North Central News

School Briefs, September 2022

Glendale Union High School District

Abby Wolf

Sunnyslope senior receives Congressional award

Sunnyslope High School senior Abby Wolf received the Congressional Gold Medal award this summer. The Congressional award measures physical fitness, personal development and voluntary public service.

Wolf completed over 400 hours volunteering with the National Charity League, which aided Phoenix Children’s Hospital and St. Mary’s Food Bank. Additionally, she spent 200 hours learning computer languages, which she used at the Sunnyslope Robotics Team. She also completed over 200 hours of physical fitness through tennis and individual enrichment.

Thunderbird High School’s NJROTC cadets received the coveted Sail Academy pin and certificate at the graduation ceremony.

Thunderbird NJROTC graduate from Sail Academy

Thunderbird High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets were among the 108 Sail Academy 2022 graduates.  NJROTC Sail Academy is a four-day and three-night experience that takes place each summer in Coronado, California.

The cadets camp on the beach and enjoy a variety of challenging events. The training includes the academic side of sailing, water survival, righting a capsized boat, hands-on sailing in a 16-foot sailboat, and culminates in a four-boat race in a 25-foot sailboat with a crew of four to five cadets.

Each Thunderbird cadet received the coveted Sail Academy pin and certificate at the graduation ceremony.

Kelli Abramovich, pictured on the right, led the Washington High School Dance for 23 years; Tracey Holberg, pictured left, will take on the leadership role.

Washington teachers receive dance award

The Washington High School dance program, under the former leadership of Kelli Abramovich for 23 years and the future leadership of Tracey Holberg, was awarded the 2022 Dance Program of Excellence Award for a high school.

The award comes with $500 to support Washington’s dance students’ growth.


Madison Elementary School District

Oasis tutor Roger Marce works with Harrison, a fourth-grader at Camelview Elementary. The Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring Program partners with the Madison School District to pair older adults with students who need literacy support (submitted photo).

Tutors make a difference in the life of a child

The Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring Program is looking for dedicated and caring volunteers to go back to school and donate their time to make a significant impact on early literacy.

Oasis is a nonprofit organization that partners with the Madison School District to pair older adults, who may or may not be retired, with students needing literacy support.  This program serves kindergarten through fourth grade children in four of the district’s elementary schools — Heights, Camelview, Rose Lane and Simis.

The tutoring program is for community members who are interested in sharing a love of reading with a child.  By becoming a literacy mentor, participants will support a student once a week for an hour during the school day to experience enjoyment and success in the skills of reading, writing and communication.  The program is as rewarding for adults as it is for children.

Tutors receive fun, interactive training with other volunteers, presented by a reading specialist who will provide a tutor handbook, supplies and materials. Training to become an Oasis Tutor will be held Sept. 27 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Camelview Elementary, 2002 E. Campbell Ave.

Those who are interested may contact Kim Gullo at kgullo@madisoned.org or 602-664-7285.


Osborn Elementary School District

Breakfast, lunch free for all students

Osborn School District is committed to providing every student in the school community with all the tools they need to succeed, including nutritious meals.

The district announced that it will continue using the school meal program option that offers school breakfast and lunch every day to all students at no charge during the 2022-23 school year. All children enrolled in Osborn schools can eat at no cost and there is no application required.

Participating in school breakfast and lunch helps provide nutritious food for children at school so they can concentrate better and learn more and saves families valuable time and money.

Families who have questions may contact any member of the Child Nutrition Department.

Students benefit from New Beginnings event

On July 19, Osborn School District took 25 students to the New Clothes New Beginnings Back to School event at Grand Canyon University. At this event, students were paired up with college students to “shop” for new clothing, shoes, backpacks, jewelry, hats and more. Afterwards, students ate lunch with their peers and the college students.

The Osborn students reported that they had a great time with some even claiming it was the “best day ever.” The district plans to take part in the event again next year and, hopefully, taking more students.

