Glendale Union High School District

WHS club sorts tons of food
Washington High School’s Interact Club sorted an amazing 14,621 pounds of food to win the St Mary’s Challenge as part of the food bank’s Project Hunger. Arizona high schools were invited to compete in the challenge to see how much food could be sorted in a two-hour session.

“St Mary’s came up with this challenge because we wanted the students to understand how everything begins,” explains Lupe Reyes, volunteer recruitment specialist for St. Mary’s. “By having the students sort the food, they were able to understand the work that is put into sorting, and the core to our food boxing procedure.”
The conveyor belt never stopped as the 30 Interactors sorted everything from candy to condiments.

“Our club frequently works at St Mary’s, but we have never been so fast and focused as we were that night,” said WHS senior Esther Ude.

St. Mary’s will host a pizza party on WHS campus for the competitors. WHS Interact is sponsored by Sun City Rotary, and with over 300 members, is one of the largest and most active Interact Clubs in the world.

District makes College Board Honor Roll
Glendale Union High School District is one of 547 school districts in the United States and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 5th Annual AP District Honor Roll for increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.
Reaching these goals indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for the opportunity of AP. Since 2012, GUHSD has increased the number of students participating in AP while improving the number of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.

This is the second time Glendale Union High School District has made the Honor Roll.

Madison Elementary School District

Children’s author visits middle school
Madison No. 1 students had the privilege on Dec. 4 to visit with Jack Gantos, an award-winning children’s author, during an all-school assembly.

Gantos has written books for readers of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include the five-book “Joey Pigza” series, “Dead End in Norvelt,” and “Rotten Ralph.” Children had the option to pre-order one of his many books for the author to sign it during his visit.

The visit to Madison No. 1 was arranged by Madison District Librarian Deborah Reker and Madison No. 1 Librarian Jenny Pieri.

Osborn Elementary School District

Book club includes family participation
Once a month Solano Elementary kindergarten teachers Kathleen Colburn, Sammy Miller, and Cathy Bowman host a lunchtime reading hour for students and families.

By focusing their lesson on a key AZ College and Career Readiness Reading Standard, they provide purposeful instruction to students while teaching parents how to support their children’s progress in the Standards.

Changing Hands Bookstore donates books so families who attend Book Club can choose a book to take home for their personal libraries.

Second graders build bridges
Encanto School second graders in Tisha Marple’s room read the book “Building a Bridge” and then used their knowledge to construct their own bridges. Each student was given the same materials and challenged to make their bridge as strong as possible … without glue.

This activity was used as a science extension to the current English Language Arts unit. After experimenting and observing, the class tested each bridge to see which one could hold the most weight. Marple shared, “The kids were literally still beaming with pride as we walked out of our classroom to head home that day.”

Phoenix Union High School District

Poetry Club takes third place at slam
North High School’s Poetry Club, “Generation Ink,” won the 3rd Annual All City Poetry Slam, held Nov. 15 at the Mesa Arts Center. The two-day competition and cultural event was the culmination of a 10-week program facilitated by Phonetic Spit at North, South Mountain, and Camelback High Schools. Phonetic Spit is a youth arts organization that sends Teaching Artists to conduct weekly workshops at schools across the Valley.

Eight teams participated in workshops as part of the Unity Day programming on Nov.14 before competing in the preliminary rounds of the Slam. South Mountain and North advanced to the championship round.

The North team, made up of the school’s Generation Ink Poetry Club members, included: Ashley Freie; Jennifer Vega; Amondo Mumford; Victor Vazquez; Cena Mohammed; Antoinette Ramsey, and Carmen Ruby Morales. English teachers Nick Valente and Joyce Donaldson are the club sponsors.

Music festival held on Camelback campus
The Greater Phoenix Music Festival is Jan. 9-10, with a culminating concert at Camelback High School at 5 p.m. on Jan. 10. There will be a high school percussion ensemble, a junior high/high school string orchestra, a junior high honors band and a high school honors band.

