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Volume 8 • Summer 2018



Dear Phoenix Christian Family

long-standing practice for Phoenix Christian is to personally meet and interview each new family prior to enrollment. We share of commitment to an excellent Christian education. We share of our foundational goal that each student is defined by the opportunity to be “ . . .raised to new life with Christ, [with] sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand . . .[and where students] think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth [where] . . .real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3). Each interview is a moment to enter into a sacred commitment with each family. I recently met with a new family who immigrated to the United States in search of freedom to live as followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, their father found inspiration in the pilgrims who journeyed so many years ago to America to freely live out their commitment to Christ. He shared of defining moments of decision to guide his wife and three young children through a journey of nights filled with the dangers of communist militants and the perils of the African wilderness. He shared of a moment in which his quickly fading flashlight caught the eyes of an untold beast approaching his family. In darkness, he wrapped his arms around this family praying for God‘s protection. His story is filled with God‘s protection and provision. His story is defined by the momentum of his pursuit for God‘s greater authority as he guides his family to new horizons. Phoenix Christian is blessed and honored to be a part of God’s momentum in their life and the lives of each of our families. The theme of this issue is momentum as we celebrate the defining moments of 2017–2018 and anticipate God’s unfolding plans. Join me in celebrating the renovation of our gymnasium, our MESA state championships, our brand re-design, our back-to-back baseball championships and our new Early Education Center. As a community we want to celebrate God‘s goodness and blessings in each moment, while anticipating God’s divine momentum for Phoenix Christian. With prayer, Jeff Blake On the cover Coach Mark Band, Head Baseball Coach since 2004


Contents MESA State Champs

page three Gym Renovation page four Baseball Championships page six Elementary Move page eight Redesign page ten By the Numbers page twelve Featured Alumni page sixteen Calendar page eighteen

MESA State Champions


his April, Phoenix Christian won the MESA State Championship in both the high school and middle school divisions, a rare feat that came after months of preparation. “I am so proud of every student who worked from August to April on several engineering challenges from solar cars to computer science scavenger hunts,” said Kelby Milgrim, Director of STEM for PC. MESA stands for “Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement”, a school-based outreach program sponsored by the University of Arizona. According to the MESA website, the program is designed to “increase access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) pathways and encourage college readiness for lowincome, minority, or first-generation college-bound students in grades 6-12.” The state championship competition took place at Apollo High School in Glendale and PC fans made their presence known.  “Superintendent Jeff Blake as our cheerleader was amazing,” said Chelsea Palmer, PC parent and health aide. “He had our students cheering loud and proud. Everyone in that gym knew we were PC.” Our high school and middle school teams racked up points by placing in a variety of STEM-based challenges. Junior Miriam Murray participated on the high school team that took first place in the PVC bridge-building competition. Her team engineered and constructed a bridge that successfully supported 100 pounds. “At the very end of the ceremony, as a school we gathered around and thanked God for what he did,” Miriam said. “That will forever be one of my most favorite moments.”

Winning Team Hadley, Miriam, Erika, Kayla and Amber Middle School Team Chan, Brooklynne, Cerina, Mia and Payton