District addresses issues of pay equity

As a result of a recent compensation study, Osborn has made enhancements to its salary schedules and addressed other concerns related to pay equity. Specifically, the pay equity component addresses issues for current staff who have been with the district for several years and due to minimum wage increases, found themselves earning about the same as newly hired staff.

Through additional funding made available to the district, those inequities have been rectified. Additionally, the district has made enhancements to certified teachers schedules in an effort to value the work of professionals earning their master’s degree.

The district says that it continues its work to create a positive environment for both learning and work.


Phoenix Union High School District

Henderson finalist for ‘Teacher of the Year’

North High School teacher Erin Henderson has been named a top-10 finalist for the Arizona Educational Foundation’s (AEF) Teacher of the Year Award.

The AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards celebrates the dedication and hard work of Arizona’s public school teachers. Ten outstanding teachers of the year, all of whom have been nominated by colleagues, parents or students, are honored. One teacher will ultimately be chosen for a “year of recognition” as Arizona’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year. The awards ceremony is an opportunity for businesses, community organizations, local leaders, school districts and others who value teachers to join together to show appreciation and respect for Arizona public school educators.

The district said, “Phoenix Union is extremely proud to have two teachers currently in the running for the Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year Award.”

Learn more at www.azedfoundation.org/teacher-of-the-year.


Washington Elementary School District

Online Learning Academy opens enrollment

Enrollment is open for WESD’s new online school — the Online Learning Academy (OLA). Serving grades K-8, the academy provides full day, real-time instruction with WESD teachers. The OLA serves as another quality educational opportunity that meets students’ needs within WESD.

Those interested in enrolling a child in the OLA for the 2022–23 school year may send an email to distancelearning@wesdschools.org or visit www.wesdschools.org/wesdola. Space is limited in each grade level.

Chance Whiteman

Principal named Hope Honor recipient

Sunnyslope School Principal Chance Whiteman has been named a 2022 Hope Honor recipient by the MASTERS Institute. The award celebrates organizations and individuals for outstanding leadership, courage and efforts in embracing the Kids at Hope philosophy of all children are capable of success.

Kids at Hope’s vision is that every child is afforded the belief, guidance and encouragement that creates a sense of hope and optimism, supported by a course of action needed to experience success at life’s four major destinations: Home & Family; Education & Career; Community & Service; and Hobbies & Recreation.

Since implementing the Kids at Hope philosophy seven years ago when he became principal at Sunnyslope, Whiteman has led the school community in focusing on creating lifelong learners and building a successful future for all students. Whiteman will be recognized at a luncheon in celebration of his achievement this month.

Resource Center available for families

WESD has a resource center to help families engage in positive early childhood experiences. Designed to be a one-stop shop for families with young children, the Washington Resource Information Center (WRIC) connects families to community resources, provides parents with support workshops and helps prepare children for kindergarten. The center’s programs and resources are available to all families within the WESD. Specific WESD schools offer in-person programming including Moon Mountain Elementary School.

To learn about WRIC and the programming available at Moon Mountain this month, visit www.wesdschools.org/wric.


Private and Charter Schools

Xavier senior Sienna Cherwinski hopes to continue playing basketball overseas after graduating from college (photo courtesy of Cherwinski Family).

Xavier senior plays at regional NBA event

Sienna Cherwinski, a senior at Xavier College Preparatory, was selected by an NBA director to play at Basketball Without Borders 2022 in San Louis Potosi, Mexico.

Cherwinski played for Team Columbia at the camp that brought together more than 60 of the top high-school age boys and girls from throughout Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean to learn directly from current and former NBA and FIBA players, legends, and coaches, and compete alongside their peers from across the region.

Ten all-stars, including Cherwinski, were selected from Basketball Without Borders 2022 to play at the NBA Academy Games in Atlanta in July.

Cherwinski, beginning her third season as captain of Xavier’s Varsity team, plays point guard and shooting guard, and has been on Xavier’s Varsity Basketball team since she was a freshman. After she graduates from college, she hopes to continue playing basketball overseas.

