Creighton Elementary School District

Kindergarteners take fourth in chess
Biltmore Preparatory Academy’s Kindergarten Chess Team captured a fourth place finish in the Governor’s Cup State Chess Championship May 4-5.

The team competed in a grueling two-day, nine-round tournament against 43 other kindergarten teams from around the state. Team members included Logan Kane, Zachary Lipovitch, Trevor Gordon and Noah Selchow.

Glendale Union High School District

Student compete in fire science muster
Students from Sunnyslope High School’s fire science program went head-to-head with students from seven other schools during the 10th annual High School Fire Science Muster Competition on April 27 at Westgate City Center.

The students participated in a competition that challenged the skills they have learned in their fire science programs, including a timed turnout, in which students don their firefighting gear as quickly as possible, pull 100 feet of fire hose and connect it to a fire hydrant, and drag a “Rescue Randy” mannequin to the finish line.

Crittendon receives SVA scholarship
Sunnyslope High School recent graduate Brianna Crittendon was awarded the $1,000 Sunnyslope Village Alliance/Credit Union West Scholarship. She has a 4.0 GPA and ranks in the top 12 percent of her class.

Crittendon has taken classes in drafting, Design 1-2 and architectural drafting in preparation to a degree in architectural design. She wants to own her own architecture firm.

Crittendon has been on the honor roll all four years and received an Outstanding Chemistry Student award in her junior year. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the Close Up Club and vice president of the Art Club.

Madison Elementary School District

Local girl’s art appears in book
Madison Simis student Corin Friese did something most children her age rarely get to do: meet the mayor of the sixth largest city in the United States.

Corin’s artwork was selected to appear in a new children’s book, “Jeremy Jackrabbit Recycles the Can,” by Sasha and Rodney Glassman. More than 900 illustrations were submitted by Phoenix school children, with just a handful chosen for the book.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and his wife, Nicole, were present at the book launch on April 27 at the Burton Barr Central Library. More than 45,000 copies of the book will be distributed free of charge to every kindergarten student in Maricopa County. Mayor Stanton read from the book, after which the young artists were available to sign the pages in the book that they illustrated.

Library group donates books
All third graders at Madison Rose Lane recently received their own copy of “The Legend of Honey Hollow” through the Friends of the Phoenix Public Library program. The program has already put a free book in the hands of every first, second, and third grader at the school.

“The Legend of Honey Hollow” is a story about endangered species and conservation. In addition to the book, students also received a Highlights Magazine and book bag.

Zinter takes third in writing contest
Madison Meadows eighth grader Marina Zinter won Third Place in the CenturyLink Arizona StoryMakers Writing Contest. Her non-fiction piece, Adventures in Disneyland, competed against more than 400 other entries.

MTA students honored in PBS writing contest
Two students from Madison Traditional Academy won awards last month in the PBS KIDS GO! Writing Contest, presented by Eight, Arizona PBS and the City of Phoenix Latino Institute.

MTA second graders Ellis Williams and Sophia Manthey both took home awards at a recognition ceremony held April 27 at Downtown Civic Space Park. Ellis captured second place for his tall tale, “Ellis the Cowboy,” while Sophia brought in third place for “The Stories of Anne the Gardenweaver.”

Both children are students in Grace Klees’ second-grade class. Each won a $50 gift certificate from Bookman’s and a bag of new books. Each winner’s story is posted on the contest website: contest_winners_2013.html.

Phoenix Union High School District

Malacara receives Presidential award
Briana Malacara of North High has been honored for her exemplary service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities, was presented by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.

Students head to competition in Kansas
Metro Tech students did well at the 2013 SkillsUSA State Championships this spring, winning several events, and qualifying for the National Championships in Kansas City, June 25-29.

First place winners were Joselyn Iniguez, commercial baking; Nicholas Renteria and Du Vu, humanoid robot interactions; Cesar Bernal, related technical math; and Fahad Shakir (home school Alhambra), technical drafting.

Seven engineering students also won first place in the opening and closing ceremony event, including Annette Marruffo, Jessica Camacho, Erik Cabada, Ivon Melendez, Diana Martinez, Karina Vargas and Cesar Covarrubias.

Students recognized for creative poetry
The Phoenix Union High School District’s annual Poetry Central was held at Camelback High School on May 3. The event includes poetry contest winners from each campus converging for workshops with published poets and recognition of district winners.

The overall winners included Jennifer Benito from North and Rosie Palacios from Camelback.

Winners also were selected by grade and included senior Brenda Orozco from Metro. Receiving a Bilingual poetry award was Lidia Garcia of Camelback.

One hundred students attended the all-day event, working with guest poets and ASU professors Myrlin Hepworth and Fernando Perez. Site winners read their poems and the district winners were announced at the end of the event.

PSA video earns club $3,000 prize
Camelback High’s journalism and TV Club members won second place honors for their Public Service Announcement video created for the Phoenix Police Department’s Stop Underage Drinking PSA contest.

The school will receive a $3,000 prize, which will be used for the school’s television studio. South Mountain placed first.

Camelback’s video was produced by four students in the journalism class: seniors Julian Bourne, Jonathan Zamora, Jordan Taylor and Johnny Lopez.

