Glendale Union High School District

Students named Merit Seminfinalists
One student from Thunderbird High School and four students from Sunnyslope High were named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist this year.

The announcement was made in early September and the students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements by the Glendale Union High School District Governing Board at a Sept. 16 meeting.

The semifinalists from Sunnyslope are Sean Miller, Daniel Sinclair, Linnea Weicht and Madeline Weicht, and Mark Morrissey is the lone Merit Semifinalist from Thunderbird.

In early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers from across the country, are notified that they have qualified as a semifinalist. Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis.

To be considered for a National Merit scholarship, students must take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The test is based on areas of critical reading, mathematics and writing skills. More than 1.5 million students take the test each year. Students also are required to be enrolled as high school students who are planning to enroll fulltime in college following graduation from high school.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, the Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic requirements. Finalists will be notified in February 2016 if they have advanced to this standing.

Madison Elementary School District

Meadows named a Blue Ribbon School
Madison Meadows Middle School has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2015 in the “Exemplary High Performing Schools” category. Schools receiving this award are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or national tests.

Madison Meadows is one of four schools in Arizona recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2015.

“This [award] is the culmination of the hard work and collaboration that takes place among teachers, staff, students and parents daily,” said Principal Susan Doyle. “When schools and families work together, great things happen for kids.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

Osborn Elementary School District

Doherty receives award, cash prize
Michelle Doherty, a first-grade teacher at Encanto Elementary School, was one of four recipients of the 2015 Esperanza Latino Teacher Awards, presented by Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC).

The winners were selected after a careful review of nominations received from schools throughout Arizona. The independent selection committee chose Doherty and her fellow educators because each has demonstrated successful academic results in the classroom as well as their commitment to their respective local communities. The independent committee consists of volunteers from other nonprofit organizations, school administrators, past honorees, representatives from the business community, and representatives from CPLC’s Board of Directors.

Doherty will receive a $5,000 cash stipend and a donation of $2,500 will be given to Encanto Elementary School, 1420 W. Osborn Road.

Community and business leaders paid tribute to the winners at the 17th Annual Esperanza Latino Teacher Awards Ceremony on Oct. 22.

The Esperanza Awards continues to be the only awards program in Arizona that specifically recognizes Latino teachers who are nominated by their peers. To date, CPLC has recognized more than 100 outstanding Latino educators who continue to inspire future generations and positively impact communities in Arizona.

Phoenix Union High School District

Future high schoolers invited to expo Nov. 7
The third-annual Experience Phoenix Union High School Expo will be held Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Phoenix College. Middle school students and parents are invited to explore all that Phoenix Union has to offer at the Expo.

Attendees can visit all Phoenix Union schools in one location, meet students and staff, learn about the many programs, clubs and services offered, and take advantage of the first day to apply to a PUHSD school. There will be live performances by high school students, giveaways and interactive activities and the first 1,000 eighth graders will receive a free drawstring backpack.

New academy breaks ground
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Sept. 30 for the Linda Abril Educational Academy. The 42,000-square-foot, two-story school building is going up at 3000 N. 19th Ave., adjacent to Metro Tech High School. It will open in August of 2016.

The small alternative school has been known as Suns-Diamondbacks Education Academy since its opening in 2001. The new building was renamed after longtime Phoenix Union Governing Board member Linda Abril.

The school caters to students who are credit deficient, and through accelerated, flexible and personalized learning, students are able to graduate high school, rather than dropping out. The school has leased two different buildings in its short history, but now has a permanent home, with a capacity of 400 students. More than 1,500 students have received diplomas through this alternative school.

Guitar Club makes public appearance
The North High Guitar Club performed in downtown Phoenix for First Friday, Oct. 2. First Friday is a monthly art event in the Roosevelt district, from 7th Street to Central Avenue, featuring art, food, craft booths and of course music.

The North High Guitar Club preformed a set consisting of everything from acoustic singles to classic rock and heavy metal. Some of the club’s new songs are “Carry on My Wayward Son,” “Dream On,” “Stand by Me,” and “Comfortably Numb.” The North Guitar Club is led by social studies teacher Richard Vial.

Students visit from sister school in China
Students and a chaperone from Chengdu, China last month visited Central High and Arizona for 10 days. The students, from sister-school Shude High School, visited with students in the Global Studies Magnet program, and dropped in on various classes, including a Chinese language class. They also visited the Grand Canyon and Music Instrument Museum during their stay. Central students will go to China in the spring.

Orar ranks as a top runner
Aron Orar, a sophomore distance runner at Central High School, was the overall champion of the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series. Over the course of four 5K races and the Fourth of July 4-mile race, Orar was first overall in total points. Orar, not surprisingly, is the top runner on the Bobcat Cross Country team this year.

