Madison Elementary School District

Lee earns first place in essay contest
Jasmine Lee, an eighth-grade student at Madison No. 1 Middle School, earned first place honors in the seventh-eighth-grade category for her Echoes and Reflections Moral Courage Essay submission. The annual essay contest is sponsored by the Arizona Region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Using the Holocaust as a springboard, students were ask to write an essay about a particular individual or group they felt had displayed a great act of moral courage. Jasmine wrote a powerfully touching and reflective essay titled “English Courage” about Francis Foley. She was honored at an award ceremony in late May.

Osborn Elementary School District

Science Field Trip at botanical garden
Longview School first graders studied at the Desert Botanical Garden this past school year through the generosity of a volunteer. The tour “Biomimicry” was a great, child-centered, child-accessible tour with several interactive learning activities that helped clarify key concepts. One example: students learned how design affects nature, by studying how saguaro and agave plants gather and store water.

OMS Wake-Up Club serves the Community
Osborn Middle School students in Wake-up Club contributed nearly 400 hours of service to their community this year. They worked with the Phoenix Police Department; participated three times in the Hearts and Hands event with the St. Vincent De Paul Society; initiated and championed the Pasta for Pennies fundraiser with The Olive Garden; and painted over graffiti and cleaned up the Grandview neighborhood.

Club members also joined Valley of the Sun United Way Jobs for Arizona Graduates for service projects.

Phoenix Union High School District

C-Back gets big sports equipment donation
Camelback High School in May was awarded with $15,000 in sports equipment and grants in the Let’s Play Phoenix Challenge, which kicked off in early April and was sponsored by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and Basha’s.

Led by Let’s Play, the competition was in partnership with Good Sports, a national nonprofit partner that provides athletic gear, footwear and sports equipment to child-serving community organizations.

Phoenix-area residents and people nationwide were asked to log on to and take the Let’s Play Pledge to spend more time each week participating in active play, and “donate” their pledge to a participating Phoenix school of their choice. Fourteen Phoenix schools participated in the Challenge, and Camelback High School won the $15,000 grand prize because it received the greatest number of pledges as a percentage of the school’s population.

The new equipment was unveiled in a school assembly on May 11.

Two local students named Gates Millennium Scholars
Four Phoenix Union High School District students from four different schools were named Gates Millennium Scholars, earning the prestigious scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Among the 2015 PUHSD Gates Millennium Scholars were Isis Comma of Camelback High and Fernando Resendez of Metro Tech.

Comma not only graduated in just three years but has the distinction of being the first graduate of the Camelback Montessori Preparatory High School program. Comma has a desire to travel, but much of that travel was by bus, one hour each way from Laveen when she started at Camelback. Now she is on her way to the University of Hawaii to study business tourism management. She plans to send her mother to Hawaii for her dream 50th birthday.

Fernando Resendez was first in his class of 358 students, with a 4.66 grade point average. He took engineering classes at Metro Tech and wants to become a doctor. He was the vice-president of the school’s weightlifting club, a member of the National Honors Society, the Math club and the Engineering club. He will attend Arizona State University as a pre-med major.

Fifty-seven Gates Scholars were named in Arizona this year, but only six from Phoenix, including Phoenix Union’s four. The scholarships, which can be applied toward undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, are made possible by a $1.6 billion grant established by the Gates in 1999.

Washington Elementary School District

Registration available throughout summer
Student registration for the 2015-16 school year is underway and will continue through the summer. Students who need to be registered include those new to the district; students who move from one WESD school’s boundaries to another WESD school’s boundaries; and kindergarten students. Children must be 5 years old before Sept. 1, 2015, to be registered for kindergarten. Children must turn 6 years old before Sept. 1, 2015, to be registered for first grade.

Parents and guardians may register their child at the Welcome and Registration Center, 3200 West Cholla St., immediately west of Cholla Middle School. The center is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m.-5 p.m. On Wednesdays, the center is closed from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. For more information, call 602-896-6950.

Private and Charter Schools

Xavier students making their mark
Xavier College Preparatory senior Kaitlin Coltin was honored by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) as its 4A-5A Female Scholar-Activity Student of the Year at the AIA Champions Awards Luncheon May 18.

Coltin, from North Central Phoenix, was a National Merit Scholar, a student council officer, a speech and debate champion, a “Pierian Spring” art editor, a member of four national honor societies, and the recipient of many other accolades and scholarships. She maintained a 4.0 unweighted (and 4.48 weighted) grade point average throughout her high school years, and will attend Santa Clara University on an academic scholarship in the fall.

Other recent accolades captured by Xavier students include:
• Xavier College Preparatory senior Amanda Preach was named to the American Family Insurance All-USA Arizona High School Softball Team and to the All-Division I First Team.
• Fifteen Xavier College Preparatory students captured awards in this year’s National Congressional Art Competition, making Xavier the top winner in Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. Twenty-two Xavier students were selected to exhibit their artwork in the competition.
• Twenty-five members of Xavier’s National Honor Society have each dedicated more than 50 hours of service to the community while maintaining a minimum grade point average of 3.6 and leading two service initiatives. They recently were honored at a National Honor Society Leadership Academy awards luncheon.
• Seven Xavier College Preparatory students—five seniors and two juniors—were honored by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) as state winners of this year’s Aspirations in Computing Awards. Two of them also were recognized as national runners-up. Additionally, three seniors and a junior were named state runners-up.
• Nine Xavier College Preparatory students were recognized by the Catholic Community Foundation for their participation in this year’s Crozier Gala Honor Choir.

