Glendale Union High School District

Guntermann receives renewable scholarship
Adina Guntermann, a 2018 graduate of Sunnyslope High School, was a 2018 recipient of a Desert Financial Community Service Scholarship. The award was presented by the Moon Valley branch of Desert Financial Credit Union, 406 E. Thunderbird Road.

Guntermann attends the ASU School of Sustainability. She is an exceptional student who demonstrated a commitment to serving her community by completing over 50 hours of community service during her senior year of high school.

Desert Financial supports students that devote time and effort to community service with scholarships for high school seniors that plan to attend college or university in Arizona. In addition to being awarded a scholarship for the 2018-19 school year, Guntermann will have the opportunity to earn a scholarship renewal for the following year by continuing her commitment to community service.

Desert Financial also surprised the 2018 scholarship recipients with a $250 gift to the Arizona nonprofit of their choice, and a new iPad and keyboard.

T-bird Varsity Cheer helps pack food boxes
The varsity cheer team at Thunderbird High School recently volunteered at nonprofit organization, Feed My Starving Children. The team worked for two hours and helped pack boxes of food to be sent to children in need in the Philippines.

Feed My Starving Children has a warehouse and distribution center in Mesa, where groups of volunteers can come and pack meals specifically formulated for undernourished children around the globe. For more information, visit

Volleyball clinic held at Sunnyslope High
The volleyball team at Sunnyslope High School held its annual volleyball clinic for the Ramms Program. More than 150 elementary and middle school students participated in the clinic to learn volleyball fundamentals such as passing, hitting and serving. The students were encouraged to gain new skills, practice and have fun.

Madison Elementary School District

Student earns prestigious award
Jula Keturatana’s 8th birthday celebration wasn’t quite what you would call ordinary. Instead of receiving gifts for herself, she asked family and friends to donate supplies for the animals at the Arizona Humane Society. Actions such as this are just one component of what Keturatana learned through Madison Simis Elementary School’s International Baccalaureate program.

As a result, Keturatana, who now attends Madison No. 1 Middle School, was nominated and awarded the 2018 recipient of the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Student of the Year award while a student at Simis Elementary.

Through the IB curriculum at the Madison School District, students become independent learners capable of in-depth research, report writing, and taking action.

“The benefits of IB are that you learn the parts of being a good person and how to show that every day in what you do,” said Keturatana, a fifth-grader who plans become a teacher or a zookeeper.

Melissa Powers, the IB Coordinator at Madison Simis Elementary, nominated her for the award. Keturatana said she was proud and overjoyed to win the award, the first student ever to win the AZIBS Primary Years Program Student of the Year.

Open house for REACH program
Madison School District will host an informal evening to give parents of highly gifted children information about the REACH Program and the admissions process. This gathering, set for 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, is open to all parents, both inside and outside of the Madison School District.

The Open House format will provide parents a sneak peek at the classes and opportunities for students in the REACH Program. Teachers, administrators, and students will be available to answer any questions.

The event will take place in the Madison School District Governing Board Room, 5601 N. 16th St. For more information, contact Casey George, director for Signature Programs, at 602-664-7931.

Osborn Elementary School District

Osborn “alum” lend a helping hand
Former Osborn students visited their elementary alma mater to give time and service to the next generation of musicians. Osborn students begin band in fifth grade at Clarendon, Longview, and Solano, and have the opportunity to continue their musical career with band or choir at Osborn Middle School (OMS).

Band teacher Julia Georges works with students for four consecutive years, and the students are motivated to continue their musical careers in high school as the OMS students have the opportunity to play in concerts or march with bands from North and Central High Schools annually.

Some North High School band students who began their time at Clarendon and continued studying with Georges at OMS recently returned to run a fifth-grade band clinic with the Clarendon instrumental newbies, introducing the young students to the instruments and how to care for them.

Solano garden thrives through partnerships
The Solano Community Garden continues to grow through the efforts of Osborn’s FoodCorps member, Lilian Kong, and student volunteers from Phoenix College.

FoodCorps is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to partner with communities to connect kids to healthy food in schools. The vision is to teach children what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day. Osborn is one of two school districts in Phoenix working with the FoodCorps program.

The Solano Garden project is in its fifth year and hopes to thrive with these kinds of partnerships and the continuing work of the Solano School families and surrounding community.

