortly after graduation, he was recruited by a parent to become one of the members of the football chain gang at varsity football games. That is where he has been on home varsity game nights for the past 35 years.
And finally, the Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient was Sheila Yoder, who holds a master’s degree is Social Work from Arizona State University. She was noted for her kind nature, her service work ethic, and her vast knowledge and experience.
Student makes it to third round in spelling bee
Marcus Giorza’s love of words took him all the way to the third round at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held May 27-June 1 in Washington, D.C.
The Madison No. 1 Middle School seventh-grader competed with 400-500 spellers from around the United States after first coming out on top in the 2018 Arizona Spelling Bee by correctly spelling “anthophilous,” Marcus received two all-expense paid trips to Washington, D.C., to compete in nationals, paid for by the Arizona Educational Foundation.
“I’ve always been interested in words and played a lot of educational word games when I was young,” Marcus said. “I don’t do intensive study sessions, I’m pretty casual about preparation. It helps that I have studied many different languages and understand the rules of word construction instead of just memorizing words.”
Marcus is part of the Rigorous, Enriched, Accelerated Curriculum for Highly Gifted (REACH) Program at Madison No. 1 Middle School.
Marcus spelled “angularity” correct in the third round of competition, but his total score did not allow him to advance to the final round. This was Marcus’s first time competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Camelview alone in receiving A+ status
The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) on April 18 announced the names of 41 Arizona public schools receiving the coveted A+ School of Excellence™ award for the 2017-2018 academic year, and the only North Central Phoenix school to receive an award was Madison Camelview Elementary, which serves approximately 600 students in preschool through fourth grade.
“The A+ School of Excellence program celebrates outstanding schools throughout Arizona, calling attention to the positive stories and successes occurring in public schools,” said AEF Executive Director, Bobbie O’Boyle. AEF has identified and honored exemplary pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public schools in Arizona since 1983.
Applicant schools are evaluated in the areas of student focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data.
“Throughout the rigorous assessment process, I was confident our Camelview community would earn the highest distinction because of the tremendous amount of work all of us put into providing extraordinary learning,” shared Madison Camelview Principal Hilary O’Brien. “We are proud of what we’ve accomplished together and grateful to be recognized for our hard work, because it shows our students what can happen when we all work together, focus on a goal and don’t give up.”
Schools receive $500 and a banner designating them as an A+ School of Excellence winner. All staff and their family members at the award-winning schools are eligible for partial scholarships from Argosy University Phoenix. The award is valid for three and a half years.
Solano gets honor from Childsplay
Solano School was recognized by Childsplay as an “Imagination and Wonder School” for its commitment to ongoing professional development in bringing literacy alive through drama in the 2018 school year.
Solano teachers Alex Parker and Sheila Berger were present at Childsplay’s 2018-2019 Season Preview for Educators event to receive an award, held at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix this past spring.
Bioscience boasts two Flinn Scholars
Two Phoenix Union Bioscience High School seniors were among the 22 Arizona high school students chosen as 2018 Flinn Scholars. Nancy Twishime and Elizabeth Lee Chiffelle were selected for the prestigious scholarship, valued at more than $120,000, from a record-high 881 applications.
The scholarship, which is for in-state universities only, covers the cost of tuition, room and board, and provides funding for study-abroad experiences, an off-campus internship and other benefits. Chiffelle and Twishime will attend Arizona State University this fall.
Bioscience was one of three schools that had two representatives, along with Arizona College Prep and BASIS Chandler. It is the first time since 1994 (North) that two students were from one Phoenix Union High School. Bioscience has had four Flinn Scholars since 2013.
The typical Flinn Scholar achieves at least a 3.5 grade-point average, a top-5 percent class rank, and a score of 1360 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT, and demonstrates exceptional leadership in extracurricular activities.
Staffing changes coming to PUHSD
Central High School will welcome a new prncipal for the 2018-19 school year. Leticia Avalos Salomon will lead Central, taking over for John Biera, who will move to the district office as a leadership coach this year. Salomon will start her new position on July 1.
Salomon comes from Betty Fairfax High School, where she was the assistant principal for registration for two years. Previously, she was an assistant principal at Trevor Browne High School for two years.
Salomon was a reading teacher and instructional leader at Carl Hayden High School from 2008-2014. Prior to her Phoenix Union career, she taught middle school social studies at Glendale Elementary District, beginning her educational career in 1998. Salomon holds a bachelor’s degree in education, specializing in history, and two master’s degrees in secondary education and educational leadership, all from Arizona State University.
Biera, who just completed his fourth year as Central’s principal, has been selected to fill an administrative position at CEE for the 2018-19 school year. His public education career spans 36 years, including 24 as an administrator in Arizona and Texas.
Heras receives first AZ ‘Golden Door’
Camelback High senior Matilde Sanchez Heras received a Golden Door Scholarship. The Golden Door Scholars program invests in education and career access for high-performing DACA students.