lumni, students and friends of PC alike all share a common love – our historic and iconic gym! Over the years in our gymnasium, athletes have left it all on that court, students performed wonderful theatre and music, student-government has had many fun and crazy assemblies, students have gathered for homecoming banquets, meaningful chapels and just a few dodgeball games. Of course, the rumor of a swimming pool beneath the gym floor still seems to emerge during new student orientation. The years of wear and tear on the floor and the connected weight and locker rooms became an increasing concern to the administration. Denise Ebert, PC parent and volunteer for Heart for the City, played an instrumental role in finding and applying for the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) 2018 Youth and Amateur Sports Biennial Grant. Denise recently shared what inspired her to pursue a grant of this magnitude. “Hmm, what inspired me? I would have to say, the history of Phoenix Christian and the kids. This is their school. These are their facilities and they deserve the best we can provide. I had the opportunity to read a little about the history of PC. Did you know the PC gymnasium was originally dedicated on December 5, 1957 and it was funded by the One-Dollar-A-Week or OAW Program? That means people could pledge one dollar a week ($52/year) to support the building of the gymnasium. When I read about the history of the school and the sacrifices during that time and since then that the Board, faculty/staff, parents and students have made to establish the school and to keep it running, I am in awe. Their example of selflessness and faithfulness have made a huge impression on me. Having an opportunity to help continue their vision while watching the lives of our kids be transformed, is an honor and despite the long days is my pleasure!” After almost an entire year of renovations, the gym is almost complete! The renovations began with the weight room in December 2017: new equipment, flooring, and paint updated the space. The gym floor came next, along with an updated center court logo (same cat, more bite!). In addition the gym is receiving new bleachers, new scoreboards, a new score table, and new backboards. Finally, the boy’s locker room will be renovated. In addition to the above, new uniforms and sports related equipment have been ordered. Keith Baker, our Director of Athletics shared, “to this point, it is pleasing to see the transformation of our historical facilities and to renew them for the next group of students who will be able to utilize them.” He notes a few stand-out contributors, Denise Ebert (who wrote the grant), Shane Sluga (who began the process of acquiring bids and project scope), the Board (who supplied the support funds combined with the grant funds to complete the project elements to date). And of course, AZSTA for awarding PC this remarkable grant! We invite our alumni to stop by for a tour! We would LOVE to show you around the newly renovated yet still iconic Cougar gym.


PC’s Iconic Gym Restored


Baseball Back-to-Back State Champions

Baseball Champs


hoenix Christian joined the list of the 8 Arizona high schools who have won at least four state titles in baseball since 1985 with our 2A State Baseball Title in 2018! Under the coaching of Winning moments Danny Jacques, the Cougars won after 10th inning win 2A baseball in 1998 and 2003 for PC Baseball and under the current Coaching of Mark Band, the Cougars won back-to-back state championships in 2017 and 2018. Steven Cochran, senior at PC, pitched the winning inning two years in a row. The Cougars defeated San Tan Foothills in the 10th inning, 6-4. “It was certainly a nail biter,” noted Jeff Blake, Superintendent. “I admire and respect Coach Band more than he knows and am so proud of our boys!” We also had a remarkable group of alumni in attendance at the game and enjoyed celebrating with the entire PC community. “Winning back-to-back state titles is so hard to do. It is a rare and special occurrence. Your team needs to be playing well and you need to get a break or two and to have that happen for us is just amazing. Just like last year, I am so thankful that God allowed me and our Cougar Baseball Family to enjoy this special moment,” shared Coach Band. And of course, we can’t skip over the 50th anniversary of the 1968 PC state baseball champions! PC invited the 1968 team to return to simultaneously throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Mark Band wonders, “if the boys were able to freeze frame these moments or would they need to wait 50 years to realize how precious these days are for them.”

Noah Janca, freshman at PC


Steven Cochran, Senior, Back-to-back winning pitcher

In 15 seasons with Coach Band, the overall PC Baseball W-L record is 257-148-2. Over the most recent THREE seasons (‘16, ‘17, ‘18), teams have an impressive 74-16 win-loss record.


Elementary Move to Early Education Center


arlier this year, the Board of Directors made the decision to purchase the former Light & Life property across the street with the vision of moving our growing elementary school. Moving across the street will afford our elementary students to have a wonderful playground with newly donated playground equipment, room for PE with a grass field and a new basketball court donated by the Phoenix Cardinals. In addition, students will have a tortoise habitat, renovated classrooms with new tile floors and paint, dedicated space for Art, Library and Reading Intervention, and a separate lunch room. Recently projected numbers indicate a need to include additional first and third grade classrooms. We have had an unbelievable parent work crew who have donated much of their time and resources to help with the renovations. A special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Guerrero, Mini Frogs Maintenance Team, Shane Sluga, Mike Wallis and Deep Within organization. We plan to have a schoolwide moving day, July 18th - look for more information on volunteering. Also, if you would like to volunteer to be a room parent and/or contribute to a particular classroom or need, please contact Lauren Scharnweber, We can’t wait to decorate these classrooms and get them ready for our students!