Phoenix Union High School District

Coding students join Central sports
Central High and the Coding Academy are neighbors, and the proximity allows Coding students to take advantage of the extracurricular programs that Central has to offer.

New Central High athletic director Evanna Santee went to Coding Academy for its Club Rush Aug. 16. A Club Rush allows students to learn about and sign up for clubs and sports. Santee brought Eloi Kwete, who is one of Central’s star football players. Santee talked to the students about the clearance process for athletics and the sports that were available. Kwete shared his experiences playing sports at Central.

More than 40 students from Coding signed up to play sports at Central High.

Community service key at Metro Tech
All Metro Tech students are required to perform 20 hours of community service per academic year. Service Saturdays are an opportunity for students to perform this community service on campus. The first-ever Service Saturday was in August, and 41 students washed and cleaned all of Metro Tech’s school vans and mini buses inside and out, covered bulletin boards with new paper, and completed an outdoor drainage project.

The next Service Saturday was held Sept. 22, and more than 75 students signed up. They painted the baseball and softball storage units with school colors and performed gum removal from sidewalks.

Service Saturdays will be held each month.

Students hold a passion for badminton
North High has a foreign exchange student from China who is hoping to form a badminton club. Jingdi Shang and some classmates competed in a tournament, September 8, and he and his partner won the high school doubles championship at the 2018 Smash Doubles Tournament at the Arizona Badminton Center. He wrote an essay about his experience.

“It is my hope that I can establish a school club and form a school team before I get to college. It is my hope that I can pass on what I have learned to our team. And it is my hope that the badminton team of North High School would shine in the next tournament,” Shang wrote.

Shang began playing badminton at age seven, and has been coached by a national badminton champion. North exchange students Fuma Suzuki (Japan), and Vu Trung Nghia and Chau Minh Huynh from Vietnam also played in the tournament.

Pelotte named a finalist for Teacher of the Year
Metro Tech English teacher Lettice Pelotte was selected as one of the top 10 finalists for the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) Teacher of the Year, however, she did not make the final top 5 list, from which a winner will be chosen. The top 10 finalists and winner will be honored at an Oct. 25 luncheon.

The AEF Teacher of the Year program annually recognizes 10 exceptionally skilled and dedicated pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public school teachers. Honorees are those individuals who have gained the respect and admiration of students, parents, and co-workers. The Arizona Teacher of the Year becomes Arizona’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year.

Pelotte is in her fourth year teaching at Metro Tech.

Washington Elementary School District

Saudi scholars serve as guest teachers
Twenty-four scholars from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia visited the District Office as part of an Arizona State University program designed to provide individuals the opportunity to come to the United States and learn about how American educators work with diverse student populations.

WESD teachers will provide the scholars with a balance of exposure to various educational settings, academic content and methodologies. The scholars will be guest teachers in classrooms at eight schools, including Mountain View, Royal Palm and Orangewood, through Dec. 21. Each scholar will observe in the classroom, as well as collaborate with WESD teachers to engage in various co-teaching models.

WESD boasts a Teacher of the Year finalist
Jonathan Perrone, eighth-grade STEM teacher at Mountain Sky Junior High, has been selected as a Top 5 finalist for the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) Teacher of the Year Award.

The AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year program spotlights the contributions of outstanding public school teachers throughout Arizona by annually recognizing 10 exceptionally skilled and dedicated pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public school teachers.

Perrone will be honored at a luncheon in October, where the Teacher of the Year will be announced.

Private and Charter Schools

Cavnar honored by alma mater
Kim Cavnar, Principal of St. Francis Xavier School, received Loyola University of Chicago’s 2018 Damen Award from the Institute of Pastoral Studies.

Each year, Loyola recognizes alumni from each of its schools who embody the qualities of leadership and service to others that are the hallmark of a Loyola University Chicago education. The Damen Award, named for Loyola’s first president, Father Arnold J. Damen, S.J., is among the highest honors bestowed by the University.

Cavnar received this award because of her commitment to Jesuit education through her hard work in schools.

Before pursuing graduate studies at Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, Cavnar earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Loyola. Upon graduation, she served as the university’s associate director of Campus Ministry and also taught part time from 1977 to 1980 in the Department of Communication Arts. In addition, she has taught religious studies, served in campus ministry and held leadership roles at several Jesuit schools.

Cavnar earned a second master’s degree in educational leadership from Arizona State University.