This is the first year that the Golden Door has included Arizona in its scholarship program. Only 100 students across the country were selected, only five in Arizona and Heros is the only Golden Door recipient from Phoenix.
She had a 4.6 weighted GPA and a 3.8 unweighted GPA, and was ranked third in her senior class.
As a Golden Door recipient and a DACA student, Heras has a full-ride scholarship to Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., studying Forensic Psychology. She will be attending a summit this summer with the other Golden Door winners.
Camelback seniors were offered more than $7.5 million in scholarships this year.
North boasts several student art winners
North High School had multiple winners in Congressman Reuben Gallego’s Student Art Competition this past spring.
Gloria Dusenge’s artwork titled “Introspection” won First Place. Her artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for a year and she and a guardian will have an all-expense paid trip to the nation’s capital for the art reception.
Sarahi Munoz took Second Place and Rogelio Rivera Landeros took Third Place. Both will have their artworks hanging in Congressman Gallego’s office for a year and they both also won a Chromebook.
Aleesha Brumit’s artwork won Best in Mixed Media and Amala Rose Paul Mundadan’s artwork won Best in Print. The awards Reception was held May 18.
York attends Chinese language program
Central High senior Amanda York was accepted to the STARTALK Chinese program, hosted at Arizona State University this summer.
The STARTALK Chinese program is a prestigious program funded by the U.S. government in which students from all over Arizona who are interested in learning Chinese language come for a 15-day camp. This is an intensive camp where students not only expand their knowledge in Chinese language, but also experience college living on campus. York recently visited China and was enrolled in Honors Chinese 3-4 in school.
In related news, York and classmate Mugarineza Zuza were accepted to the Cornell University Curie Academy and joined an esteemed group of youth from around the nation last month. The Curie Academy is a weeklong summer program at Cornell University for young women interested in engineering. CURIE participants spend a week living on Cornell’s campus and work on a research project with Cornell Engineering faculty.
After-school options are diverse, fun
Royal Palm Middle School’s 21st Century After-School program continues to provide opportunities for students with fun, innovative classes. Students are exposed to a variety of academic interventions as well as STEAM classes, including the increasingly popular Robotics program. Other offerings include Yearbook, 3-D Art, and Film & Editing, which is new this year.
In the community service class, Raiders & Cardinals Who Care, students are finding ways to give back to the community and get involved, including volunteering at community events such as the 19North Second Saturdays.
Positive awareness of self and others, and variation of class options, inspire students to thrive in the school setting.
Young women win computing awards
Twenty-two Xavier College Preparatory students were honored by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) as state winners of this year’s “Aspirations in Computing” awards.
Xavier seniors Sarah Bierman, Ashley Bruner, Eleanor Carlos, Carolina Cisneros, Claire Fleming, Katherine Hann, Edel Healy, Sarah Hills, Kate Straneva, Josie Tang, Jaden West; juniors Miranda Chavira, Emily Conn, Misaal Irfan, Bridget Kelly, Katherine Thomas, Veronique Volfson; sophomores Analy Carbine, Nicole Jasinski, Julia Kearney, Shea Nowicki; and freshwoman Janessa Gutierrez were recognized for their demonstrated interest and achievements in computing, proven leadership ability, academic performance, and plans for post secondary education.
Bruner, Cisneros, Hann and Healy all won “Aspirations in Computing” awards last year as well.
Fleming, Healy, Hann, Straneva, and West also were named 2018 National Honorable Mention recipients.
Summer still busy at Midtown Primary
It may be summer break, but things are still very busy at Midtown Primary School, 4735 N. 19th Ave.
The Kindergarten Jump Start summer program, held June 5-July 12, gives students a chance to prepare for school—letter and number basics, how to be part of a group, playground rules, and important stuff like where is the bathroom. Students will have the opportunity of getting used to going to school part time, a few days per week which makes the transition to a full day very easy on them. Executive Council Charities has been sponsoring this opportunity to Midtown’s new “kindies” for several years now.
“The Jump Start students tend to be more cooperative and more engaged; they adapt better to schedule and space changes,” explained Principal Judy White.
Executive Council Charities also sponsors Midtown Primary’s Summer STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) program for its first through fourth graders. Children that are being challenged in the summertime lose less of their school year’s education than the inactive ones.
MHP holds student orientation in August
Madison Highland Prep’s student orientation for the 2018-2019 school year will be held Thursday, Aug. 2 on the campus, located at 1431 E. Campbell Ave.
Freshman orientation will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sophomore, junior, and senior orientation will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Students will have the opportunity to review their schedules, tour the campus, meet with teachers and receive course syllabi and student IDs.
For information, call the school at 602-745-3800.
Ss. Simon & Jude receives nat’l honor
For its vision and implementation of a comprehensive 1:1 iPad program for fifth through eighth grades, SS. Simon & Jude received one of the 2018 Innovation in Catholic Education Awards for Technology Integration from Today’s Catholic Teacher.
The award was given at the annual National Catholic Educational Association convention in Cincinnati, Ohio in May, where teachers from the school were in attendance to receive this prestigious award.