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Page 30 – North Central News, February 2013


Celebrating being named the student group of the year for the Glendale Union High School District are Sunnyslope Key Club members, from left: Ume Dine, treasurer; Kaci Demarest, secretary; Meredish Marshburn, president; and Kirsten Linnartz, vice president, along with Tom Birk, club adviser. Linnartz also was honored individually as an outstanding student (photo by Teri Carnicelli).

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By Kaci Demarest Recipients of the Achievement Above All awards from Sunnyslope High School were honored at the Glendale Union High School district office Jan. 8. Each year, one student, teacher, support staff, student group, and volunteer are honored for their work in going above and beyond. This year, the student recipient was senior Kirsten Linnartz. Linnartz is the vice president of the Key Club and National Honor Society, a member of the Spanish Honor Society, and a three-sport varsity athlete in cross country, track and tennis. In addition, she has received multiple awards for her achievements in the field of science. “I was really honored to represent Sunnyslope at the awards because this award is so prestigious,� Linnartz said. The outstanding student group was Key Club, a campus service group with more than 100 members, operating under the umbrella of the Sunnyslope Kiwanis Club. Key Club works with numerous organizations around the Valley such as St. Vincent de Paul and Desert Mission Food Bank. Some of the annual activities include adopting a family for the holidays, trick-or-treating for UNICEF, and making Valentine’s Day cards for residents at Madison Meadows retirement home. “I am extremely proud of the Key Club for winning the AAA award. We have organized many activities this year and the participation has been fantastic,� said Adviser Tom Birk.

Special Education Teacher Tiffany Graff was the teacher recipient this year. Graff teaches the Special Education class on campus, assisting with special needs students. “The thing I find most rewarding about teaching Special Ed is when a student comes up to us after they’ve made it through something they never thought possible,� Graff said. Bookstore Manager Nayla Olvey accepted the Outstanding Support Staff award. “I was shocked to get the award this year. It’s the most rewarding thing to have your peers recommend you like this,� Olvey said. Parent Volunteer Kevin Hanson was honored as well. Hanson is the president of the Sunnyslope Grid Iron Football Club, which is responsible for all funds and advertising for the football club. He also assists with multiple student organizations on campus. “It’s a real honor and privilege to be able to serve ‘Slope and the kids,� Hanson said. Editor’s note: Kaci Demarest is a junior at Sunnyslope High School, serving on the Viking Views student newspaper and as an officer of the Key Club.

Kiwanis honor local students Eleven local students were honored by the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyslope during its “Student of the Month� luncheon, held Jan. 10 at Sunnyslope High School. Nine were originally to be honored at a December luncheon but the event was unexpectedly cancelled. Honorees included seventh-grader Brian Ramirez and eighth-grader Jamie

North Central News, February 2013 – Page 31 SCHOOL DAYS

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Register Now! The Kiwanis Club of Sunnyslope honored eleven students at a luncheon in January. They included (TOP, FROM LEFT) Brian Ramirez, Jamie Williams, Jose “AJ” Herrera, Perla Vazquez Aguilar, Angie Mercado, (BOTTOM, FROM LEFT) Kishor Acharya, Savannah Blitch, Octavio Aaron Edgington, Miranda Howell and Ana Hernandez Rodriguez. Not pictured is Vanessa Leonardo, who was unable to attend (photos by Teri Carnicelli).

Williams from Sunnyslope School. Ramirez, who plays basketball and the trumpet, was applauded for always being on task, and for being a diligent worker who sets high expectations for himself while still making time to help others in his classes. Williams is a scholar athlete, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and membership in the National Junior Honor Society while playing on the volleyball, basketball and softball teams. Also recognized were Vanessa Leonardo, seventh grade, and Jose “AJ” Herrera, eighth grade, from Mountain View School. Leonardo was noted for her friendly demeanor, her drive and determination. Hererra was praised for his leadership skills as part of the Mountain View Community Action Team, and for the community service he performs as part of that team. Perla Vazquez Aguilar, a fifth grader from Desert View Elementary, was applauded for maintaining straight A’s and being on the Principal’s List. She is very conscientious, listening and taking notes and setting high expectations for herself. From Royal Palm Middle School, seventh grader Angie Mercado and eighth grader Kishor Acharya were highlighted. Mercado, who excels in math, reading and science, is always willing to help other students and even helps her younger sister with her homework. She also loves acting and hopes to pursue a career in that field some day. Acharya moved to Phoenix from Nepal just last year and already has advanced to taking freshmen-level Algebra. He is quick to smile and easygoing, as well as willing to participate in class and be a peer helper. From Sunnyslope High School,

senior Savannah Blitch was honored. She sang in the school choir all four years, making it onto the Vocal Ensemble Choir, and also participated in theater for four years, earning her an Honor Thespian designation. An avid writer and poet, she hopes to study in the field of publishing while in college. From Central High, senior Octavio please see AWARDS on page 32 Call (602) 263-5013 or email Jessica Elder at See you on Sunday!