Rich History, Bright Future


It has been an incredible and humbling experience using our gifts to help Phoenix Christian progress in a positive direction. Back when I attended I never thought I would be doing anything like this. I believe PC is very special and has many unique aspects that need to be amplified. We understood that PC had gone through a difficult season, but through the guidance of its new leadership, has been able to right the course. With all that in mind our approach for the rebrand process focused on two key objectives: >First, modernize the visual identity and align the overall brand strategy with where the school is headed into the future.

ACADEMIC SEAL From here forward, Phoenix Christian will have two main identities – an Academic Seal and a School Logo. The Academic Seal will be reserved for items of extreme importance, such as diplomas or official letters from the office of the Superintendent. In most instances, PC will be represented by the School Logo. A modernization of PC’s historic crest, the School Logo will become the most readily recognizable PC mark to the public.


>Second, being that PC has the unique differentiator of being one of the oldest private Christian schools this side of the Mississippi, we looked for opportunities to highlight its academic and biblically-minded legacy.

Chip Allison, PC Class of ’02, Co-Owner of Monomyth Studio



>In the end, PC is equipped with a powerful brand that differentiates it as a school with an incredible legacy as well as it aligns with its new direction, focused on exemplifying excellence.

The Monomyth team identified four goals to collectively guide us through the rebrand process: • Celebrate the historic four pillars, which align with the school’s mission now more than ever • Own the color green • Establish a brand standard • Develop common language to be used by staff, students, and others affiliated with the mission of Phoenix Christian To learn more, please visit

The solo icon should be thought of as a more intimate icon, and should be used when the audience is already familiar with the PC visual brand.

Bringing Our History to Light Though we have simplified our school crest, we will not forget where we’ve come from. The original elements found within the crest, our historic Four Pillars, are given new life in a series of custom illustrations shown here. By giving these hidden gems a renewed prominence in our school brand, we hope to make our Four Pillars a better known part of our legacy and our mission.


Lamp set upon the word of god Evangelism at home & abroad

Cross & Crown intertwined Love for our neighbors conceptual rendering


By the Numbers Native American 3%● Biracial ● 2% ● Multi-Racial ● African 4% American 16%


● Hispanic 35%

International Numbers • 13 • 4 • 3 • 2 • 2 •1

China Vietnam South Korea Japan Thailand Ethiopia

Asian ● 11% ● Caucasian 28%

Other ● 1%

Graduates earned over $3M in scholarships.

STO Awards

(Scholarship Tuition Organization)

• Total Scholarships Awarded $1,537,299 • Students on Free/Reduced Lunch – 126 • 99 students fully-funded through scholarship awards

College Scholarships

• 2018 graduates earned earned over $3,000,000 in scholarships.

Dual-Credit Numbers

• 2018 graduates earned 368 total college credits. Those enrolled in dualenrollment averaged 15 college credits. One graduating senior earned 47 college credits!


College Matriculation Numbers Total Seniors 2 Year College 4 Year College/University In-State Out-of-State Unknown Military Christian Colleges/Universities

59 17% 76% 80% 20% 5% 2% 32%

High School Theatre performing Scapino.

100% of elementary students take Music, Choir and Art. Fine Arts Numbers

• 63% of high school students involved in a Fine Art • 25% of high school students involved in the Instrumental Program • 100% of elementary students take Music, Choir and Art

Spiritual & Leadership Numbers

• NHS served over 2,170 hours • Middle School & High School served 2700 group community service hours at over twenty different non-profit organizations. • 2 Blood drives with over 70 donating

Students performed over 4500 hours of community service.