Musicians from all the Phoenix Union schools, and junior high students from 14 schools, representing seven districts—including Madison and Osborn—were selected based on auditions. The selected students will come together for the first time Jan. 9 and rehearse with guest clinicians/conductors for two days.

Academic teams wins ‘Most Improved Team’
Camelback High’s Academic Decathlon team won the Most Improved Team trophy at the Phoenix Union Academic Decathlon, Nov. 14-15, increasing its point total by 8,883 points over the previous year.
Miguel Peinado Guerrero won a silver in Scholastic Essay, and Chase Gelbaugh won bronze in Scholastic Language and Literature.

Photo club members visit donors in Surprise
Three Central High Traditional Photography students traveled with their teacher, Judy Mariahazy, to Sun City Grand in Surprise on Nov. 17 to do a presentation for the Grand Photo Club members. This club donated film cameras and other traditional photo equipment and supplies last year to the Central High program.

The invitation was the result of the members wanting to meet some of the students who were able to use this equipment and see the students’ photographic work. They took their Cambridge Exam portfolios, which were just recently returned to them, and discussed the work, their personal goals and what got them interested in photography.

Metro Tech students serve food to the poor
The Metro Tech Culinary program teamed up with WE 3 and the city of Phoenix to serve the less fortunate and homeless at the Eastlake Park Community Center on Nov. 22.

The students served about 200 including the volunteers, the Arizona’s Buffalo Soldiers. According to instructor Dean Wilberscheid, this is the first event of a partnership that is forming with WE 3 in the community.

DECA Club serves hot cocoa to runners
The Camelback DECA Club volunteered at the Phoenix Hot Chocolate Run on Dec. 7, serving over 14,000 runners starting at 4:30 a.m.

Working with three other high schools in the district, club members set up water/Gatorade stations, handed out supplies, cleaned up and cheered for each runner. Proceeds for this event supported Ronald McDonald House. Next up for the club is the PF Chang Marathon in January and the Survivor Mud Run in March.

Washington Elementary School District

Operation Lace Up donates shoes to kids
Just in time for the holidays, WESD hosted Operation Lace Up, a program that will provide shoes to students in 15 urban school districts in Phoenix, including WESD.

Working in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Education McKinney Vento Homeless education program, Dorothy Watkins, WESD administrator of Social Services, worked with volunteers and WESD warehouse staffers to receive delivery, organize, package and ship the shoes to the other districts—more than 6,000 pairs.

The donation and distribution of the shoes was provided by FOCUS North America, a national, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides sustainable services to the homeless and working poor of America. One of FOCUS’ key activities is supplying school-aged children with the resources they need to stay in school and succeed in their educational environment.

Employees of Month honored in December
The Washington Elementary School District honored several staff members as the Employees of the Month for December. Among them were: Linda Armbruster, librarian at Mountain View School; Josie VanVleet, Nutrition Services manager at Desert View Elementary School; and Dan Warren, Facilities manager, Maryland School.

The WESD Employee of the Month recognition is bestowed upon employees who have exemplified the vision, mission and values of WESD. These employees serve as an inspiration to others by maintaining high customer service standards and a commitment to student achievement. Honorees enjoyed breakfast with the superintendent and received a plaque commemorating their special recognition.

In related news, two North Central teachers recently earned National Board Certification (NBC), an advanced teaching credential that is the highest level of distinction a classroom teacher can achieve. They are: Lyndsay Ludden, program coach at Sunnyslope School; and Karen Riffenburg, first grade teacher at Maryland School.

Private and Charter Schools

SFX students visit Catalina
Seventh-grade students from St. Francis Xavier Elementary School spent two nights and three days at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) off of the coast of California in November.

After long bus and short ferry rides they landed on the beach of Toyon Bay on Catalina Island. They had just enough time for lunch before their first adventure—snorkeling in Toyon Bay. That night students dissected a squid while learning about the squid’s natural history and anatomy.

On the second day students learned about fish, sharks and algae. CIMI has an area where students can touch, many for the first time, small sharks and rays. In the algae lab, students learned about the importance of algae in the production of oxygen and in use of everyday products.