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Page 32 – North Central News, February 2013

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AWARDS continued from page 31

Aaron Edgington was recognized. A member of the school’s Speech and Debate Team, as well as the Diversity Leadership Alliance, Edgington carries a 4.4 GPA and is in the top 2 percent of his class. He hopes to study political science and has applied to Duke University, Vanderbilt University and other out-of-state schools. Also recognized at the luncheon were two high school students who were the lone January Students of the Month. From Central High, Miranda Howell was described as being a quiet student who puts her head down and gets it done, whether class work or playing on the school’s basketball, softball and volleyball teams. She hopes to attend Dixie State College of Utah to study criminology in order to become a crime scene investigator. Ana Hernandez Rodriguez, a senior at Sunnyslope High, was praised for her work outside of the classroom, including serving as a member of the Key Club for four years and being a member of the Future Educators of America Club, as

well as and teaching math to refugee students during summer school. She will attend Phoenix College in the fall and then transfer to Arizona State University.

School Briefs CREIGHTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT Info session for foreign language Biltmore Preparatory Academy will hold an information session for its innovative Foreign Language Immersion (FLI) program, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4. In the new FLI program, Englishspeaking children spend half the day learning the curriculum in English and the other half learning in Spanish. The program is accepting students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade for the 2013-14 academic year. At the information session, parents will have the opportunity to meet the FLI teachers and administration, take a tour of the campus, and turn in their registration materials. Biltmore Prep is an “A-rated,” kindergarten through eighth grade

public elementary school serving the neighborhoods between 32nd and 40th streets, and Indian School Road and Northern Avenue. Children from outside the school boundaries are welcome to enroll to the extent space is available. To learn more, visit www.Biltmore, or call 602-381-6160.

GLENDALE UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT GUHSD receives national award Glendale Union High School District has been named the College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year for being the nation’s leader among mediumsized school districts in simultaneously expanding access to Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses and improving AP Exam performance. GUHSD students, teachers, district and school administrators, local public officials, and College Board members celebrated these achievements during an award ceremony on Jan. 16. In November 2012, Glendale was one of a record 539 school districts

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North Central News, February 2013 – Page 33 SCHOOL DAYS

across the U.S. and Canada that achieved placement on the Annual AP District Honor Roll. From this list, three AP Districts of the Year were selected, one for each category of district population size (small, medium, large). Among school districts with medium-sized populations, Glendale achieved higher increases in AP participation and performance than any other district in the United States. During the period from 2009 to 2012, the Glendale Union High School District: • Increased student participation in AP by 15 percent annually; • Increased the percentage of AP students earning a 3 or above on at least one AP Exam by 14 percent annually, with 51 percent of their AP students scoring 3 or above in 2012; and • Increased the percentage of traditionally underserved minority AP students earning a 3 or above on at least one AP Exam by 21 percent annually— an increase of 142 students last year. The district will be honored during the AP Annual Conference in Las Vegas in July 2013.

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Scholarship available for Sunnyslope students Sunnyslope Village Alliance and Credit Union WEST are offering a $1,000 scholarship to recognize and reward outstanding student achievement by Sunnyslope High School graduating seniors. The scholarship can be used for any accredited university/college/technical school attended on a part-time or full time basis. The award may be used for tuition, books or supplies. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 5. Pick up the application at Sunnyslope High School’s Career Center, and follow the directions for submitting the application.

MADISON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT Rose Lane gets roach-y visit Kindergarteners at Rose Lane have been learning about living and non-living things in the world around them. A recent visitor really got their attention in a gross way. please see VISITOR on page 34

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Page 34 – North Central News, February 2013 SCHOOL DAYS

VISITOR continued from page 33 Madison Simis students, from left, Corin Friese, Molly Bissa and Grace Wright were winners in the annual Valley Metro bus art contest. They each received a prize package that included a set of art supplies (submitted photo).

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, which only eat non-living plant materials, were brought to the classroom to discuss the natural recycling on living and non-living materials in the environment. The island of Madagascar was studied by looking at plant life, animal life and island living. Two brave volunteers even held roaches, “Maddy” and “May,” to walk them around the classroom for students to get a closer look.

Students’ art to appear in calendar Madison Simis Elementary had three third-grade winners for the annual Valley Metro Bus Contest. Molly Bissa, Grace Wright and Corin Friese will have their artwork featured in a desktop calendar that is distributed throughout the city. Valley Metro came to Simis in late December to present the winners with prize packages. More than 300 students entered from schools throughout the Valley, so it was quite an accomplishment to be selected.