Hadley Swier, third year art student at PC, sharing her painting.

93% of 2018 PC grads will attend college this fall.


Sports By the Numbers

Sam Woods, Kole Ebert & Jenny Thompson signing their letters of intent.

Athlete Numbers

• 80% play at least one sport • 40% play two sports • 10% play three or more sports • 3 of the 2018 graduates signed to play in college Samantha Woods – Wheaton College Volleyball Jenny Thompson – Trinity International Volleyball Kole Ebert – Arizona Christian University Basketball

Playoff Appearances in 2017-2018

• Football (12-1 overall, Metro West Region Champions, Advanced to 2A Conference Semifinals) • Basketball, Boys (19-10 overall, 2nd Place Metro West Region, AIA 2A Conference Play-In participant) • Baseball (26-5 overall, 2nd Place Metro West Region, AIA 2A Conference State Champions)

Individual Sports

• Track & Field, Boys: Corey Leary, Frankie Orosz, Manace Freeman, Julius Rodgers, Malik Taylor, Juan Taylor [4x100 Relay team], Isaac Pitman [shot put], Hunter Cole [javelin] competed at the State Meet. • Tennis, Girls: Maria Gonzalez advanced to round three of the Division III AIA State Tennis Individual Singles Tournament.

Sports Winning Division or State 2017-2018 • Football – 2A Metro West Region Champions • Baseball – 2A Conference State Champions (2nd Consecutive Baseball State title and fifth baseball championship for PC)

Coach Awards

• Mark Band, 1A-3A Baseball Coaches Association All Star Game Coach • Mark Van Sant, 2A Metro West Basketball Coach of the Year

2018 Tennis Team


Frankie Orosz, senior at PC, sprinting to the finish line.

PC Football wins 2A Metro West Championship. Senior, Hunter Cole throwing the javelin at one of the home track meets.

80% of students play at least one sport. PC Baseball wins it’s 2nd consecutive and 5th State Championship. 15

Featured Alumni


Tell us a bit about the journey from graduating PC to starting a branding and interactive studio.

Mike Giles and Chip Allison, Co-Founders, Monomyth Studios

fter graduating PC in 2002, I attended Trinity International University located in the north shore of Chicago, where I played football on scholarship and earned a dual degree in Business Marketing and Organizational Leadership/Development. It was early in my college years that Kay (my PC high school sweetheart and now beautiful bride of 13 years) and my mom encouraged me to pursue a more creative career path as opposed to the financing degree that I was originally going for. They could see that I had a creative side that wasn’t being fulfilled by the path I was on. Near the time I pivoted towards pursuing my marketing degree, my dad recommended that I meet with a Phoenix-based creative agency owner that he knew. I followed his advice, met with the owner, and was very inspired by what I learned. In fact, I knew in that first meeting that I wanted to own my own agency someday. I ended up staying in touch with that owner and he mentored me through the rest of college. He encouraged me to take graphic design courses while I was also earning my degree, which was incredibly helpful advice, as I was able to better understand the balance between business objectives and creative expression. Going through that extra effort equipped me with a stronger understanding of how to relate to both sides of the equation. Near graduation Kay and I had the opportunity to stay in Chicago due to an offer I received from the ad agency I was interning at during college but was also offered a position at that Phoenix-based agency. Ultimately, we felt led to return to Phoenix and accepted that offer. It was at that first design job that Mike Giles, my current business partner, and I met and developed a great friendship. During that time, we would discuss our aspirations of eventually owning our own studio and how we might “approach it differently”. After many years of prayer and seeking council from other agency owners, we finally felt led to venture out on our own. In 2013 we opened the doors at Monomyth Studio and haven’t looked back since. We knew we wanted to have a focused approach, mainly on brand and interactive engagements with clients. God has truly blessed our early years allowing us to work with clients across many different industries, both large and small, local and global. Our studio’s name is the literary term for the “hero’s journey” and we’ve felt that it was a good metaphor for how we serve our clients and equip them with what they need to face the giants of their industries and be the heroes. That’s why our motto is “you’re the hero, we’re the help”.


