Glendale Union High School District

Students earn youth ambassador spots
Sunnyslope High juniors Hayley Ramirez and Eric Kennedy, and Washington High junior Ruben Hernandez and sophomore Ryan Simpson, will represent the Glendale Union High School District and Arizona this summer as youth ambassadors.

The students were selected by the Phoenix Youth Ambassador Exchange Program, where they will spend three weeks abroad living with a host family to be fully immersed in the culture of the city. Only 25 students from across Phoenix were chosen for this experience.

Hayley travels to Ennis, Ireland and Eric will be heading to Catania, Italy, while Ruben sets off to Prague, Czech Republic, and Ryan will journey to Himeji, Japan.

When they return to Phoenix, they and their families will then host their own international guests and introduce them to Phoenix and American culture, traditions and experiences.

SHS Boys Basketball named State Champions
The Sunnyslope High School Boys Varsity Basketball team defeated Apollo High School in the 5A Boys Conference game last month. The thrilling contest included two overtimes and ended with a final score of 58-57.

The championship game was played at Grand Canyon University Arena. This was the third time Sunnyslope played against Apollo this year, but the first time the Vikings had a win.

The Sunnyslope Varsity Boys Basketball team is coached by Ray Portela.

Osborn Elementary School District

Open fields, open play
Solano School Principal Renee Hamill welcomed Vice Mayor (and former Osborn student) Laura Pastor, Osborn School District board members, students, families and community members to the official ribbon cutting for Solano’s Open Fields Open Play, a shared-use project funded by the Maricopa County Health Department.

The purpose of the program is to provide schools in high-need areas with funding to keep some of their facilities open during after-school hours, including playgrounds, ballfields and even libraries, for the families and nearby community to use. Oftentimes these neighborhoods are not conveniently located near a public park or public library.

As Osborn Governing Board President Katie Paetz shared, it was invigorating and incredible to see Solano’s field full of life and activity. “We are happy to see this project cultivate initiative and grow more leaders,” Paetz said.

Learning about water conservation
After reading “The Big Thirst,” Brendan Mann’s seventh grade Language Arts classes at Osborn Middle School dove deep into issues of water sustainability, especially in agriculture and industry.

To expand their understanding of the current state of water in Arizona, they invited Central Arizona Water Conservation Board member Ben Graff to OMS. Graff, who represents Maricopa County on the 14- member board, was elected to a six-year term last November.

Graff is a Land Use & Zoning Attorney with Withey Morris, PLC in Phoenix, and has worked extensively on a wide range of zoning projects including The Local, soon to be built on the southwest corner of 7th Avenue and Osborn Road.

Graff facilitated a thought-provoking discussion about sustainability in Arizona and answered students’ questions.

Phoenix Union High School District

Marketing students pitch ideas to panel
Students at Metro Tech High School, 1900 W. Thomas Road, last month tried their best to impress their own version of Mark Cuban during the school’s version of the popular reality TV show, “Shark Tank.”

The second-annual event is the creation of Jeff Howard, who teaches the Sports & Entertainment Marketing class at Metro Tech. “When they come in to class the first day, I tell them they have been hired as an ‘intern’ to work for J & A Advertising—J for my son Jaden and A for my daughter Ariana,” Howard explains.

The students compete throughout the year to be chosen as the next apprentice or paid intern. “I basically created a classroom version of ‘The Apprentice’ with a mix of ‘Shark Tank’,” Howard says.

The program utilizes the Everfi Venture program, an online financial literacy program for students. Washington Federal Equipment Finance funds the program for these Metro Tech students. Students were paired up to seek a bank loan from Washington Federal President Mike Brown and his executive team, who served as judges, to start up their own food truck business.

The goal for each team was simple: convince Washington Federal to give them a loan to pay for the truck and the marketing costs. Each partnership pitched their business idea using a presentation visual of their choice (PowerPoint, Prezi, Office Mix, etc.), along with a display poster and print and media promotion examples. There was Papa Paul’s Pizza, Exotic Scoops Ice Cream, JV’s Super Tacos, and Beefish.

“If your team loses, you go to the boardroom and someone gets ‘fired’—in this case, they are eliminated from the paid internship award at the end of the year for the contest winner,” Howard says. “I give a plaque, gift card, letter of recommendation, and a take them to lunch if they win.”