On the final morning students learned basic oceanography, the different types and importance of plankton and investigated marine invertebrates. Then it was back to their rooms to pack for the long trip back home.

Building Hope team rebuilds in Yarnell
The Building Hope Ministry from St. Francis Xavier Jesuit Faith Community led 30 St. Francis Xavier junior high students and an additional 25 parents, uncles and grandfathers to the Shrine of St. Joseph in Yarnell, Ariz., for a service weekend Nov. 1-2.

The team worked on two houses at the Retreat Center that were not destroyed by the Yarnell fire in the summer of 2013. The kids worked hard alongside the adults replacing roofs, painting and replacing sidewall, as well as doing a lot of weed-whacking and brush clearing. A community of faith enjoyed camping out together and meals from the camp kitchen.

The Building Hope volunteers were able to raise funds for the project supplies and for a donation to the Shrine.
Building Hope, which is now in its eighth year, is a ministry that puts faith in action in the form of service with trips such as Yarnell and previous service in Rocky Point, Mexico, and Tuba City, Ariz.

St. Francis Xavier School is a Jesuit Elementary School, preschool-eighth grade, located at 4715 N. Central Ave. For more information, call 602-266-5364 or visit

All Saints’ hosts an open house Jan. 14
All Saints’ Episcopal Day School (ASEDS), 6300 N. Central Ave., hosts final open house as part of annual series. This Open House is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14 in Manning Hall on the Day School Campus.

Each event features campus tours lead by Parent Ambassadors with an opportunity to meet with admission officers, and faculty. Open Houses also provide an opportunity to view classrooms and attend a Q&A session with a Division Head. Reservations are suggested, but not required. RSVP online at Admission-Process.

If your schedule does not permit you to attend an Open House, please call to schedule an individual tour. Application materials for the 2015-16 school year are now available at

CCS students ‘trot’ for a cause
As part of Christ Church School’s focus on healthy, active lifestyles, CCS students and their mascot, Cubbie, spent the day before Thanksgiving break trotting like turkeys.

Wearing bright orange CCS Turkey Trot T-shirts, participants were seen trotting all over campus. In fact, CCS Elementary students trotted a whole mile. After being awarded participation medals, students enjoyed a light “runner’s snack” and cheered on other competitors throughout the morning.

“In the past we have celebrated Thanksgiving with communal meals, but this year we really wanted to give thanks for all the blessings that we have, and to give back to the community,” explained CCS Head of School, Betsy Delaney. “We partnered with Interfaith Cooperative Ministries (ICM) to provide holiday meals for families in need.”

Contributions included potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, fruits, cornbread and even gravy. The food collected was provided to families in need on the Tuesday night and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving.

All Saints’ holds successful food drive
All Saints’ Episcopal Day held its annual food drive to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance just before the Thanksgiving holiday. The final total was 7,500 pounds of food collected by the community.

With $13,352 in cash donations included, this drive will allow the food bank to distribute more than 100,964 meals into the community. The All Saints’ Builders Club, a service organization for students in sixth through eighth grades, led the effort.

MHP to host VEX Robotics qualifier
Madison Highland Prep (MHP), in collaboration with the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, will host one of eight Arizona VEX Robotics State Qualifying Events from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10 at the MHP campus, 1431 E. Campbell Ave.

The MHP VEX Robotics State Qualifying Event will consist of 24 high school robotics teams from the Valley and across the state vying for two berths to the Arizona VEX Robotics State Championships.

In addition, MHP will host a middle school state-qualifying event consisting of 12 middle school teams from around the Valley.

VEX Robotics events are fast-paced competitions with non-stop action. For more information, call 602-745-3800.

Xavier College Prep hosts entrance exams
Xavier College Preparatory will host its Entrance Exam 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10. Registration is not required. An exam fee of $50 will be collected at the beginning of the exam, and either cash or a check made payable to Xavier College Preparatory will be accepted. Applications will be distributed at testing. Approximate dismissal time will be 11:30 a.m.