They received their artwork back framed, a certificate, and a prize package that included a set of art supplies.

Park students donate to homeless shelter The fourth grade students of Gregory Patrick at Madison Simis Elementary really demonstrated a giving heart when they donated almost 100 toiletry items for Cass Homeless Shelter. Patrick has been helping the shelter this way for many years and a lot of families who have benefited from the generosity of Simis parents and

Patrick’s leadership are very grateful. The students left nice personal notes in each package, making this a heartwarming experience for all involved.

Facebook page for Madison alumni The Madison Elementary School District has launched a Facebook page for alumni. Former students are encouraged to add their favorite Madison memories and photos. Upcoming events and alumni happenings also will be posted. Visit this alumni page at

PHOENIX UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT Gestson named a Rodel winner Camelback Principal Chad Gestson was named one of seven winners for the 2013 Rodel Exemplary Principal Award. As part of the award, he will receive a $2,500 stipend and mentor three aspiring educators for two school years starting with the 2013-14 school year. The winners were selected “for their ability to inspire their staffs to contribute to school-wide success and the development of a campus that is high achieving, safe, orderly and welcoming,” according to the Rodel Foundation. Exemplary Principals provide professional development and mentoring to Rodel Aspiring Principals, creating a pipeline for educators who eventually can lead high-need schools. “Our greatest source of pride is our campus climate,” Geston said. “When students feel happy, safe and challenged, and the adults on campus are respected, trusted and viewed as leaders in the change process, then the environment is ripe for improvement.”

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North Central News, February 2013 – Page 35

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NBA Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bill Russell speaks to a student athlete at Central High School, where he stressed the importance of being “a complete package” and being strong in academics as well as athletics (submitted photo).

Athletes get advice from former Celtic The Central Bobcat Basketball team, along with other Central athletes, recently got the chance to listen to NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell. The Boston Celtic superstar spoke about how as an athlete and a student it is better to “understand, than be understood.” Russell pointed out to the students that he was cut from the junior varsity team when he was in high school,

but the varsity coach mentored him until he was ready for the next season. Russell used experiences from his life to explain to the students that they couldn’t just rely on only athleticism; they needed to be a “complete package.” He wanted the students to feel confident that there is a field where each student has a chance to succeed. He said finding that field comes only from education. please see RUSSELL on page 36

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RUSSELL continued from page 35

Russell also spoke about his career highlights, including his 11 NBA Championships. He pointed out a pair of Nike basketball shoes one of the students was wearing and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll just put it this way, I was the guy Michael Jordan wanted to be like.â&#x20AC;? He spoke to them about harnessing the motivation and drive they all feel as athletes and applying to their studies. Russell stressed that while basketball was his passion, it did not come easy to him. He learned to be a great defensive player simply because he â&#x20AC;&#x153;could not shoot.â&#x20AC;? By the time he got to the Boston Celtics in 1956, Russell said he had practiced three hours a day, seven days a week for seven years.

Central gets visit from sister school Central High was visited on Jan. 14 by students and teacher-chaperones from its sister school in Costa Rica. The visit, from the Santa Maria de Guadalupe High School, was sponsored by the Global Studies magnet program.

Central already had visitors from Japan in the fall semester, and contingents from China and Mexico are coming in the spring. Members of the Global Studies magnet program also visited Japan during fall break, and will go to Costa Rica in the spring. For more information on the Global Studies magnet, call 602-764-7569.

North gets funding for robotics contest The North Robotics Club is ready to roll into its spring competition season with a bonusâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the needed funding necessary to compete. Boeing awarded a $5,000 FIRST@Boeing grant to the team, the first year that North has been awarded a grant from a corporate sponsor. In addition to being awarded the funds, Boeing provides the team mentorship through one or more of its employees who become an official part of the team. The robotics club also has raised more than $5,000 in Arizona Education Tax Credit donations so far. Science teacher George Cardenas is the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adviser, who has spearheaded the fundraising efforts. The club has experienced incredible growth in interest and membership.

WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT Teachers earn national certification Three teachers in the Washington Elementary School District recently earned National Board Certification (NBC), an advanced teaching credential that is the highest level of distinction a classroom teacher can achieve. Among them were Erin Johnson, first grade teacher at Mountain View School, and Leslie Perry, kindergarten teacher at Richard E. Miller Elementary. WESD has the fifth-greatest number of NBC teachers in the state. Their dedication to their profession and their desire to achieve at the highest level are indicative of the passion for teaching found throughout the WESD. Johnson and Perry were among 107 in Arizona to receive certification this year and among 4,980 teachers nationwide. To earn National Board Certification, teachers demonstrate their knowledge and skills through a yearlong series of performance-based assessments, including a portfolio of lessons and samples of student work,

North Central News, February 2013 – Page 37 SCHOOL DAYS

Recently signing letters of intent are Xavier students, from left: back row, Shannon Elford, Katie Park, Amanda Benson, and Ellie Ladensack; front row, Michaela Dooley, Katie Werner, and Lauren Johnson (submitted photo).

videotapes, and rigorous analysis of their classroom teaching. Teachers also complete a formal written evaluation that probes the depth of their teaching knowledge.