Cadets join vets at military dinner
Metro Tech JROTC cadets Mercedes Jimenez and Dalila Lucero were guests of honor at the Luke Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) dinner, held Feb. 9.

The cadets were able to learn about the community involvement activities of this veterans’ organization, while sharing with its members the benefits they have gained through their participation in the JROTC program.

JROTC students visit state capitol
The Camelback High JROTC took nine cadets on a field trip to the Arizona State Capitol on Feb. 28. The trip was focused on the Capital Museum and gaining an understanding of some of the history of our great state.

While at the xapitol, the students were able to meet State Rep. Kelli Butler. The cadets were able to visit her office and were given a tour of the House of Representatives with her. The cadets also met and were welcomed in the museum by Secretary of State, Michelle Regan.

DECA students head to Anaheim
Camelback High competed at the DECA State Competition and qualified 25 students to the DECA International Competition to Anaheim, Calif. in April. This is the school’s largest total ever.

Camelback students will be joining 17,000 students throughout the world for the DECA International Career Development Conference. There were 2,400 students from 72 schools that attended the DECA State Competition and Camelback had the second-largest number of students attending in the state.

The students who won the Verizon Best in State App contest also won in the Innovation Competition, the second year in a row that Camelback has won with the Verizon challenge winners.

Washington Elementary School District

Lamp of Learning honorees lauded
Once each year, the Washington Elementary School District (WESD) celebrates the unique, exemplary contributions of special members of the #WESDFamily by honoring them with the Lamp of Learning Award.

Bestowing this award allows the district the opportunity to thank community and staff members for the extras that they do to support the education of its students. This year 38 awards winners will be celebrated on May 5 at the Lamp of Learning Awards Dinner, set for 5:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel, 2620 W. Dunlap Ave.

Among the winners are: Kirstin Alexander, first grade ELL Teacher, and Emily Church, Student Services specialist, at Richard E. Miller Elementary; George Green, volunteer, Washington Elementary; Fred Guerriero, volunteer, Mountain View Elementary; Michelle Miller, music teacher, and Margaret Mott, seventh grade Science teacher, Mountain View Elementary; and Jennifer Spector, second grade teacher, Washington Elementary.

To RSVP for the Lamp of Learning Celebration or for more information, call Pam Horton at 602-347-2694 or e-mail

Private and Charter Schools

Xavier students travel to Europe
Twenty students from Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix and the Rhein-Maas-Gymnasium school in Aachen, Germany, crossed the Atlantic Ocean this year to participate in Xavier’s annual exchange program that welcomes German students to Arizona each fall and sends Xavier students to Germany each winter.

The German students and their faculty chaperones arrived in Phoenix in late October and spent nearly two weeks attending Xavier classes and exploring Arizona with their host students and families.

Then, in January, the Xavier students and faculty members traveled to Germany to attend classes with their student hosts and to immerse themselves in German culture. Highlights of their visit included meeting with consul Benjamin Chapman at the U.S. Consulate in Dusseldorf and visiting the cathedral and Romisch-Germanisches Museum in Cologne.

The objective of the program is to provide Xavier’s students and faculty with global religious, educational, cultural, and service offerings.

Bassoonist visits Xavier music club
Xavier College Preparatory’s Classical Music Club welcomed bassoonist, composer, and Mill Avenue Chamber Players member Thomas Breadon to campus on Feb. 22.

Breadon taught a bassoon and composition clinic, introducing Xavier/Brophy students to the intricate sounds of the bassoon and sharing his insights on composing original songs.

More awards for Xavier teams
It was another winning fall/winter season for the women of Xavier College Preparatory, both athletically and academically.

Xavier’s crew team captured this year’s Arizona Outlaw Rowers Junior Women’s Championship title on March 4, with a victory in the Desert Sprints Regatta. Xavier’s rowers raced in every possible category, capturing medals in nine of eleven entries and bringing home the state trophy for the third consecutive year and the sixth time in event history.

Xavier’s performance dance company scored the highest possible rating of “distinction” at the 32nd Annual Arizona High School Dance Festival on Feb. 23. More than 600 students from around the valley participated in this year’s festival at Westwood High School.

In addition, the school’s Elias M. Romley Xavier Mock Trial Team competed at the regional tournament at the Maricopa County Superior Court on March 4, qualifying two of its squads for the upcoming state championship tournament and scoring multiple individual awards. The “Xavier South” squad placed first in its regional competition, while “Xavier East” placed fourth in its own contest. Both squads will advance to the state tournament on April 1. Xavier senior Susan Peters, junior Edel Healy, and sophomore Aranzazu Soto captured individual accolades.

