Glendale Union High School District

Spring sports just ahead
A new season of sports is quickly approaching for Glendale Union students. Spring Sports begin Feb. 25 and continue until April 25. Students will be participating in baseball, softball, boys tennis, girls tennis and track and field.

To locate schedule information, connect with your school’s website and choose the ‘Athletics’ tab at the top of the page. School websites can be found at

Students receive GCU scholarships
Students Inspiring Students scholarships are awarded by Grand Canyon University to qualifying students from GCU’s neighborhood, participating schools, including those in the Glendale Union district.

Recent full-ride scholarship recipients from GUHSD included Jacqueline Pop and Jack Sedrak of Thunderbird High School, and Nancy Marrufo Aguilar and Gerardo Ortega Sanchez of Washington High School.

Students must complete a minimum of 100 hours of study time at the GCU Learning Lounge, where free tutoring services are provided by GCU students, and must demonstrate a financial need.

In related news, Thunderbird High School senior Rachel Violette was one of 106 students chosen nationwide to receive a $25,000 scholarship from the Horatio Alger Scholarship Association. The association recognizes students who have exhibited determination, integrity, and perseverance in overcoming adversity.

Madison Elementary School District

‘Kid chef’ finalists compete on Feb. 28
Budding young chefs will have a chance to show all their friends and teachers in the Madison School District their awesome cooking skills as part of the “Madison Top Chef” contest.

Students were invited to submit their favorite breakfast, lunch, side dish, or dessert recipe online by Feb. 1. The winning recipes and their chefs will be invited to present their dish to local celebrities at the Madison Top Chef event, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 28, at the Madison Park Commons. All winning recipes will be featured on the April and May school meal menus.

Feedback sought for superintendent search
The Madison School District Governing Board is in the process of recruiting a Superintendent to start the 2018-2019 school year on July 1, 2018. The new superintendent will replace Quinn Kellis, who joined the district on July 1, 2014.

The Madison Governing Board is seeking feedback from all Madison stakeholders regarding the superintendent search. An online survey is available for those interested in commenting to share their thoughts with the board, through Feb. 13. The data collected will be used by the Board to identify and select the most highly qualified individual for this very important position.

The Stakeholder Survey is available at:

Osborn Elementary School District

Solano Student Council give back
Solano School Student Council members recently completed two hours of community service at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) in Mesa. Students were able to follow FMSC’s motto of turning “hunger into hope” by preparing nutritious lunches for children around the world.

Teachers Diana Schlepp and Amelia Hubbell, who serve as moderators of the student council, coordinated this project.

Read Better, Be Better graduation event
Read Better, Be Better had its winter graduation at Encanto-Clarendon, Solano, and Longview Schools. In this partnership, lead teachers from RBBB work with 6th grade “bigs” who mentor and teach their 3rd grade “littles.”

Tremendous academic gains were seen, friendships formed, and leadership skills practiced.

Phoenix Union High School District

Hall of Fame honors coaches, players
The third-annual Phoenix Union Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Dinner took place Dec. 19 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. This year 70 individuals were inducted, most from the 1971-79 era. Championship teams from that decade also were recognized.

Some of the inductees included ASU and Dallas Cowboy linebacker Bob Breunig, Alhambra, 1971; College and NBA basketball player Steve Malovic, Alhambra, ’74; Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk, Carl Hayden; NFL assistant and Univ. of Massachusetts football coach Mark Whipple, Camelback, ’75; Whipple’s high school coach, Jesse Parker; NY Mets hitting coach Pat Roessler, Camelback, ’75; PGA golfer Howard Twitty; Central, ’67; MLB players Gary and Dave Rajsich, Central; Olympic Track Bronze medalist Dwayne Evans, South Mountain.

In addition, Minnesota Viking Steve Jordan, a South Mountain graduate, and his father, Leon Edward Jordan, who coached basketball at Phoenix’s Carver High School, were recognized.

Women inductees included Nancy Funari, a West High/Metro Tech graduate who coached softball for 25 years at Carl Hayden; Badminton and tennis state champion coach Janet (Shaler) Westcott, Camelback; tennis coach Dr. Catherine Wilkinson, four-time state championships at North; and Joelyn Boone, who played four sports while at Central, played volleyball for ASU, and is a coach and teacher in Gilbert.

Students win award for app challenge
Three Metro Tech High School students won this year’s Congressional App Challenge. The App Challenge is a competition that encourages high school students from across the United States to create their own mobile applications.

Metro Tech seniors Edgar Alvarez, Jesus Hernandez, and Niyonkuru Pamphile won first place for their app, titled “American Trivia.”

The students created the app as a part of a Game and App Development class, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) course. The students designed the functional, fun and user-friendly app using JavaScript in’s App Lab.

“The user is prompted with a variety of questions about American history, some are basic, some are kind of off-the-wall,” explained teacher Chad Renning. “The user earns points for correct answers and loses tries if they get it wrong. After they have missed three questions, the game presents the user’s score and they can choose to play again.”

“American Trivia” will be displayed on the Congressional App Challenge website and will be exhibited on a digital display in the Capitol Building for a year.

Abdi nominated for football award
Camelback football player Abukar Abdi was nominated for the Ed Doherty Award, Arizona’s most prestigious high school football player award. Abdi is a four-year, two-sport athlete (football and track). He set a single game record for Camelback this year with 315 rushing yards, 32 carries and 4 touchdowns, and was on track to beat the single season rushing record before breaking his leg in the fifth game of the season.

