Creighton Elementary School District

He’s got the beat
Madison Camelview music teacher Jesse McKinley created homemade Taiko drums for the school’s Spring Music Concert. Inspired by real Taiko drums that were well outside of the school’s music budget, McKinley came up with his own solution.

Several trips to Discount Tire (which donated the tires), many rolls of packing tape and countless hours of wrapping later, McKinley had a set of “drums” for his students. The various sizes create different sounds as the student bang away on their “new” Taiko drums.

Meadows’ NJHS is active in community
The members of Madison Meadows’ National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) chapter dedicate hours of community service and raising funds to help those in need.

This year NJHS members have worked to aid organizations such as Desert Mission Food Bank and Feed My Starving Children. Members helped in the process of sorting and packaging bags with necessities that are then distributed to families in need.

At Desert Mission Food Bank, students reportedly set records of assembling the most emergency food bags during a single shift. NJHS also was able to raise $250 in donations.

Members also have teamed up with First Christian Church, where they have attended to yard work in neighborhoods around the Valley.

NJHS members also have volunteered for numerous school activities. Students raised money for ComfyCozy’s for Chemo in memory of a Meadows student who was lost to cancer last year. Students also raised more than $1,000 in donations for a Meadows student who underwent a heart transplant, and donated funds to Arizona Search and Rescue and a Meadows beautification project.

Students honored in essay contest
Two Madison students placed in the Anti-Defamation League’s Moral Courage Essay Contest. Mackenzie Holden, an eighth-grade student at Madison No. 1, took second place for her essay about the Holocaust’s Bielski brothers. She described the courage of the brothers, who rescued more than 1,000 Jews, as follows: “It is not a measure of how much change you made because of your actions; it is a measure of how much you were willing to risk to stand up for something.”

Madison Meadows eighth-grader Hannah Jensen won third place for her essay about Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani blogger who was shot by the Taliban for her activism for education and women’s’ rights.

Student will travel to L.A. for contest
Madison Rose Lane fifth-grader Danna Rivera Carreon won first place at the Regional Braille Challenge, held at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind in Tucson in February. This is the second year Danna has taken first place in her grade level. This year she competed with fifth- through seventh-grade students.

The top-scoring 60 contestants nationally, including Danna, are invited to Los Angeles June 21-22 for a Final Round—two days of competition, camaraderie and fun. Braille Challenge contest categories include reading comprehension, Braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs.

This two-stage contest is designed to motivate blind students to emphasize their study of Braille, while rewarding their success with a fun-filled, but challenging, weekend of events.

Students pledge to ‘be a helmet head’
Madison Heights Elementary School recently partnered with Rehab Without Walls, a comprehensive neuro-rehabilitation program, and the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona to pilot a new school-based Brain Injury Prevention Program during the month of March for Brain Injury Awareness Month.

The prevention program was focused on protecting the brain by wearing a helmet while riding anything with wheels—bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc. Madison Heights offered a public service announcement during the morning televised announcements.

During recess, the children could make a pledge to “be a helmet head” and receive a special sticker. Information sheets were sent home about the day’s activities along with resources on helmet use and brain injuries.

More than 400 children watched the announcement and nearly 200 made a pledge. Based on the success of this program, it is expected that this prevention program will be adopted by schools throughout the Valley in 2014 and adapted to fit different school age groups and related brain injury topics.

Phoenix Union High School District

PUHSD offers free summer school
Free summer school is offered to current students and new students this year. The Freshman Academy is for incoming ninth graders who need to increase their math or English skills necessary to succeed in high school.

There will be course offerings in reading, introduction to high school literacy and high school math. Eleven schools will have Freshman Academy. Most campuses will have classes from June 3-26, Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Current students (entering grades 10,11 and 12 next fall) will attend May 28-June 27 at their home schools, Monday through Thursday, with two sections available: morning from 8-11:50 a.m. and afternoon from 12:30-4:20 p.m. Each section is a half-credit.

For courses available and more information, visit SummerSchool or call 602-764-1307.

