Members of the Brophy-Xavier Speech & Debate team took a moment of relaxation before taking first place at the National Qualifier (photo courtesy of Brophy College Preparatory).

Schools place first in qualifier

The Brophy-Xavier Speech & Debate team took first place in Team Sweepstakes and Debate Sweepstakes at the National Qualifier, held March 21-23, at Brophy. The team’s impressive showing marked the first win for the schools since 2015.

The winning team of students from Brophy and Xavier College Preparatory included Hope Smith in Dramatic Interpretation; Mahima Sanghera and Timothy Jiang in Lincoln-Douglas Debate; Yug Sonawane and Ethan Han  in Policy Debate; Santiago Paul and Dione Pahilan in Policy Debate; and Lucas Vargas and Elise Kindle in Informative Speaking. These students will go on to participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament in June.

Pictured right to left at an April 8 tree planting are Phoenix Day School for the Deaf Principal Jill Voit and students Kotu Salih and Miracle Brooks, as well as Annette Reichman, Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) superintendent, Kayla Killoren, city of Phoenix Tree Equity Project coordinator, District 5 Councilwoman Betty Guardado, and ASDB staff Shelley Beaudean and Maria Murphy (submitted photo).

Grant provides campus shade

Phoenix Day School for the Deaf (PDSD), the Phoenix campus of Arizona Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASDB), hosted a tree planting event Monday, April 8, to celebrate a grant from the city of Phoenix.

The school planted 20 trees around the campus to provide much needed shade for students and faculty. District 5 Councilwoman Betty Guardado was on hand as two PDSD students helped plant the trees.

The funds to purchase and plant the trees are part of the American Rescue Plan Act sponsored by the federal government. PDSD is the second school to receive this grant. The school said that the benefits to adding shade trees on campus include enhancing learning, improving mental health, cooling the campus and cleaning the air.

School takes second at mock trial competition

Thirteen teams from across the state competed in the annual state Mock Trial Tournament March 23, and Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) took home a second-place win.

The Arizona High School Mock Trial Program, co-sponsored by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education and the State Bar of Arizona’s Young Lawyers Division, teaches students in grades nine through 12 about the law and the legal system by participating in a simulated trial.

During the event, student teams study a fictional case and present their argument in front of a judge to demonstrate their knowledge of the legal and justice system.

Network of schools earns certification

Madison Highland Prep and Highland Prep Academies announced that they are the first network of schools to earn Cognia STEM Systems Certification in the world. The STEM certification was conferred by the Cognia Global Commission.

To earn the certification, Madison Highland Prep and Highland Prep Academies participated in a thorough STEM system review led by an Arizona team of regional accreditation evaluators. Highland Prep Academies provided evidence ranging from videos to write-ups, which was evaluated in four areas: Culture of Learning, Leadership for Learning, Engagement of Learning and Growth in Learning. After reviewing the collected evidence within those four areas, the resulting STEM score was 3.6.

Highland Prep Academies’ focus on collaborative problem-solving skills, technology and information literacy, thinking and metacognitive skills, and studying and learning skills throughout all curricular areas led to 100 percent of thier graduating seniors accepted into a four-year college or university for the past six years.

An Xavier team that included Mackenzie Lopez, Sonya Colattur, Cara Schillinger and Abby Pearson, placed first at the ASU Illuminate Challenge (photo by Lisa Zuba).

Team places first at Illuminate

The Xavier College Preparatory team placed first at Arizona State University (ASU) Illuminate Challenge. The challenge is a year-long competition to help solve global sustainable development goals through innovative creations. Students gain valuable experience through the development of their projects, networking, and teamwork. The program is part of ASU’s Luminosity Lab, which provided mentors for each team throughout the development process.

Xavier’s first place team was composed of seniors Abby Pearson, Mackenzie Lopez, Sonya Colattur, and Cara Schillinger. Their innovation was the development and creation of EcoPod, a mobile and solar powered composting planter. Third place winner was a Xavier team of juniors Aku Baral, Sophia Herget, Anna Johndrow, and Alexis Muirhead. They created EcoDen, sustainable solar-powered tents for the homeless population.

Arts showcase wraps school year

The Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) invites residents to attend “Imaginarium: An ASA Showcase,” scheduled for Thursday, May 30, at 6 p.m. at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave.

The annual year-end culminating performance event will feature performances from students in all of ASA’s performing arts departments, including band, choir, dance, guitar, piano, strings and theater. The students will present solo and ensemble acts, student-devised works, academic and club installations, and interactive surprises. The community is invited and proceeds will support the school’s performing arts programming and events. Purchase tickets and learn more at


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