What experiences during your time at PC most impacted your life after high school? A few things: 1. Mr Blake’s passion for teaching drove my hunger for learning and pushing myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. It’s that instruction that pushes me to constantly be learning new things and ask the question of “what if”. I believe that is one of the most important creative questions to ask. “What if we” or “what if I”... try this creative idea. Once you pursue the idea it might be great or it might be the worst, but if you never ask the question “what if...” then you’ll never be able to blaze new creative trails.

Monomyth Studios - “Our team approaches every project with honesty and a genuine desire for your success. We draw on your industry expertise so we can guide you with ours.”

Monomyth Photography by Kym Ventola

2. Playing sports (specifically football) taught me the meaning of hard work, perseverance and a team mentality. More than anything in my career, I probably use those skills each day running a business and leading a team with my business partner, Mike. The truth is, running a business of any size can be very challenging. It takes everything I’ve learned on the field to get up each day, work together as a team to navigate through challenges, and celebrate together in the in-zone. I love the adage, “You might be able to move faster alone, but you are able to get further together,” and that has rung true at Monomyth.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the PC family? Excellence. Striving for excellence in everything we do does two things. 1. It’s a form of worship, as we honor God using the gifts and abilities to our fullest. 2. It’s a reflection of our creator to the world. If we strive for excellence in our homes and workplaces, we reflect the excellence of our God and inspire people to come along. People always want to be a part of something that is excellent or at least an organization that is striving for it.

Chip, Kay and their three beautiful children

Family photos by Jenny Tarau



e would love to hear from you! Please send updates or comments to

Calendar August 6 LAUNCH Event

August 8 First Day of School August 22-24 High School Retreat @ Lost Canyon October 5 Homecoming & Reunions

(Watch for Save the Date postcard)

October 24 AM PSAT Testing & 9th Grade STEM fieldtrip. PM - Parent/Teacher Conferences November 7 Serve Day November 12 Veterans Day observed No School November 19-23 Thanksgiving Break No School December 19-21 Semester Exams December 24-January 4 Christmas Break


Cougar Gear


If you are interested in purchasing new Cougar gear, please reach out to

Letter from the Editor


s I reflect on this issue, I stand amazed in the presence of God by His divine and immeasurable movement in and through Phoenix Christian. As every moment both seemingly insignificant and those stand-out moments shared in this issue build upon each other, one cannot deny that PC is gaining incredible MOMENTUM. Recently I had the honor of listening to a sermon by Dr. Rick Roth, PC Class of 1977 and former Bible Teacher and Athletic Director. Rick shared this incredible moment in history when this quirky and relatively unknown runner competed in the 1972 Olympics. Dave Wottle ran with a hat and tube socks and started the race last. This 800 meter run seemed pretty normal until this guy at the back with the hat started gaining momentum. He passed the group in the back, moved up toward the middle of competitors and at the very end of the race sprinted like the wind to reach the finish line to win the gold! Paul talked about running the race to win the prize BUT we’re running to win not in life but for eternity. And that’s why we have so many loving, dedicated teachers who keep teaching, why we have a tireless maintenance team who never quits, wonderful support staff who keep on loving, a committed Board who never gives up with an administration who keep pushing, dreaming and stretching. This race is about far more than winning, it’s about His Kingdom today and for eternity. Lisa Blake, M.A.Ed.

School Counselor

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

CougarNow Volume 8 • Summer 2018

Phoenix Christian Preparatory School


Jeff Blake


Lisa Blake


Michael Swaine


Cassie Ronda Keith Baker Jenny Tarau • Kym Ventola •

CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Tomb Cassie Ronda Steve Woods CougarNow Online Read this and other issues of CougarNow at We would like to hear from you. Send your emails to:



CougarNow Momentum