Arizona School for the Arts’ Perfect 5th team, consisting of Daniel Chow, Robyn “Rob” Foley, Lily “Loki” Horowitz, Daniel Chow, Louis Swenka and Pearl Swenka, took home the top awards with the Robot Performance Award and the Champions Award at the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge Qualifying Tournament in December (submitted photo).

Robotics team heads to state competition

The Middle School Robotics teams from Arizona School for the Arts won five awards at their FIRST LEGO League Challenge Qualifying Tournament Dec. 2. Led by 8th grade science teacher Beth Wootten and coaches, three of the four teams succeeded in qualifying for the FIRST LEGO League Robotics State Championship set to take place in January. All teams that made it to the State level from the qualifier were from Arizona School for the Arts.

The Perfect 5th team, consisting of Daniel Chow, Robyn “Rob” Foley, Lily “Loki” Horowitz, Daniel Chow, Louis Swenka, and Pearl Swenka, took home the top prestigious awards with the Robot Performance Award and the Champions Award. Their coach, Dr. Jimmy Chow, was nominated and won the Coaches Award.

The Scale-Y Green Goblins team, which included Cyan Tamala, Beck Tamala, Nico Tamala, Gabe Vynalek, and Gretchen Woods, won the Core Values award.

The E-STEAM-ed Gentlemen team, made up of Maks Ariza, Liam Brown, Kai Halavais, Dylan Moses, and Bryson Shields, won the Innovation Project Award. Finally, ASA’s fourth team,

The Skeletons, composed of new students Jacob Alexander, Wyatt Eckroth, Ean and Cayden Lim, Dayden O’Connell, and Luke Tallman, secured the ninth position in the robot missions in their first-ever tournament.

School celebrates new campus spaces

At a Dec. 14 ribbon-cutting event, Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) celebrated its new outdoor amphitheater as well as enhanced student quad and performance and production lab. All of the spaces are part of the school’s continuous efforts to provide students with enhanced facilities, including indoor and outdoor performing arts learning environments and community areas on the campus where they can connect, create, study, play, and perform.

Special guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony included Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari. ASA’s board members were in attendance, as well as students and their families, administration, faculty, staff, and community leaders. The event featured live student performances.

The new facilities will provide the nearly 800 ASA students and their families with more opportunities to engage in school events, assemblies, concerts and gatherings. The amphitheater offers seating for approximately 350 and will be available to partnering youth arts groups, such as the Phoenix Youth Arts Collective, and organizations that align with ASA’s mission and commitment to education and the performing arts.

Arizona School for the Arts is located at 1410 N. 3rd St., Phoenix. Learn more at or by calling 602-257-1444.

ASA to host open house

Families and new prospective 5th- 12th-grade students are invited to attend an Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) open house on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m.

This event offers the opportunity to learn more about ASA, whose mission is to inspire creative thinkers and leaders through an innovative concentration in college prep informed by the performing arts.

Informational sessions about the school’s mission, values, programs and the enrollment lottery process will start at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., followed by a Q&A session and a student-led campus tour. Following the tour, families and students are welcome to “mix and mingle” with administrators and members of our faculty in our newly completed outdoor amphitheater.

For more information and to submit an enrollment application by Jan. 18, visit

Brophy honors fall ‘Distinguished Students’

Each year Brophy selects 16 seniors in the fall and 16 in the spring as Distinguished Students. On Tuesday, Dec. 5, Brophy honored the following seniors as Fall Distinguished Students: Will Carter, Nate George, Arjun Hemmady, Ransom Kaul, Aidan Kelly, Jack Kireopoulos, Benjamin Kravets, Jack Kyle, Iain Lanphier, Roman Mauskopf, Bennett McDonald, Renzo Moran, Hayden Penn, Andrew Phillips, Khalid Quintana and Sam Skrovan.

Those recognized are young men who have shown a special commitment to serving the community in unique ways that often intersect with the talents and interests they’ve discovered and developed while at Brophy. They have also shown a commitment to growing toward the Jesuit-educated graduate at graduation: intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving and committed to doing justice.

Phoenix Christian Preparatory School students spent Giving Tuesday serving more than 30 different Valley nonprofits (submitted photo).

Students give back on Giving Tuesday

Phoenix Christian Preparatory School students gave a lot during Giving Tuesday, an event held annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. The school said that more than 300 students served at over 30 different nonprofits.

The day of giving included ministry with Redemption Alhambra, walking along the canals, giving out sandwiches, water, and other supplies to unhoused families, packing food boxes at Feed My Starving Children, cleaning the alleyways in the school’s own St. Gregory neighborhood, and serving at many other nonprofits around the Valley.

Students at Phoenix Christian spend three days per year serving around the Valley and are also required to serve 20 hours throughout the year.

Jeff Blake, superintendent at Phoenix Christian said, “I could not be prouder of our students! They got dirty, picked up trash, kneeled to give food to the homeless, packed food boxes, translated for families who were shopping for food and clothing, pulled weeds, and so much more! No doubt these service days help us accomplish our mission, to educate the minds, form the hearts, and equip the hands of students in a Christ-centered atmosphere.”

Teams compete at ‘Illuminate’

Four teams of Xavier College Preparatory computer science students competed in the semi-final round of the Arizona State University Illuminate Challenge. The teams were tasked with creating an innovative and novel idea addressing sustainable and inclusive infrastructure that could benefit all communities, including those in developing regions. The challenge was centered around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.

For the first rounds, students created two deliverables: a 10-page written proposal and a video presentation. Two of the four Xavier teams participating in the semi-finals were chosen for the final. At the semi-final round the students showcased their projects in a 5-minute pitch to the judges and audience.

The first winning group is EcoPod, featuring Sonya Colattur, Makenzie Lopez, Abigail Pearson, and Cara Schillinger. The second winning group is Ecoden, featuring Aku Baral, Sophia Herget, Anna Johndrow, and Alexis Muirhead. These teams will move forward to build out their projects in the second semester with full funding at the Luminosity Lab at ASU.

Xavier student Talia Udelman presented her research paper at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Ottawa (photo courtesy of the Udelman family).

Xavier senior presents research

Xavier College Preparatory senior Talia Udelman was selected to present her research paper at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Ottawa, Canada. She was one of only seven high school students nationwide selected to present their papers virtually to the attendees at the conference.

Udelman’s paper, entitled “Hamilton and History: A Sentiment Analysis of Public Opinion on Alexander Hamilton,” focused on the theater musical “Hamilton” and whether it had an effect on the sentiment of public history and opinion. She used the computer science technique sentiment analysis to analyze the tone of public opinion.

The American Anthropology Association works to advance anthropology as the science that studies humankind in all its aspects. Udelman plans to major in anthropology when she attends college next fall.


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