Glendale Union High School District

Sunnyslope honors award winners
Sunnyslope High School honored its teacher, student, support staff employee, student group and volunteer of the year recipients at the annual Achievement Above All awards, held Nov. 4. The event is a special evening to celebrate the individuals who have contributed above and beyond for the school, its students and community.

The Achievement Above All teacher recipient was awarded to Johnny Frias, a counselor at the school. Technology assistant Greg Fain was awarded the support staff person of the year award.

The student award went to senior Brent Wallace. He’s very active on the campus with his participation in school traditions, clubs, athletics and student government. He is in the top 2 percent of his class and takes a special interest in physics and engineering. His course load includes advanced placement literature, advanced placement government and economics, advanced placement Spanish, advanced placement calculus and two advanced placement physics courses. He aspires to be an electrical engineer and has applied to eight different colleges to pursue his dream.

Gardening Club was named the student group of the year award. The Gardening Club’s mission is to increase student awareness of sustainability, to learn about companion planting, cultivating and harvesting. It also strives to increase awareness of the ability to garden at home and eat healthy foods, to assist in beautifying the school campus and to learn effective and constructive aspects of teamwork and team building.

The Parent/Volunteer Achievement Above All award was presented to Deanna Lightowler, who is president and volunteer coordinator for the Viking Pride Marching Band Booster organization. She works closely with students, parents and the band director and believes wholeheartedly that music is a vital component in the educational environment. She has two daughters who attend Sunnyslope and said she volunteers to lead by example. When Lightowler isn’t volunteering for the band boosters, she runs her own business and enjoys playing the violin, writing poetry and short stories and spending time with her family and friends.

Osborn Elementary School District

Ballet continues in Osborn district
The Ballet Program has re-opened to Osborn third graders this fall on the campus of Longview Elementary. Twenty boys and girls are attending twice a week under the auspices of Longview’s 21st Century after school programming.

In addition, a Boys Workshop open to grades 3 and up, and intermediate ballet for students meeting pre-requisites, are offered on the campus of Osborn Middle School.

Ten Osborn Ballet Program students—and former students—will perform with Ballet Arizona in “The Nutcracker” this December. Ambre Batchan, Janet Mays and Autumn Toms Kennerson will all perform as Tall Soldiers and Tall Angels. Jordan Islas and Richard Thomas will both tackle the role of Drosselmeyer’s Assistant/Prince, and Rogelio Martinez will appear as Fritz, joined by Osvaldo Escobar, Issac Felix, Daniel Martinez and Ruben Mentado Davila as Party Boys.

Six Ballet Program students have been honored with scholarship offers to continue their training at the School of Ballet Arizona this fall, and four are thrilled to be able to accept. They are Richard Thomas, Rogelio Martinez, Jordan Islas and Autumn Toms Kennerson, who are already transferred and enthusiastically at work three days each week.

The Ballet Program is funded through donations to the nonprofit Ballet Program for School Children, and by the Osborn Educational Foundation to benefit Osborn students. For more information, call 480-658-8124 or e-mail

Phoenix Union High School District

Cross country teams have strong season
Central High School finished fourth in the Boys Section III Cross Country Championships on Oct. 30, led by Aron Orar, who placed third, 10 seconds behind the winner in the 5000 meter race. The Bobcats qualified as a team for the Division II State Championship. Teammate Dawit Ajju was 15th, Christian Cleveland was 28th and Eldo Djekouloa was 29th among the 118 runners in the sectional race.

Orar was eight seconds away from being the individual champion in the Division II Boys Cross Country Championships, held Nov. 7 at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix. Orar covered the 5,000-meter course in 16:22, finishing third overall. The Bobcats placed 11th as a team among the 34 teams.

Code Club students have notable showing
Members of the Camelback and Central High School Code Clubs participated in the second-largest CODEDAY in the nation, a 24-hour competition at Gateway College, Nov. 7-8. The event was for programmers of all backgrounds and skill levels and they had to code a project within those 24 hours.

Coders showed up at noon on Saturday, pitched ideas, formed teams and coded through the night trying to finish by noon on Sunday. They then presented their ideas to judges.

The Camelback Code Club pitched their game idea called “36 Days,” a survival game where your decisions to survive affect the outcome of the game. There were 4 modes, Zombie Mode, Infection Mode, Alien Mode, Dinosaur Mode and 4 different endings to the game.

“Camelback’s Team won the Special Award for their understanding of coding different decisions in the game that lead to a different outcomes and for their awesome presentation to the judges,” said Business Education teacher Maria Ciolfi Abrams.