Gallagher to attend Air Force Academy
Shelby Gallagher of North High has received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. There were 12,000 applicants to the Air Force Academy this year, and only 1,200, or 10 percent, make it.

The senior is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate, currently ranked 12th in a class of 576 with a 4.5 GPA. She is the Drama Club president, serving as an actress, stage manager, and set and light designer. She was co-captain of the golf team, and is a public affairs officer in JROTC. In JROTC, she was captain of the National Semi-finalist JROTC Academic Bowl Team.

Gallagher is a member of the National Honor Society, a Girls State Attendee where she was the winner of the Joe Foss Institute Leadership Award. She volunteers with her church as a counselor and teacher assistant, and works as the technical booth operator for the North auditorium.

Gallagher wants to be a biochemistry major and eventually a doctor or pharmacist.

Khan clocks first FBLA state win
Camelback High had its first-ever Future Business Leader of America (FBLA) state winner when Omar Khan placed first in Public Speaking at the AZFBLA State Leadership Conference in Tucson, April 1-3.

He was honored to perform his speech on stage for the entire conference during the closing ceremonies—more than 1,000 strong. He will represent the Spartans at the FBLA National Conference in June in Anaheim, Calif.

Camelback also had seven other students compete at the state level: Jasmine Packard, Marlon Hill, Gerardo Gonzalez, Juan Reyes Rojas, Angelica Bermudez, Brianna Puentes, and Dana Lira Rodriguez.

Students to attend cooking school
Gustavo Alegria of North High, a senior finalist in the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Culinary Competition, was awarded a full-ride $15,000 scholarship to Classic Cooking Academy in Scottsdale.

Leonel Sosa, a Top 10 Junior, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship for a culinary boot camp this summer at Monroe College in New York. Angela Pugliese, a Top 10 Junior, won a Master Class at Le Cordon Bleu.

C-CAP is the largest scholarship program for culinary arts. According to instructor Mary Sawark, scholarships are awarded by what best fits the students’ goals and objectives. Arizona students were awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships through C-CAP this year.

Cisneros travels to D.C. this summer
Yailin Cisneros of Camelback High was selected to participate in the Student Leaders program, and he has been awarded a paid summer internship with local nonprofit organizations, and will attend a Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., July 8-13.

The Student Leaders program, a program of Bank of America, connects young leaders with employment that helps to give them the necessary tools and resources they need to advance. Through the Student Leaders program, it recognizes high school juniors and seniors who step outside of the classroom to contribute service in their own communities and beyond.

Cisneros is part of the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college preparation elective for students that often are the first in their family to attend a university.

Metro Tech students invited to ‘Metro Mania’
Juniors and seniors for the 2013-14 who will be newly enrolled in a Metro Tech Career and Technical Education program are encouraged to attend Metro Mania, Saturday, May 4, from 9-11 a.m. at the Metro Tech campus at 1900 W. Thomas Road.

Students can attend Metro Tech all day, or in the morning or afternoon as a dual student. This is an opportunity to see the campus, meet the teachers and learn more about the programs. Parents also are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact the Career and Technical Education office at 602-764-1337.

Choir performs at O’Connor House
The Central High School A Capella Choir was invited to perform the National Anthem for the O’Connor House Distinguished Speakers Series Luncheon with Colin Powell on April 23 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Seventeen students, Director of Choirs Troy Meeker and Principal Chris Jones attended. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona sponsored the choir’s attendance, where they heard Powell speak and engaged in an on-stage conversation with O’Connor.

Duarte performs on TV’s ‘La Voz’
North High freshman Alan Ponce Duarte recently was selected to appear on the television program “La Voz,” the Spanish equivalent of “The Voice” on a national network. He travelled to Miami for a two-and-a-half week selection series and taping. Duarte performs with a mariachi group and is involved with North High’s choir.

Washington Elementary School District

Valley Metro, partners treat Maryland students
Maryland School students received lots of healthy treats on April 11, thanks to Valley Metro, together with Sundt Construction, Stacy and Witbeck Constuction and the Washington Neighborhood Association.

The companies donated brain food (healthy snacks and water) for Maryland’s kindergarten through eighth-grade students to enjoy during AIMS/Assessment Week, April 15-19.

