Glendale Union High School District

Mock DUI crash highlights dangers of drinking, driving
City of Phoenix public safety officials participated in a mock crash at Washington High School on Feb. 1, with the help of sponsors from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Western Towing, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Department of Public Safety, and the Maricopa County Medical Examiner.

Phoenix Fire and Police emergency crews simulated an alcohol-involved crash on the school’s football field to educate teens about impaired driving. The reenactment included extricating injured victims from vehicles, demonstrating the DUI testing and arrest process, and bagging and transporting a DOA patient from the scene.

National Merit Semifinalists advance to Finalist status
All of Glendale Union High School District’s 2019 National Merit Semifinalists have officially advanced to the Finalist level of the competition. These academically high-performing students include Sunnyslope High seniors Jeremy Becker, Zoe Friese, Derek Gemar, McKenna Kellner and Michael Perry; and Thunderbird senior Danielle Zylstra.

To be considered for this designation, students fulfilled several academic requirements. They are now eligible for a $2,500 scholarship and will be competing for one of 2,500 available National Merit Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2019 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.

‘Thundershack’ recertified as gold
The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) club at Thunderbird High School recently recertified their gold level status for their school-based enterprise (SBE) called the Thundershack.

To earn this designation, DECA students had to perform an in-depth financial and marketing analysis about their school store business and compose a 50-page project for National DECA review. They will also participate in DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla.

JROTC team bring home several wins

AFJROTC cadet Jayson Lewis Jr. of Sunnyslope High School makes a spectacular effort to return the volley during a “volley tennis” game, helping his team capture the first-place win at the annual “Patriot Games” field day competition on Feb. 2 (photo by Bette Sharpe).

Sunnyslope High School’s Air Force JROTC cadets captured several first-place wins, as well as the all-around trophy, during the annual “Patriot Games” field day competition held Feb. 2 at Cactus High School.

More than 200 cadets from seven high schools participated in the games, which included the JROTC relay, Iron Cadet Challenge, ultimate fris-ball (a Frisbee and football hybrid game), dodgeball, volley tennis, flickerball, and tug-of-war.

The Sunnyslope team captured first place in the relay, fris-ball, volley tennis, dodgeball, and the tug-of-war, and received the first-place trophy for the top overall team.

Madison Elementary School District

Fundraiser held in new Center for the Arts
Journey down the rabbit hole April 13, with The Madison Education Foundation’s Imagination 2019 gala, “Wonderland.”

At this inaugural event, held 6:30-11 p.m. in the new Madison Center for the Performing Arts, attendees will sip, nosh and experience a performance of Convergence Ballet’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.” Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, two raffles and whimsical games. The evening will end with an after party complete with dessert and dancing.

Proceeds from the event support the Madison Education Foundation’s mission to enhance music and arts education across the entire district. Tickets are $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP attendees. VIP tickets include reserved seating to the performance, one raffle ticket providing guests an opportunity to have a seat named after themselves ($500 VALUE) and a signed print by artist Kat Katz.

For more information or tickets, visit

Applications accepted for open enrollment
The Madison Elementary School District is accepting applications for Open Enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year.

Each of Madison’s schools features a program designed to focus students on an area of excellence including STEAM, Arts, International Baccalaureate, Spanish Immersion and REACH Highly Gifted and gifted programs.

In addition to academics, the district takes a comprehensive approach to address the social and emotional needs of the students. This includes specific wellness programs and having social workers at each school site.

Applications are being accepted online for seven of the eight district schools at Madison Traditional Academy has different enrollment procedures and is no longer accepting applications.

The district also offers a preschool program at five school sites. For enrollment information, visit

Osborn Elementary School District

Dual Language program expands
The Dual Language program in the Osborn District has been a recognized program of excellence, having garnered an A+ Program designation many years ago.

With goals of bilingualism, biliteracy, and multicultural understanding for all, Osborn dual language students have been thriving for more than 20 years. With expansion to another grade level at Longview, a program beginning at Solano, and consideration of foreign language offerings at Osborn Middle School, Osborn could very soon have dual language or foreign language offerings at all five schools.

For more information about these programs, visit or contact Nicole McNeil at 602-707-2006.

Solano School launches new Heritage Program
Solano School recently kicked off its new Roots Program for Native American students. The program is an opportunity for students to connect to their roots.

Roots Lunch & Learn for fifth and sixth graders is a series of monthly workshops/field trips. During their first workshop, Well For Culture founders Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins led students through breathing and movement exercises and talked with students about wellness and holistic health from an Indigenous perspective.

Roots After-School Club for first and second graders is focused on cooking and gardening activities that connect students to traditional food sources.

Phoenix Union High School District

Metro Tech is strong in weight lifting field
When it comes to weightlifting, Metro Tech is powerful. The Metro Tech Girls Weightlifting Team repeated as state champions, and the boys’ team finished second at the Arizona High School State Championships, held Feb. 2 at Central High School.

The Knights had five individual state champions: Celina Ortega, 81-Kilogram (also named State Junior Lifter of the Year and a National Qualifier); Vivian Lara Olivas, 40KG; Jocelyn Gonzalez, 45KG; and Desslie Valencia, 86KG for the girls. On the boys team, Alan Ramirez took the top title with 109KG.

It was the largest high school Olympic Weightlifting event in the history of Arizona with 17 schools and weightlifting clubs participating.

Espinoza’s artwork earn his a scholarship
Christian G. Espinoza of North High School was one of 32 students whose artwork was selected for scholarship prize money during the New Horizons High School Student Art Exhibition, which recently took place at the Shemer Art Center, 5005 E. Camelback Road.

Espinonza’s entry of “Rosaly” earned him the Art Renaissance Initiative Award.