The 30 students teacher Stephen Andrews brought to the event from Central were the most of any school in Arizona, and they had the largest number of girls. In an industry where diversity is still a challenge, Central also had the largest number of minority students of any school participating in the United States.

Of the three awards given, the all-Central team “GT OPS” won first place with “Best Game” and the mixed Central team, “Retro Gamer” won “Best App.” The other Central High groups that made a strong showing were “Team Phoenix” with a large combat game with all hand-drawn art, and “The Social Cabinet” who built a Linux server with MySQL, PHP and WordPress site, which they made operational on the network and created their own CSS and HTML code.

Culinary students serve at Suns event
Twelve Central High Culinary 3-4 students, along with teachers Erin Sullivan and Nicole Lewandowski, traveled to the Talking Stick Resort Arena to assist the Phoenix Suns chefs in their annual Slam Dunk Charity Dinner on Nov. 12.

Each student was assigned a station where they would be responsible for a specific component to be plated. The students, along with the other Phoenix Suns chefs, got ready to do a 1,000-cover dinner service. In just under 27 minutes, all 1,000 plates were completed.

“The dedication, drive and enthusiasm that this group of kids showed was outstanding,” Sullivan said. “The partnership with the Phoenix Suns and Central has once again proved itself to be an invaluable one. We are so grateful to have these kinds of opportunities for our kids. “

Soccer team falls in championship game
The Metro Tech Boys Soccer Team beat West Phoenix High School in the Canyon Athletic Association Semi-Finals on Oct. 31, and advanced to the Canyon Athletic Association Division II State Championship game. In the CAA championship game, held at South Mountain Community College on Nov. 7, they faced off against Pan America High School.

Metro Tech, the defending state champions and ranked No. 1 with a 9-0-2 record, lost to Pan American High School in the championship match.

Metro Tech’s sports teams, for the first time, will compete in the AIA next school year.

Cultural exchange held at Metro Tech
A group of school administrators, teachers and students from Sonora, Mexico visited Metro Tech last month for its first academic, cultural and athletic exchange. They were part of the DGETI School System, which focuses in preparing students academically but also offers career and vocational training.

As part of their visit, they toured the campus and learned about Career and Technical Education programs as well as some of Metro Tech’s Promising Practices (Professional Learning Communities, Project-Based Learning, Standards-Based Grading).

Teachers from both countries collaborated in designing an interdisciplinary project that will address global issues. Students from both countries learned about each other by participating in shadowing experiences and working on a Project-Based Learning activity.

Metro Tech students were able to experience the Mexican culture as the visitors performed a Ballet Folklorico presentation. Also, as part of the exchange, the Metro Tech Soccer team (second place in State CAA) played an exhibition against the Sonoran soccer team on Nov.19, and both girls and boys basketball teams played against the visitors on Nov. 20.

Two top-10 finishers in math competition
Seven members of the North High Math Club went to Higley High School in Gilbert for a math league competition, Nov. 14. There were a total of 20 different schools and about 150 students competing individually and on teams solving math problems.

Jackson Carpenter, a junior, placed ninth among all juniors and Hanzhang Niu placed eighth among all seniors. Both students qualified to attend the State Math League competition in April 2016.

Runners capture both state championships
Both boys and girls Cross Country teams from Metro Tech defended their respective state titles Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Canyon Athletic Association State Championships, held at Tempe Kiwanis Park. Both teams won their divisions on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Mesa Community College, in order to advance to the championship races.

For the second season in a row, both the boys and girls Cross Country teams won the CAA State Championships. The girls had three runners in the top 10: Sharon Snyder, who placed sixth; Hidaly Hernandez, who was eighth, and Liliana Ortiz, who came in ninth. The girls are coached by Anthony Young.

The Knights boys had four runners finishing in the top 10: Gustavo Ortega came in fourth; Alan Calderon took seventh; Victor Valenzuela placed ninth, and Arturo Rodriguez was 10th. Kevin Garay finished in 11th place. Overall, Metro’s 33 points topped second place Jefferson Prep’s 56 points. The boys team is coached by Phil Kohm.

North girls team makes it to state
The North Girls Cross Country team advanced to the Division II State Championship race, Nov. 7 at Cave Creek Golf Course. North placed seventh in the Section III race, held Oct. 30. The top nine teams advance to the championship race, along with the top 25 runners. Reid Belanger was the Mustangs’ top runner on Oct. 30, placing 13th in the 110-runner field. Rosario Peralta was 24th.

The team, coached by Braulio Quiñonez, finished 23rd at the state championships. This is the first time in six years that North has qualified for state.