Artwork exhibited at ASU West campus
Hundreds of pieces of artwork created by students from all 32 schools in the WESD dazzled guests at the District Art Show March 26 at ASU West.

Parents, students and community members had the opportunity to see for themselves how talented WESD students are, from giant modified guitars and papier mache masks to bright paintings and drawings and multimedia creations. The library was filled with students proudly standing next to their creations while their parents and guests snapped pictures.

Art teachers were on hand to meet families and present students with a special award for participating in the art show.

The exhibit was on display at ASU West in March. Many pieces were then moved to Metrocenter Mall, where they were on display throughout April.

Private and Charter Schools

Broncos receive state, national honors
Brophy College Prep Speech and Debate recently received recognition from the National Forensic League.

Seniors Jack Flynn and Samir Reddy, along with juniors Carlos Ochoa and Joe Russell earned the degree of Premier Distinction. Each year, fewer than 500 high school students achieve Premier Distinction status, placing them among the top half of one percent of League members.

In addition, Brophy Coach Beth Clarke received a 2nd Diamond Coach award from the National Forensics League. Under Clarke’s direction, students have earned more than 30,000 credit points through speech and debate presentations, competition and service. Clarke will be honored this summer at the national speech and debate tournament.

Though it didn’t walk away with the top trophy, Brophy’s showing at the State Tournament earlier this year produced six individual State Champions (of the 15 total events) including: Jack Flynn in Lincoln Douglas Debate; Joe Skoog and Ryan McCoy in Policy Debate; Jim Welty in Public Forum Debate; Carlos Ochoa in Congressional Debate; Patrick Johnson in Original Oratory; and Severiano Vallejo in Humorous Interpretation.

All Saints’ hosts naturalization event
About 50 people from 26 countries and cultures became U.S. citizens April 16 during a Naturalization Ceremony at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School.

All Saints’ students participated throughout the ceremony by singing, sharing essays, signing The Pledge of Allegiance, and presenting artwork and congratulations to the candidates. Judge David K. Duncan, federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, presided over the court proceeding, which took place on the Day School campus.

Irene Tseng, All Saints’ Head of Middle School, gave the keynote speech. “I am a naturalized citizen of the United States, and I treasure my citizenship and appreciate the opportunity to be able to participate in the American Dream,” shared Tseng. “I am honored to be able to welcome our new citizens.”

For more information, visit or call 602-274-4866.

VLHS students in ‘Day of Giving’
All students and faculty from Valley Lutheran High School participated in the Annual Day of Giving on April 12, contributing more than 510 hours of volunteer time to food banks, churches, shelters and other charitable organizations throughout the Valley.

Instead of attending classes, students and faculty spent the day helping others at seven Valley-wide nonprofits. Activities ranged from feeding the homeless at St. Vincent De Paul and packaging food boxes at St. Mary’s Food Bank, to making site improvements at Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church & School and hands-on learning about world hunger at Feed My Starving Children.

“At Valley Lutheran High School, our mission is to provide a foundation for a life of faith, learning and service,” said Principal Robert Koehne. “On our Annual Day of Giving, the entire campus community comes together to serve the greater Phoenix community. Our students learn to serve and share with those less fortunate.”

Slater receives first Robinson award
Brophy College Prep senior CJ Slater is the inaugural recipient of a scholarship in honor of Jackie Robinson from the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Slater was recognized as the MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Branch Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year at a pregame ceremony on April 16 vs. the Yankees.

Sakha wins award for microbiology project
Xavier College Preparatory junior Sarah Sakha won the United States Navy and Marine Corps Naval Science Award, First Place in Microbiology and a Grand Prize at the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) for the second year in a row.

Sarah’s winning project involved expanded research and comprehensive, formal microbiological testing of the viability and marketability of an alternative potential Emergency Food Product (EFP) that she designed. Her work has significant implications on the palatability, nutrition, cost efficiency, local production, preservation and distribution of emergency food rations in times of crisis in areas of the world such as the Middle East and Africa.

Her next step will be to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix this month.


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