Green wins Div. 1 High Jump title
Shekinah Green, a ninth grader from Central High, won the Girls Division I High Jump, clearing 5 feet, 4 inches at the State Track and Field Championships, held May 11 at Mesa Community College.

Her 10 points were the only ones collected by the Bobcats at the meet.

Chess team wins second place
The Metro Knights Paladin Chess Team finished second in the State Charter Athletic Association (CAA) Championships, April 29. The players competing were Jose Fernandez, Jose Jimenez, Edgar Mendoza, and Victor Osorio. The Knights pushed defending champion Tesseract School to the limit, losing in the championship round by one point.

Two students take top awards at contest
North High students Erik Nogueda Castillo and Shiara Carbajal placed first in the Phoenix College World Language Competition, April 13.

The students, from the Spanish for Spanish Speakers class, used their original work to participate in the competition. Amairany Vaca placed second and Erika Nogueda Castillo placed third in the same category. Nictee Arriaga is the students’ Spanish teacher.

Washington Elementary School District

Students collect recyclable bags
The Sunnyslope National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) participated in a plastic bag recycling contest sponsored by Bashas’ and the city of Phoenix. The contest was to raise awareness about recycling plastic bags.

The 14 members of NJHS organized the collection of recycled plastic bags from all school classrooms over two weeks. The bags were then turned in at the local Bashas’ store on 7th Street and Missouri Avenue, where they were weighed. Sunnyslope collected approximately 140 pounds of plastic bags.

Sunnyslope came in fourth out of eight participating schools. Together, all eight schools collected 526,000 plastic bags.

In appreciation of Sunnyslope’s participation, the school was awarded a $100 gift card to Bashas’.

Students help ‘Stamp Out Hunger’
The Mountain View School Community Action Team (CAT) participated in the 2013 Stamp out Hunger Food Drive put on by the United States Postal Service. This nationwide food drive is in its 21st year, and it all started at the Sunnyslope Station on 7th Street and Mountain View Road many years ago.

After working four-plus hours on a hot Saturday afternoon, CAT and other volunteers at the Sunnyslope Station unloaded, collected and sorted 33,723 donated food items.

Project benefits Maryland School
Maryland School received a major revitalization during the 2012-13 school year thanks to the Leadership Scholar Program (LSP) of Arizona State University. The LSP cadre donated supplies, and a team of 25 freshmen gave their time to complete several large-scale projects that benefited the students, staff and the community.

The first major project was repainting the United States map in the entrance. The LSP cadre then came back to campus and updated the four-square and hopscotch grids on the primary and intermediate playgrounds.

Next, the group painted the backboards and brought in new nets for the basketball courts.

During their final visit, the cadre put up several motivational bulletin boards that were decorated to wish students luck on their AIMS tests.

Private and Charter Schools

Fakler to attend University of Virginia
Xavier College Preparatory senior Sarah Fakler recently signed her letter of intent to attend the University of Virginia on a full athletic scholarship. Fakler was a three-time Arizona Gatorade High School Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year and three-time Arizona Republic High School Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Fakler has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and also has volunteered on behalf of local environmental sustainability initiatives and as part of a project to design, build and supply solar ovens to a disadvantaged community in Ghana.

Ekmark named a top basketball player
Courtney Ekmark of St. Mary’s High School recently was named the Gatorade Arizona Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She joins Sidnee Majette (1992-93), Davellyn Whyte (2008-09), and Shilpa Tummala (2011-12) as previous Lady Knights to win Gatorade’s State Girls Basketball Player of the Year awards.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Ekmark as Arizona’s best high school girls basketball player.

The 6-foot junior guard led the Knights to a 29-1 record, the team’s third consecutive Division 1 state championship, and a No. 2 ranking in the USA Today Super 25 this past season. Ekmark averaged 19.6 points, five rebounds and four steals per game.

Ekmark has maintained a 4.32 GPA in the classroom. A devoted member of her church community, she has participated in literacy outreach initiatives and volunteered to help the local homeless population.

Ekmark will begin her senior year at St. Mary’s this fall.

Montessori marks endings, beginnings
Montessori Day Schools-Mountainside Campus held its Middle School graduation on May 23, with students having completed their two-week internships at businesses in the community and their camping trip in the New Mexico mountains.

This followed the school’s Cinco de Mayo community celebration—a first for the campus, with food sampling, music and dancing. This year students also held a car wash to benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and went on an all-school trip to the Orpheum Theatre to watch a performance featuring MDS dancer G. Craven.

Post-graduation, staff members are preparing for “Summer Fun” sessions beginning June 3, while hoping for another “A” from the Department of Education.

Student wins award for newspaper stories
Brophy College Preparatory student Julian De Ocampo, who graduated last month, won the Journalism Education Association/Arizona Interscholastic Press Association’s “Arizona Journalist of the Year” award.

The selection committee required an extensive portfolio submission along with faculty recommendations. De Ocampo’s adviser at Brophy was Mica Mulloy. The awards ceremony was hosted by the Journalism Education Association in San Francisco in April.

Read some of De Ocampo’s Roundup articles at


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