Xavier also will host a Make-Up Entrance Exam 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, for those students who are unable to take the exam on Jan. 10, and who have not previously tested elsewhere. Registration is required for this exam and may be arranged by calling Nancy Schissel at 602-277-3772, ext. 3112.

An exam fee of $50 will be collected at the beginning of the exam, and either cash or a check made payable to Xavier College Preparatory will be accepted. Applications will be distributed at testing. Approximate dismissal time will be 11:30 a.m.

For additional information on Xavier’s testing dates and/or the admissions process, visit

Benavidez receives QuestBridge scholarship
Xavier College Preparatory senior Amaris Benavidez was selected as a QuestBridge 2014 National College Match Scholarship Recipient and will attend Columbia University next fall on a full scholarship.

Benavidez has a 4.3 weighted grade point average, was named an Outstanding Participant in the 2015 National Achievement Scholarship Program and a National Center for Women Information Technology “Aspirations in Computing Award” recipient.

She is a dedicated student leader and community service volunteer, and has been an enthusiastic advocate for scholarships that benefit the approximately 40 percent of Xavier students with financial need.

MHP athletes receive honors
In December, Kevin Anderson and Michael McCann from Madison Highland Prep were selected for Division 1 All-State Football teams by the Canyon Athletic Association.

Anderson was awarded Division 1 All-State Defensive Back and Division 1 Honorable Mention Quarterback. McCann was awarded Division 1 Honorable Mention Kicker/Punter.

In November, Ethan Houser, MHP Boys Varsity Soccer goalkeeper, was named to the 2014 Division 1 All-State Team by the Canyon Athletic Association.

Learn about benefits of ‘play’ at open house
The benefits of play-based preschools have been all over the news in the last couple of years. The UU Co-Op Preschool, 4027 E. Lincoln Drive, has been putting those ideas in to practice since 1961. The school will hold an open house for prospective families 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15.

Come play in the sand yard and watch your children explore the water table, climb on the dome, and join in the tea party preparations. Inside they can choose from painting, sculpting with play dough, working at the light table, and more. While your child is engaged, chat with the teachers to learn about all of the things your child is learning as they have fun and play.

If you unable to attend on Jan. 15, mark your calendars for the Saturday open house at 9 a.m. on Feb. 21.
UUEEC is a child-centered, play-based preschool for children ages 1-5 years old. For more information, call 602-840-8400, ext. 233 or visit

Public invited to coffee house program
The community is invited to a Music Coffee House at Phoenix Christian Preparatory School 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29. The program takes place in the Phoenix Christian café on campus, located at 1751 W. Indian School Road.

The Coffee House is a display of solo and small ensemble talent from the students of PC’s music department, in an intimate, coffee house setting. There will be beverages and desserts available. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. There are parking lots on Indian School Road and also 18th Avenue.

For more information, contact PC Fine Art Department Chair Laura Huizenga at 602-265-4707, ext. 233.

Winter fest includes dance, games, more
Midtown Primary School’s Winter Fest included a student-sponsored dance to fight cancer. The students gather donations that they hope to personally be allowed to take to the children’s cancer ward. Their purpose is to ease some suffering by letting the children know that they are cared about—by other children.

The evening also included games, hot coco and cookies, arts and crafts, and a cake walk. It was the first of its kind at Midtown Primary, 4735 N. 19th Ave.

Parents as well as students tried getting the nose on the Snowman and throwing rings onto Reindeer Antlers. Volunteers from The Girls Leadership Academy ran booths for the evening, freeing teachers up to enjoy “their” families.

Santa Claus had spent the day with the students, but he came back so families could have photos together.

‘Snow Days’ come to Christ Church School
On Jan. 14 and 15, preschool students at Christ Church School will participate in Snow Days on the campus, located at 4015 E. Lincoln Drive.

Eight tons of “snow” will find its way to the CCS campus on those days. Students will dress in their winter clothing and play in the snow (sledding, building snowmen, etc.) between 9:15 and 11:30 am each morning.

Christ Church School is an Episcopal school serving families in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Phoenix. For more information, call 602-381-9906 or visit


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