Spanish exam no match for All Saints’ students
The 2014-15 school year marked the 25th year that All Saints’ Episcopal Day School participated in the National Spanish Exam. The exam is a competition created to recognize achievement in the study of the Spanish language, and it is available to students in grades 6-12. Of the 25 Arizona schools to participate, All Saints’ was the only middle school.

Notably, 26 of the 29 students who were awarded first, second or third place in Arizona were All Saints’ students. Places are determined by percentiles, so there are multiple place winners.

Of the 20 students who were awarded first place in Arizona, 19 were from All Saints’. In addition, all four second-place winners were from All Saints’, and three of the five third-place winners also were Tigers.

Two All Saints’ students had a perfect score on the exam: Eric Lin and John Paul Rabusa. “Many of the questions were difficult, and I had some trouble,” Lin said. “However, after all the practice tests I took, I had a sound understanding on how to approach the questions.”

Rabusa noted that he was happy to make his Spanish teacher at All Saints’, Gwyne Shore, proud and that he plans to continue to study Spanish. “I hope to use it in various Spanish-speaking countries as well,” he added.

Both boys plan to attend Brophy College Prep.

Students learn during STEM summer program
Midtown Primary School’s campus is buzzing this summer. Thanks to Executive Council Charities, Midtown was granted an award to deliver a Kindergarten Readiness and Science, Technology Engineering Art & Math (STEM) program.

The kindergarteners are working intensely in small groups building number sense, letter sounds, and how to be a successful group member. The first through fourth graders are rotating among the computers, art centers, and individualized academic areas.

Overcoming summer’s tendency to lose several months of last year’s learning is part of Midtown’s goal. “We want the kids to create, think, and be challenged,” says Principal Judy White. “Our kids should not be home vegging out in front of the TV!”

Caldwell receives a Silver Apple Award
St. Francis Xavier School’s fifth grade teacher, Betty Caldwell, ended her school year on a high note when 3TV’s Javier Soto walked into her classroom, with a television crew, and presented her with the Silver Apple Award in May.

Each year eight teachers are honored for their excellence in education with this award and are given $500 for use in their classroom. The 3TV Silver Apple award program began in 1991. This year more than 1,000 nominations were received.

Noah Nuez, a St. Francis Xavier sixth-grade student, nominated Caldwell because “she definitely sets the bar for me to put in 110 percent in class.” In his nomination letter he continues to say that he “admire(s) her passion as an educator because teaching isn’t a job for everyone.” Noah had her as his teacher in fifth grade.

Caldwell has taught at St. Francis Xavier for more than 25 years.

“We are so lucky to have Mrs. Caldwell at St. Francis Xavier,” said Kim Cavnar, St. Francis Xavier principal. “The love of what she does and the love for her students is apparent every day.”

PC graduates head to colleges far, wide
Drexel University, University of Arizona, Biola University, Arizona Christian University, Ohio State, Arizona State University, Saint Mary’s University, Northern Arizona University, Concordia University, Penn State, and Hofstra University. These are just a few of the many colleges and universities to which the 2015 graduates from Phoenix Christian Preparatory earned admission and received scholarships.

This group of seniors earned more than $1 million in scholarships and they have made plans to study engineering, math, biology, veterinarian science, law, education and nursing. Several of PC’s scholar athletes will play college baseball, basketball, and football.

The average Phoenix Christian 2015 graduate will begin college with 9-12 college credits (a full semester of college), while some students have earned more than 24 college credits.

“Having volunteered in the Phoenix community for more than 4,400 hours, these seniors have and will no doubt continue to make an extraordinary impact on society,” said Joe Bradley, president and CEO of Phoenix Christian Prep.

Reagan visits local school for graduation
AmeriSchools Academy welcomed special guest Michele Reagan, Arizona Secretary of State, during the school’s graduation ceremony on May 22.

Reagan addressed the 13 graduating eighth graders and their families, friends and school officials about leadership and the importance of being active in your community—including getting out and voting in local elections. She told the students that it was their job now to encourage their parents to get out and vote.

Reagan also commended the two students speakers, Joseph Julian and Larissa Ortiz, on their speeches. Both students are members of the National Junior Honor Society, and Joseph served as president this last school term.

Her visit was a point of honor for the students and for AmeriSchools Academy, which is a charter school serving students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

The school, located at 1333 W. Camelback Road, has two open houses for prospective and current families scheduled this month: a BBQ Open House at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 18; and an Ice Cream Social at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 30. For more information, call 602-532-0100 visit

Bourgade receives Student Council Award
Bourgade Catholic High School’s Student Council has been awarded a 2015 National Gold Council of Excellence Award by the National Association of Student Councils (NASC). This is the third year in a row that Bourgade has earned this recognition.

“Receiving an NASC National Gold Council of Excellence Award reflects the highest dedication on the part of the school to providing a strong, well-rounded student council program,” said Ann Postlewaite, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) student programs director. “NASC applauds the work of the National Gold Councils of Excellence and challenges them to continue their leadership and service to their schools and communities.”

Principal Kathryn Rother commented, “At Bourgade Catholic, we learn, lead and serve. So, we take great pride in this third consecutive National Gold Council of Excellence Award. We are very proud that our young men and women … choose to serve in the capacity of student government. This recognition is a testimony to their love for and dedication to those they serve.”