New Horizons is Shemer’s annual, valleywide high school student art exhibition. More than 40 schools participated this year. A total of 25 donors contributed 41 award scholarships totaling $2,950.

Students host a prom for senior citizens
North High’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter on Feb. 9 hosted a Senior Citizen Prom as a community outreach project, teaming up with the City of Phoenix at a local senior center. Over 100 seniors had a chance to dance, eat, make new friends and new memories.

Guests were provided a free prom photo and were encouraged to make song requests. Even after Donna Summers’ “Last Dance” song played at the end, guests wanted to keep dancing.

Washington Elementary School District

Bailey receives prestigious award
WESD Assistant Superintendent Lyn Bailey has been selected as the Public Educator of the Year by the School Social Work Association of Arizona. This award recognizes those “who have made an exemplary contribution to the academic and social success of children by focusing on prevention and or intervention with children to enhance their academic, emotional, and social functioning.”

Bailey has been instrumental in implementing and maintaining social work positions in the district. This has ensured that students’ social and emotional needs are addressed.

Bailey also serves on the First Things First Advisory Board and participates in volunteer events regularly. Bailey will be honored at an awards breakfast March 1.

Private and Charter Schools

Local youth on team that won robotics tourney

Taking home the championship title at the Arizona FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition was the Desert Coders team, including: Udbhav Akolkar, Félix Sarreal and Wesley Nelson (submitted photo).

Félix Sarreal of North Central Phoenix was part of a three-member team that captured first place in the Arizona FIRST Lego League (FLL) championship competition, held Jan. 19-20 at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Sarreal’s team, the Desert Coders, also included Udbhav Akolkar and Wesley Nelson, and was coached by parents Saurabh Akolkar and John Sarreal. Sarreal attends All Saints Episcopal Day School, and Akolkar and Nelson attend to Scottsdale Prep. They are all in the seventh grade.

About 700 students in 95 teams participated in the competition that tests skills in robotics and the fundamentals of engineering design and problem solving. The students had to build and program small robots from a LEGO MINDSTORMS kit and then operate the robots in accordance with a series of prescribed maneuvers and tasks.

As the first-place winner, the Desert Coders will go on to one of the FIRST U.S. Championship events in Houston in April.

Empower celebrates growth of campus
Empower College Prep on Jan. 24 held a community event celebrating the expansion of its school campus, located at 2411 W. Colter St. The event was attended by more than 800 students, staff, and community members.

The school has been approved for $16.9 million in bond financing to turn the current junior high and high school campus into a $20 million educational center serving K-12 students. When completed, the campus will include a 13,000-square-foot gym and 68,000 square feet of classroom and office space.

The event also kicked off a $2 million capital campaign, “Building our Futures Together,” which will fund a community center and new cafeteria.

The school currently serves 400 students in grades 7-11 and will add 12th grade next school year. Empower’s elementary campus, located inside North Phoenix Baptist Church, has 250 students, who also will move to the Colter campus next year. Empower plans to add K-2 the following year (2020-21). The finished site will have capacity for about 1,200 students.

Local girl has feature role in stage play
She may only be in fourth grade, but North Central youth Kate Williams recently had a starring role in Valley Youth Theatre’s production of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” which ran for three weekends in February.

The play tells the tale of a self-absorbed china doll rabbit who encounters new friends on an unexpected adventure and learns how to love and care for others along the way.

Williams, 10, who attends All Saints Episcopal Day School, starred as Abilene, a little girl who loves her doll rabbit, even though he is vain and self-centered. On an ocean voyage, Edward is accidentally lost, leaving Abilene heartbroken. Williams says that the story is one of her very favorite books.

Williams recently appeared in VYT’s “Annie” as Molly, and in Spotlight Youth Theatre’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” (Gladys).

Special tutor to help kids with dyslexia
Midtown Primary School, 4735 N. 19th Ave., has a qualified Barton Tutor helping young readers struggling with dyslexia. This break-through approach is now available at the school.

It is very specific procedure that was introduced to the school by one of the parents, who has since been trained in it and volunteered on the Midtown Primary campus while getting her Barton Certification. She will continue helping the kids next school year as one of the tutoring specialists.

For more information, call 602-265-5133 or visit

‘Trinity 9’ team wins aerospace challenge

Members of the first place “Trinity” team from SS. Simon and Jude School included, from left: Back row, Ava Larkin and Annie Dawson; front row, Adam Acunin, Nate George and Enzo Gonzales (submitted photo).

Trinity 9, an eighth-grade team from SS. Simon & Jude School, won first place in the Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge on Feb. 9. The Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge is the largest extracurricular STEM program for grade school and junior high school students in the state.

The five students on the Trinity 9 team created a scale model and written report about an International Logistics Mission to colonize Phobos, a moon of Mars, the primary purpose of this mission being the development of a plan to establish a sustainable base on Phobos with minimum support from Earth.

NASA astronaut Robert Gibson was in attendance and commended Trinity 9 team members on their knowledge of the material. These winning students from SS. Simon & Jude will enjoy a week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., this summer and be featured at half-time during the Fiesta Bowl game.

Art students’ work featured in periodical
Xavier College Preparatory’s Studio Arts Department has five students with art selected for publication in the National Art Honor Society News. They included seniors Emily Conn, Giselle Bojorquez, Sophia Gardos and Ava Kline, and junior Maddie Tribolet.

“I am regularly awed by the quality of my students’ work, but never to the point of taking it as a given,” said art teacher and department chair, Alison Dunn. “Instead I see it as a shared blessing: The students listen, practice discipline, add their unique gifts and imaginations, and produce something that can lift us out of ordinariness and open all the windows that art can open.”


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