Brophy presents fall auction

Brophy College Preparatory will hold its fall auction, Brophy Ranch, Saturday, Oct. 15. The event will take place from 5:30–11 p.m. on Brophy’s campus in Harper Great Hall. Event net proceeds will support the Brophy Financial Aid Fund.

Attendees will enjoy an evening under the stars with cocktails, a silent and live auction, and an afterparty with dancing to the music of Nate Nathan and the MacDaddy-O’s. Reservations will open on Sept. 8.

Jennifer Gillom

For more information and to make reservations on Sept. 8, visit www.brophyprep.org/giving/fall-auction.

Coach named to Hall of Fame

Jennifer Gillom, teacher and head basketball coach at Xavier College Preparatory, was elected to be inducted into the 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame. This was announced by the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission. Gillom was elected by public vote, held from April through early May this year.

The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame honors athletes, coaches, administrators, and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports. The new members will be honored during the Crest Insurance Group Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Nov. 1.

Gillom is a former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury and the Los Angeles Sparks. She was one of the first eight players to join the Women’s Professional League. Gillom is also a former Sparks head coach, coached the Minnesota Lynx; and was assistant coach of the Connecticut Sun.

Gillom played basketball at the University of Mississippi and helped the United States Basketball Team win a gold medal in women’s basketball in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Later, Gillom helped coach the 2012 gold medal team in London.

A rendering of the now completed Vista College Prep Metro North, on Peoria Avenue, just west of 19th Avenue in Phoenix (submitted photo).

New college prep campus opens

A new college prep charter school opened in the Metrocenter area, just in time for the 2022–23 school year.

Called VCP-Metro North, the new location is an adaptive reuse of an existing call center and was chosen after an extensive socioeconomic and demographic analysis. VCP is a tuition-free public charter school educating K-8 students in metro Phoenix.

This marks the fifth Vista College Prep (VCP) campus location in the Valley, with all campuses built by Stevens-Leinweber Construction. Space within the Metro North campus will also be used for a new branch of the Boys & Girls Club.

“VCP’s mission is to provide high-quality programming — often to underserved communities — that prepares kids for success in college and life,” said Julia Meyerson, CEO of VCP. “By locating within an existing building, VCP-Metro North can deliver on that mission at a much faster pace, in a market where population growth is placing heavy demand on education. We’re so proud and excited to start the 2022–23 school year at our newest VCP location.”

Located at 2133 W. Peoria Ave., VCP-Metro North totals 64,162 square feet in the Black Canyon Commerce Park. At capacity, VCP-Metro North will serve 820 students from kindergarten through eighth grade with state-of-the-art classrooms, a library, generous multi-purpose room, cafeteria services and administrative space. Future development includes the addition of a gym and soccer field.

In addition to the school, VCP has also partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley, which is opening its first branch in the area. The Boys & Girls Club Metro North Branch will initially only be available to Vista College Prep students and will offer after school, summer and sports and recreation programs.

For more information, visit www.vistacollegeprep.org or www.bgcaz.org.

Pictured, L–R: Conner Peeples, Gyan Carlo Morales, Enrique Ortega and Connor Park will spend a year in the Brophy Alumni Service Corps (photo courtesy of Brophy College Preparatory).

Brophy welcomes alums to Service Corps

Last month, Brophy welcomed back four Class of 2018 alums who will spend the year as members of the school’s Alumni Service Corps (ASC).

The ASC is a post-college service program for Brophy graduates and graduates of other Jesuit schools. Through their work as Brophy faculty members, ASC volunteers gain an important Ignatian service experience. The ASC volunteers also grow in their understanding of Ignatian spirituality through their community life and regular meetings with members of the Brophy faculty and the Phoenix Jesuit Community.

Beyond the work, an important element of the ASC experience is life in community. All ASC members live together and are intentional about structuring time for communal meals, communal prayer and reflection, and communal recreation.

Learn more at www.brophyprep.org/alumni/alumni-service-corps.

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