Lady Bobcats finish strong
One fall sport that doesn’t get a lot of attention is badminton. But the Lady Bobcats team at Central High had a successful season. The team reeled off six straight wins and ran its record to 9-3, before losing two tight 5-4 decisions to Agua Fria and Millennium in the final week of the season.

Central finished 6-2 in sectional play, and was the best badminton team among Phoenix Union schools. Central has two sister pairs on the team—Ellen and Monica Lam, and EiEl and NeNe Naing. Bonnie Soe, Amy Ditrich, Aye Cho, Esmeralda Regina and Susana Aparicio round out the rest of the Central Varsity Badminton team.

Students turn out in force for downtown walk
The Nursing and Pharmacy Health Occupations Student Associations (HOSA) had the largest group representing Metro Tech at the “Be A Leader Taking Steps Toward College Success annual Walk-A-Thon,” held Sept. 27 in downtown Phoenix. Forty-four students participated and they earned a pizza party for their club.

Washington Elementary School District

Mountain View students enjoy Young Authors’ Day
Celebrating writing was the focus on Sept. 18 for fourth-grade students at Mountain View School. Several authors conducted writing workshops with the students while other authors talked about their own writing and the road to publishing their work.

Hayley Rose, author of the Fifo books and “Today I Feel” books, Sharon Skinner, “Hero’s Legacy” Series, Leslie Miller, “Foobie Friends” book series, and Lynda Exley, “Arizona Way Out West” books, spent time with students as did cartoonist and writer Drew Aquilina, among others.

KPNX Channel 12’s Tram Mai, Matt Maur and Vanessa Ruiz were part of the Young Authors’ Day as well, speaking about the importance of writing in their careers and about their work in general. Student received free books during the event.

Volunteers join kids for day of service
Twelve WESD schools, including Maryland School, participated in the annual city-wide Love Our Schools Day on Sept. 1. Community partners who rallied volunteers to participate in a variety of community service events at the schools for the day included students from ASU West; Pure Heart Christina Fellowship; North Hills Church; Christ Church of the Valley (CCV); Orangewood Nazarene; Young Life; Trinity Mennonite, and Christ’s Community Church.

These volunteers, along with teachers, principals and students from the schools, painted buildings and teachers lounges, dusted books, cleaned desks, organized clothing closets, sanded benches, beautified gardens, lawns and fields, and more.

Private and Charter Schools

Swimmers capture first, second places at meet
Xavier College Preparatory’s diving team placed first at the Phoenix Country Day School Eagle Invitational in September, capturing the girls’ diving championship trophy.

Swimmers and divers from 42 high schools competed in this year’s invitational, which is one of the largest in the state. Xavier’s swim team placed second.

Brophy Academy gets grant from NY Life
Brophy College Preparatory’s Loyola Academy has received a $25,000 Community Impact Grant from New York Life in support of its emergency assistance fund, benefiting Loyola Academy families with critical social services.

The Community Impact Grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations which are championed by New York Life agents and employees to serve the needs of their local communities. More than 366 grants totaling more than $4.7 million have been awarded to nonprofits across the country since the program’s inception in 2008.

The Loyola Academy, formed in 2011, operates under the auspices of Brophy and offers a Catholic, Jesuit education for sixth- through eighth-grade boys who display academic promise but have limited educational opportunities and whose families have limited financial means and qualify for the federal free lunch program.

SFX hosts open house on Nov. 17
St. Francis Xavier School will host an Open House for its preschool and kindergarten program, 7:30-9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Parent can take a tour of the new campus, visit the classrooms during the school day and have questions answered by the principal and teachers. Interested parents should register for the open house by visiting the school’s website at Click on the registration icon on the main page.

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

Students help paint two murals at school
AmeriSchools Academy students recently worked with Francisco Garcia, an international artist working and living in Phoenix, to design an original mural. The mural represents the diversity of AmeriSchools, 1333 West Camelback Road, and the community coming together as one. The students helped paint the mural this summer.

Garcia explained to the students that the mural will have multiple layers of paint from multiple people, which further emphasizes the teamwork needed in communities. The mobile mural project was sponsored in part by ArtLink. The students and families were so thrilled with this art experience, AmeriSchools has organized another mural to be painted in its multipurpose room.

Student leaders of the school along with artist Keith Blum from Los Angeles designed mural around scholars who have made a difference in the world. The newest mural currently is being painted and depicts many scholars throughout time. A community celebration of the murals was held on Oct. 27. Both artists were present to share their perspectives and vision.