Washington Elementary School District

Students share ideas about forest health
Students from Orangewood Elementary School attended the Healthy Forests, Vibrant Economy conference in Scottsdale on Oct. 7 in order to share their knowledge of forest ecosystems with conference attendees. The conference was sponsored in part by Salt River Project (SRP).

Orangewood is a designated STEM school, so it’s fitting that students from the school would share their experiences in learning about healthy forests and the connection between our forests of northern Arizona and the water supplies used in the Phoenix area. With 49 percent of the municipal water supplies in Phoenix coming from these forested areas, it is imperative that efforts be made to prevent catastrophic wildfire that can destroy entire forest ecosystems.

Each year, students from Orangewood School have attended Camp Colley during the spring to experience learning about the environment in a hands-on way. This past summer, students conducted various experiments to help them understand how healthy forests provide clean and plentiful drinking water for communities more than a hundred miles away. They also learned how our forests are overgrown and require thinning in order to remain productive and to avoid the effects of catastrophic fire.

At the conference, Orangewood students demonstrated some of the activities that they did while at camp. Conference attendees watched intently as the students conducted each experiment. Adults even joined in with some of the games that were played to show how fire spreads in a forest that is too dense.

More than 300 people attended the two-day conference as business leaders, government partners, scientists, researchers and those with an interest in forest health discussed how forests and watersheds impact the vitality of business, tourism and future growth in Arizona.

For more information on SRP’s Forest Health Initiatives, visit

Staff members honored at event
Two Washington District staff members were recognized at the recent 84th Annual Arizona Health and Physical Education State Convention. Vicky Bonavito, PE teacher at Desert View Elementary, received the Presidential Award for her lifelong support of physical education in public schools.

Natalie McWhorter, WESD director of Curriculum, received the Administrator Appreciation Award for her exemplary leadership and concerted efforts to ensure students opportunities to become physically literate, lifetime learners.

Orangewood teacher receives state honor
Dianna Bonney, who teaches gifted students at Orangewood School, has been named Elementary School Science Teacher of the Year for 2015 by the Arizona Science Teachers Association. Bonney was honored at the organization’s annual conference in early November.

Bonney, who has taught for 25 years in the Washington Elementary School District, is certified as highly qualified in middle school general science and holds a gifted endorsement with an emphasis on bilingual students. She earned a Doctor of Education degree in 2009 from Arizona State University.

Bonney taught at Mountain View School for 17 years before arriving at Orangewood in 2007. As a gifted teacher of kindergartners through eighth graders, Bonney focuses her classes on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Recently, she successfully guided fifth and sixth grade students in researching/developing a grant to fund a 3D printer for the classroom. Students created successful grant application through

In addition, Bonney co-facilitates Orangewood’s STEM Robotics Club and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) Clay club in partnership with Science Foundation of Arizona.

Bonney believes that her primary role as a science teacher is that of facilitator, the bridge between topics that students find engaging and the information/resources they must develop to become life-long learners. Integrating as many standards and objectives as possible, she teaches students that science is an ever-changing body of information. She encourages students to question, to ask why, to seek sources, to collaborate and problem-solve; all essential skills.

Private and Charter Schools

MDS-Mountainside has much to celebrate
Marching in their 15th APS Light Parade on Saturday, Dec. 5, the award-winning drum and brass students from Montessori Day Schools-Mountainside will set the pace for their Tommie the Train—a favorite with families along the parade route. Having won awards each year, their director Sam Anderson hopes their entry will make the Rose Bowl in another two years.

The drum and brass students also will open the school’s “Celebrate the Universe” arts and science performance on Friday, Dec. 18, which follows previous “Child as Teacher” and “International Thanksgiving” events.

While waiting for formal publication of school rankings after Nov. 30, the school’s founding director, Peg Huffman, was told ADE has designated MDS a “High Performance Rewards School.”

Lower school students have a day of service
All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, 6300 North Central Ave., brought together the entire lower school, pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, on Oct. 22 to help make a difference in the Phoenix community by volunteering with various community partners across the Valley.

The Lower School Day of Service, in its second year, provided an opportunity for students, teachers, parents, and the entire community to be competent, confident, lifelong learners, who are responsible, caring, contributing citizens to the communities and diverse world in which they live.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students made Halloween centerpieces and lanterns for children at the St. Vincent de Paul Dream Center. First and fourth graders packaged food for St. Mary’s Food Bank, to be distributed to families in need.

The ASED second grade built and painted crosses and Christmas ornaments used for the ceremonies when Habitat for Humanity families receive their homes. Third graders worked on plating and labeling flowers and plants for Phoenix Renews/Phoenix Food Day.