SFX honors its service awardees
St. Francis Xavier School last month recognized its 2017 Christian Service Award recipients. Each year the Catholic Community Foundation recognizes outstanding eighth grade students from throughout the Diocese who display a love and understanding of their Catholic faith and articulate a commitment, not only to performing acts of service, but to living a service focused life. Recipients of the prestigious Christian Service Award are honored by the Bishop at a special ceremony and receive an $8,000 Catholic high school tuition scholarship.

This year SFX posted four finalists (Ryan Blake, Natalie Fuchs, Madison Guzak and Ben Sanford) and five recipients (Sophia Alameddin, Jay Cruz, Katie Harris, Noah Nuez and Scott Ruoff) of the Christian Service Award. All these students live out the school motto of being a kid for others.

Katie Harris said, “I did a lot of my service hours over the past two years at Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), working in programs with autistic children. I enjoyed my time there and helping these kids; it was an added bonus to receive the Christian Service Award.”

Scott Ruoff received the Fr. Sullivan Ignation Spirit Award, which was created through the generosity of the Schramm Family (Hailey ’12, Patrick ’14) to further the mission of the CCF as well as honor St. Francis Xavier pastor, Fr. Dan Sullivan.

AmeriSchools adds after-school programs
AmeriSchools Academy, 1333 W. Camelback Road, in collaboration with the Grandview Neighborhood Association, has been awarded a grant to support afterschool functions at the campus and in the community.

AmeriSchools Academy’s after-school programs decrease students’ unproductive activity on city streets after school, as well as decrease “Latch Key” students’ idle time at home after school. The funds from the recently awarded Phoenix Neighborhood Block Watch Grant Program (NBWGP) seek to increase the number of students participating in after school activities throughout the school year, including sports, clubs and tutoring, as well as community-based STEM programs through farming, nutrition/cooking, and entrepreneurship.

Students will be able to engage there on campus, as well as off campus through farming and nutrition activities and collaboration with local organizations.

“Additional support will only further reduce juvenile crime in our neighborhood,” said Gary LeBlanc, superintendent of AmeriSchools. “AmeriSchools Academy is very grateful for the NBWGP’s consideration for such funding and to the Grandview Neighborhood Association for its support.”

Learning to run their own biz
After six weeks of intensive lessons on the economy, business readiness, entrepreneurship and personal financial literacy, the fourth- through seventh-grade students of Phoenix Hebrew Academy traveled to the Junior Achievement of Arizona complex in Tempe on March 6 to participate in their second year at JA BizTown, which motivates and encourages students to achieve their personal, educational and career goals with a hands-on experience.

PHA students became citizens of BizTown and took their positions as mayor, town treasurer, IRS chief, doctors, CEOs, CFOs, and employees of 13 different businesses. The town was busy as the students got right into the swing of life as adults living and working in their community.

They started the day by applying for a business loan with the AM Trust Bank to open their businesses. All of the citizens of BizTown repaid their loans and made record profits by the end of the day. The PHA students had a great time and are looking forward to returning to JA BizTown next year.

New small school now enrolling
Acton Academy Phoenix, a growing, student-driven learning community located at 3330 E. Camelback Road, hosts an open house for interested families from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 8.

Acton Academy is an innovative nonprofit school that is serving the central Phoenix neighborhoods. It is located on the east side of the Redemption Arcadia Church; parking is in the back lot.

The academy will enroll up to 30 students for the 2017-18 school year, for students 6-12 years old (approximately first through fifth grade). All students participate in the ES learning studio with mixed ages. The school is a replication of one founded in Austin, Texas.

Learn more and RSVP for the open house at

Lopez signs letter of intent to play soccer
Christian Lopez, a senior at Madison Highland Prep, accepted a $10,000 yearly scholarship to play soccer at the recently built Ottawa University campus in Surprise.

Lopez, 17, signed a letter of intent to play during the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters on March 14. “I’m excited to help start their new soccer program,” said Lopez, who plans to major in business marketing.

For the 2016 men’s soccer season, Lopez was named 1st Team All-State Forward. He is the first MHP student-athlete to be selected as Division I Men’s Soccer Player.


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.