Abdi, who came to the United States from Kenya when he was 3, is on track with his rehabilitation to still participate in this year’s track season.

“In all my years at Camelback, I have never encountered a more positive student-athlete,” athletic director Steve Kuipers said. “While lying on the field after breaking his femur, with everyone else freaking out, Abukar was cracking jokes and encouraging his teammates. He had surgery the following day, and was back at school on Tuesday.”

Abdi was the only Phoenix Union student-athlete nominated for this year’s award.

Washington Elementary School District

Foundation awards teacher mini-grants
The Washington Education Foundation recently awarded 29 mini grants totaling $25,762.81 to deserving WESD teachers, who plan to use these grants to enhance the learning experience for all WESD students.

Among the grant recipients were Desert View teachers Emily Sinclair for her project, “Sensory Play Keeps Behaviors Away,” and Elizabeth Zimmerman for “A Picture Says A Thousand Words.”

At Mountain View School, several teachers received grants. Diane Distler and Karen O’Keefe were awarded for “Our Pencil Pal Program,” Jackie Swigart’s “Keep Calm and R.I.S.E. On Boxes” program was funded, and “Lakeside Learning: Transforming a Classroom into a Community,” a group project by Andrea Haack, Cassandra Wills, Shannon Schut, and Sheila-Ann Sylvia, also received a grant.

At Orangewood School, Brooks Swigert and Dianna Bonney were awarded funds for “Gearing Up with Rube Goldberg,” and Caitlin Corrigan, Michael Austin and Cassie Reidenbach-Noel were given a grant for “Chromebooks in the Classroom.”

Private and Charter Schools

Grant helps repair, upgrade sports fields
Much-anticipated improvements will soon be coming to Villa Montessori’s recreational fields, thanks in part to a $115,240 grant recently awarded to the school by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.

To be eligible for the grant, the school, located at 2802 E. Meadowbrook Ave., was required to provide matching dollars equal to at least 33 percent of the amount requested. The Villa community raised $56,760. So $172,000 is now available for two fields, which are used for sports programs, physical education classes and other outdoor activities.

“This money allows us to finally add proper field drainage on our elementary and middle school campuses,” said Margo S. O’Neill, Head of School at Villa Montessori. “It will also help to lay the foundation for our new outdoor specialty teaching gardens and move forward with the next step in our exciting plans.”

The forthcoming field enhancements are among several improvements planned for the Pre-K-8 school, including new facilities, resources and entrepreneurial programs. Construction on the fields will begin immediately after the school year ends in May 2018. Additional information about Villa Montessori is available at

Empower launches tutoring program
Empower College Prep High School students started building a pipeline of academic excellence in Central Phoenix-area elementary schools in November. After exceeding the state average and out-performing most high schools in the area on last year’s AzMERIT test, Empower College Prep’s students are ideal role models for younger peers.

The Empower team of freshman and sophomores have started volunteering weekly in classrooms to help participating elementary students succeed academically.

Empower College Prep, 2411 W. Colter St., was founded 5 years ago as a Title 1 school, serving low-income students in the Phoenix area. The school’s promise is that every student, regardless of their situation, will have the opportunity to go to college and change their lives and community.

Empower College Prep’s students volunteer 50 hours each year they are in high school, either in local elementary schools, or by helping youth with disabilities at the Arizona Recreation Center for the Handicapped or at a parent resource center for families with behavioral or physical challenges. So far, three elementary schools have invited Empower students to volunteer with their students, and Executive Director Brian Holman is hoping for many more.

“Serving in local schools is a great next step on their pathway to college and pursuit of changing the world,” Holman said. “It’s all part of them discovering who they are, what they were made for, what needs to be changed in this world, and what they are going to do about it.”

For more information about Empower College Prep, visit the website at

Xavier hosts Mock Trial Invitational
Xavier College Preparatory’s Elias M. Romley Xavier Mock Trial Team will host its 13th Annual Mock Trial Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Xavier’s campus, 4710 N. 5th St.

Each year, the competition draws numerous mock trial teams from high schools across the Valley to scrimmage in preparation for Arizona’s regional and state mock trial tournaments in March. Dozens of Maricopa County attorneys and judges volunteer their time and experience to judge each of the competition’s rounds.

For additional information, contact Dani Richter at

Volleyball honors for players, coach
Eleven Xavier College Preparatory students were named to the 2017 Sports360AZ All-Academic Volleyball Team in recognition of their outstanding performances both on the volleyball court and in the classroom.

Among them were North Central residents Alyna Draper, senior, and Shannon Shields, junior, who each received Honorable Mention recognition.

Xavier head coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, who coached the Gators to this year’s Division I state championship, was named All-Arizona Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year.

Christ Church School adds fifth grade level
Christ Church School will expand its class offerings to include fifth grade. The Town of Paradise Valley approved this expansion, which will begin with the 2018-2019 school year.

Christ Church School is an Episcopal preschool and elementary school serving families in North Central Phoenix, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale. Staff members focus on delivering developmentally appropriate intellectual experiences for every student. Small class sizes and low student-teacher ratios give every student the opportunity to thrive and grow to their full potential.

Contact the school office to schedule a tour of the CCS campus, learn about the outstanding elementary standardized test scores, and see the classrooms in action. Visit, call 602-381-9906, or email



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