PCDS celebrates new athletic complex
Phoenix Country Day School celebrated its 48th Annual Blue & Gold homecoming celebration on Oct. 23 in its newly expanded athletic complex, including the Najafi Gymnasium and Garvin Family Walk of Champions. Earlier in the week at a special donor event, the Najafi Gymnasium and Garvin Family Walk of Champions were opened as the second of four components of the school’s THRIVE capital campaign.

The Najafi Gymnasium adds a much-needed second gym for the school, in order to better balance the PE and after-school sports programs in the pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade school. The gym is over 20,000 square feet, seats 850 spectators, features separate home and away locker rooms (including flat screen televisions in the home locker rooms to review game film), and is capped by a 20-foot by 30-foot projection wall to be used for showing school videos, in-game highlights, and team announcements.

The Garvin Family Walk of Champions serves as the entry to the Upper School, and a promenade between the two PCDS gyms. It features an outdoor performance stage to host events, musical performances, and Alumni Hall of Fame inductions, as well as four trophy cases showcasing the school’s significant academic and extra-curricular achievements.

Sports teams finish seasons strong at MHP
The Madison Highland Prep girls volleyball team posted a 7-1 record in the North Central Volleyball Division to claim the regular season title.

The varsity volleyball team, led by coach Nallely Morales, advanced to the quarterfinal game of the Section 1 tournament on Oct. 23-24. The team played in the first round of the Division I State Volleyball Championships on Oct. 27. The team finished the season ranked No. 14 in Division I with an overall record of 8-6.

The Madison Highland Prep boys soccer team finished with a school best record of 10-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division I boys state soccer championships.

The varsity boys soccer team, led by head coach Steven Mack and assistant coach Alexander Mutsaers, ranked as high as No. 4 in Division I, knocking off defending state champion and No. 1 ranked ASU Poly by a score of 2-1.

Junior Ethan Houser was the Division I Goalkeeper Saves Leader, with 138 saves. Junior Christian Lopez was the Division I Individual Assists Leader, with 17 assists. Freshman Christian Casarrubia was third in Division I Individual Goals. The team finished the season ranked No. 7 in Division I.

Madison Highland Prep is a college prep charter high school that opened on the campus of Madison Park Middle School, 1431 E. Campbell Ave., during the 2014-15 school year. For more information, call 602-745-3800 or visit

Badminton, golf teams capture state titles, again
Xavier College Preparatory’s badminton team captured its third consecutive state championship title by defeating Mesa Red Mountain in the final round of the state tournament on Oct. 30. The victory capped an undefeated Xavier season and was the Gators’ sixth state championship title since 2004.

Xavier’s golf team also captured its fifth consecutive state title Nov. 3, finishing the tournament four-over-par and winning the Division 1 state championship by 45 strokes. The victory was the 33rd state title in Xavier’s history.

Senior Alisa Snyder, who is planning to play golf for the University of Michigan next fall, won the individual state title. Junior Emily Mahar placed third, and senior Mikayla Fitzpatrick finished eighth.

Lemonade proceeds benefit cancer nonprofit
Third- and fourth-grade students at Christ Church School found a fun and interactive way to raise awareness and research funds for Childhood Cancer. In support of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, held in September, these students hosted a lemonade stand during the school’s Ice Cream Social and Open House. The students made posters, ran a publicity campaign, stirred up several batches of delicious lemonade, and passed out stickers to donors.

CCS Teacher Emma Porter reported that the endeavor was a valuable experience for students. “They learned that cancer affects everyone, even children. We were able to have many discussions about donations and funding. Running the lemonade stand was a lesson in cooperation and the importance of working as a team, and also helped develop their management skills.”

The successful lemonade stand raised almost $400 for the Ronan Thompson Foundation. These funds will be used to research new ways to treat and ultimately find a cure for this disease. For more information about Christ Church School, visit

Worrall takes first in 100-yard freestyle
Xavier senior Allie Worrall captured the Division 1 state swimming championship title in the 100-yard freestyle at the Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa on Nov. 7.

The North Central resident also placed second in the 50-yard freestyle and, along with senior Elise Roediger, junior Jocelyn Jones, and sophomore Kaitlyn McCoy, second in the 200-yard medley relay. Xavier’s team placed fourth overall.

All Saints’ to hold school Open House
Prospective families are invited to participate in campus tours of All Saints’ Episcopal Day School led by Parent Ambassadors and meet with admission officers and faculty during an Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 9, beginning at 9 a.m. Open Houses also provide a chance to view classrooms and attend a Q&A session with a Division Head.

Reservations are suggested, but not required. RSVP online at Admission-Process.

Another tour will take place on Jan. 13, 2016. Application materials for the 2016-17 school year are now available at The school is located at 6300 N. Central Ave. Call 602-274-4878 for more information.


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