Congresswoman visits Sunnyslope Rep. Kirsten Sinema, who represents Arizona District 9, paid a special visit to Sunnyslope School on Dec. 19. Sinema is a former employee of the Washington Elementary School District, beginning her career out of college as a social worker at Sunnyslope. Sinema worked in WESD for seven years before becoming a lawyer, a lobbyist and then later a member of the Arizona Legislature. She took the oath of office on Jan. 3. Sinema visited with eighth-grade students for nearly an hour, sharing her personal story and then answering students’ questions. Students asked Sinema’s opinions on a variety of issues from immigration and SB 1070 to gun control and how to balance the federal budget. Sinema ended her visit by signing the school’s “no-bullying” sign that was set to be installed after the winter recess.

PRIVATE AND CHARTER SCHOOLS Xavier students sign letters of intent Seven student-athletes from Xavier College Preparatory have signed letters of intent with the following colleges and universities: Amanda Benson will play volleyball for the University of

Oregon; Michaela Dooley, a soccer player, heads to the University of San Diego; Shannon Elford will row for the crew team at St. Mary’s College of California; Lauren Johnson will play softball at the University of Arizona; Ellie Ladensack will play volleyball at Concordia University; Katie Park takes up a bat for the softball team at University of Virginia; and Katie Werner will shoot hoops for Yale University.

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Students encouraged in math, science Xavier College Preparatory will partner with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University to host its fifth-annual “Girls Have IT Day” on Friday, March 1, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Developed by Xavier students and faculty, “Girls Have IT Day” promotes young women’s involvement in science, information technology (IT), engineering, art and math (STEAM). More than 400 middle school girls from around the Phoenix metropolitan area will participate in the event, along with more than 100 Xavier students who will mentor the younger students throughout the day. The program will begin with a lecture by Xavier alumna Emily Weissinger, an associate with ENVIRON International Corporation. Afterward, students will participate in a hands-on, STEAM-focused activity fair hosted by members of Xavier’s various student clubs.

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Brophy College Preparatory’s soccer team, the No. 1-ranked high school soccer team in Arizona, recently returned from the Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament in Orlando, Fla., where eight of the top programs in the country—including nationally ranked teams from Florida, Texas, Arizona and Mississippi—were invited to participate in a winner-take-all national championship event. Brophy, then ranked No. 16 in the country, faced No. 28 American Heritage-Delray in the quarterfinals, and coasted to a 4-0 win courtesy of two goals from senior Riggs Lennon, and one each from seniors Colin Jackson and Oliver Shanks. In the semifinals, Brophy took on undefeated Boca Raton—the No. 1 team in the nation—in a fastpaced and exciting match between two well-respected soccer programs. Once again, Brophy prevailed 2-0, thanks to goals from Lennon and senior David Lane and great defending from senior goalkeeper Michael O’Connor and

senior defenders Clarence Clark, Colin Zaccagnio and Justice Kelly. In the championship game, Brophy met the No. 2-ranked team in the nation, tournament host Montverde Academy, in a televised game before a sellout crowd in a soccer-only stadium with music blaring, fireworks, and more than 30 college coaches in attendance. Montverde currently holds the nation’s longest undefeated streak—56 games —and fields a team of South American, Caribbean and Canadian soccer players, several of whom play for their respective youth national teams. In an exciting final, Brophy took the lead on a fantastic goal from Lennon, but Montverde tied the game just before halftime, and added two goals late in the second half to win, 3-1. Lennon was awarded the “Golden Boot” as the top scorer in the tournament, and O’Connor and Clark joined Lennon on the “All Tournament” team. Brophy’s national ranking has now climbed to No. 8, and the Broncos head into the Arizona state high school tournament as the team to beat.

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The Brophy Broncos soccer team, from left: bottom row, Scott Levine, Justin Barnes, Mike O’Connor, Wyatt Dial, Daniel Shaw, Ryan Bertenshaw, Tyler Dial, Phil Mourikes, Clarence Clark, Colin Jackson and Justice Kelly; top row, Ian Poblete, Connor Coleman, Cesar Alcantara, Javier Bernaldo, Clay Kiggins, Alex Broglia, John Rea, Adam Mosharaffa, David Lane, Ben Epstein, Colin Zaccagnio, Brett Schumacher, Riggs Lennon, Ryan Grotjohn and Oliver Shanks (photo by Darla Sipolt).