Islamic Speakers Bureau president visits school
As part of their religious studies, the All Saints’ Episcopal Day School kindergarten students last month welcomed Azra Hussain, president of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona (ISBA) to campus.

Hussain spoke to the kindergarten religion classes about Islam. The age-appropriate session was met with many questions as the children learned about how Muslims pray, the Qur’an, the Muslim holidays, and much more.

Children in Lower School Religion learn about Christian holidays, and discuss the holidays and festivals of other world religions, including Judaism, the Islamic faith, and the Baha’i faith.

Founded in 1999, the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona is a nonprofit organization providing certified speakers, workshops, and other educational opportunities on Islam and other faith traditions. The ISBA is dedicated to providing opportunities for education, civic engagement, and constructive dialogue to enrich our community toward a better understanding of Islam and other faith traditions.

Learn more about the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona at For more information about All Saints’, visit or call 602-274-4866 for more information.

Scardello takes on teen dating violence
Xavier College Preparatory senior Lauren Scardello represented the Governor’s Youth Commission at an October meeting of the Governor’s Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women. Scardello discussed teen dating violence and her committee’s plan to promote awareness with an “Orange Out” campaign on Feb. 10, 2016.

In addition to the Governor’s Youth Commission, Scardello also serves on the Ryan House Teen Board, is active in the National Charity League, and is a Youth Ambassador for the Catholic Community Foundation of the Diocese of Phoenix. Scardello has been a Xavier Student Ambassador and a member of Xavier’s Unity in Diversity club since her sophomore year.

Every summer, she is a counselor for The Association of Catholic Student Councils (TACSC) as well.

Solliday named a Merit Semifinalist
Bradley Solliday, 17, a senior at Brophy College Preparatory, was selected as one of 16,000 Semifinalists in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Solliday, a North Central resident, was one in 1.4 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools throughout the country who entered into the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The Qualifying Test serves as an initial screen of program entrants. Solliday is part of the highest scoring entrants representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Approximately 15,000 students are expected to advance to the Finalist level by meeting additional requirements. The Finalists will be announced in February.

Solliday is an aspiring young mathematician and physicist currently mapping out his college options. He hopes to combine his passions for the sciences, history, and anthropology.

Artist, naturalist visits kids at ASEDS
Author, educator, naturalist, and artist Clare Walker Leslie visited All Saints’ Episcopal Day School Sept. 24-25 to speak to students in third through sixth grades. Leslie is a nationally known artist and educator. She is the author of the popular children’s book “The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms,” as well as books for adults on nature drawing.

Leslie worked with students in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades to introduce them to the process of creating nature journals. Science, writing, math, and drawing were integrated with the goal of helping students to observe and connect with the natural world around them.

Librarian Jennie Oleksak says, “I was excited for our students to have the opportunity to work first-hand with Mrs. Leslie observing, experiencing, and creating journals about nature right here on campus. I loved to see our students increase their appreciation of nature through this creative outlet.”

Leslie, who has written 12 books, has taught at Williams College, Harvard’s Landscape Design Program, College of the Atlantic, Antioch New England, and many Audubon Centers and is a member of the National Guild of Scientific Illustrators.

Xavier seniors complete hands-on medical program
Ten Xavier College Preparatory seniors on Sept. 12 completed The Perry Initiative’s program for high school women aspiring to be leaders in orthopedic surgery and mechanical engineering. The program was held at the Mayo Clinic.

The students were seniors Ana Gallo, Jennifer Gross, Frances Hansen, Claudia Lucca, Lisbet Maldonado, Ainsley Ramsey, Alexandra Robbins, Hailey Tallman, Julia Teeter, and junior Caroline Clark.

The Perry Initiative advances its mission principally by running hands-on outreach programs across the country for women students in high school, college, and medical school.

The Perry Initiative is named in honor of Dr. Jacquelin Perry, who was one of the first 10 women orthopedic surgeons in the country and was a mentor to countless women and men in the field throughout her career.

The Perry Initiative first brought its program to the Mayo Clinic in September 2012. At that time, the program hosted 40 students from 18 Phoenix-area high schools. This year’s program included 38 students from 23 Valley high schools.

All Saints’ hosts campus open house
Prospective families can participate in campus tours of All Saints’ Episcopal Day School during an Open House beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Meet with admission officers and faculty, view classrooms and attend a Q&A session with a division head. Reservations are suggested, but not required. RSVP online at

If you cannot attend an Open House, call 602-274-4878 to schedule an individual tour. All Saints’ is located at 6300 N. Central Ave. Application materials for the 2016-17 school year are now available at


Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.