Open house planned at St. Francis Xavier
St. Francis Xavier School, 4715 N. Central Ave., will host a Preschool and Kindergarten Open House on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Parent Ambassadors will give tours; parents will have the chance to visit the classrooms during the school day, followed by a presentation given by the principal and teachers.

Interested parents are asked to register for the open house by visiting the school’s website at Find the registration link under the admissions tab on the school website.

AmeriSchools offers school lunch program
AmeriSchools Academy is participating in the National School Lunch Program. As part of this program, AmeriSchools Academy offers healthy meals every school day. Lunch will cost $3. However, your children may qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Reduced-price meals cost is $.40 for lunch.

Qualifications for children to receive free or reduced price meals include: belonging to a household whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines; belonging to a household that receives public assistance; or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster, or participates in a Head Start or Even Start pre-Kindergarten program.

Household size and income criteria are used to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits if the household does not receive assistance or the children are not in the other categories mentioned above.

To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households can fill out the application and return it to the school unless the household has already received notification that their children are approved for free meals this year. Only one application is required for all children in the household. Families can apply for benefits at any time.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the school lunch coordinator will review applications and determine eligibility. For more information or to receive an application, contact the school office at 602-532-0100.

New basketball court at Phoenix Hebrew Academy
The Phoenix Hebrew Academy has dedicated a new state-of-the-art basketball court on its campus in memory of alumnus Ari Block.

PHA students formerly played basketball on a decades-old plain slab of concrete painted with the outline of a basic basketball court. The smooth, hard surface was dangerous, forcing PHA to move many of its home games played in after-school sports leagues to other locations.

Installed over the summer, the new facility required a major funding campaign to cover its approximately $35,000 cost, spearheaded by PHA alumnus Jacob Reuben in Block’s memory.

PHA is pleased to be able to provide this state-of-the-art sports facility to the broader Phoenix Jewish community.

Brophy, Xavier students receive acting awards
National Youth Arts has announced the winners of its 13th Annual National Youth Arts Awards to honor outstanding work by youth in the arts for 2017-18. Among them were both productions and individual students from Xavier/Brophy Theatre.

The student theater troupe earned several awards from the “Into the Woods” production, including Lead Performance in a Musical Awards to Lily Castle as the Baker’s Wife and Kyra Klononski as Cinderella. Receiving Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical Awards were Tatum Dial as the Witch, and Johnny Robaina as Cinderella’s Prince. The entire cast received an Outstanding Performance Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

Also receiving a Lead Performance in a Musical Award was Greer Tornquist as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.”

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play Awards went to Stokley Berg as Ponyboy in “The Outsiders,” as well as Griffin Fletcher as Black Stache and Grace Tobin as Molly Aster in “Peter and the Starcatcher.” An Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play Award went to Camden Andl as Mrs. Bumbrake in “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Another Outstanding Ensemble award was earned for this production. Maureen Dias also received an Outstanding Director Award for “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

The winners from Xavier/Brophy Theatre will be formally presented with their awards on stage during the Western Regional Ceremony, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22 at Valley Youth Theatre, 525 N. 1st St. Tickets are $12 for guests. Registration begins at 6:45 pm. In addition, nomination certificates will be available at the registration table for nominees. For more information or tickets, visit

National Youth Arts Awards is a membership organization that supports youth in pursuing the performing arts.

Teacher creates detailed carving
A new carved corpus of Christ hangs from the cross in the Chapel of Our Lady on the Xavier College Preparatory campus. Joining the other carved pieces of the altar and ambo, this exquisite work completes the interior of the chapel. The corpus was completed in June and installed before students returned to campus in August.

Carved from soft maple, this newest work, by Xavier teacher Nathan Ward, took three years to carve.

“There are so many anecdotes from my time working on this piece,” Ward said. “I wasn’t sure how I would accomplish it. I eventually asked Jesus to guide my hands and they became his power tools for the carving.”

Never having carved a sculpture with mallet and chisel, Ward worried about using hand tools while mastering the technique on the carving. His greatest challenge was carving the drooping head with all the technical aspects involved in that portion of the corpus.

Ward recalls, “I traveled to Lourdes on the Xavier pilgrimage a few years ago. While there, I was struck by the life size crucifixes and got a lump in my throat when I saw them. I got the same lump in my throat when I saw the corpus installed in the Xavier chapel.”


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