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June 1 – 14, 2013




June 1 – 14, 2013

PJHS promotes reading across school

RESOURCERESS: Stephanie Merrill has been a media specialist for 30 years. This is the third year Merrill has “showcased” a book for the entire school to read. STSN photo by Tracy House By Tracy House

Action, adventure, mystery, they have it all and the students at Payne Junior High School (PJHS) in Queen Creek, are actively enjoying the fast-paced, dystopian books media specialist and self-titled “Resourceress” Stephanie Merrill is suggesting they read. For the third year, Merrill encouraged the entire school to read a book appealing to young adults, male and female. The first two years Merrill promoted “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins for students to read. This year she chose two books as part of her suggested reading, “Lost in the River of Grass” by Ginny Rorby for seventh graders and “Divergent” by Veronica Roth for eighth graders.

“I wanted a book that would have both a male and female main character so that it would appeal to both boys and girls,” Merrill says. “And it had to be a book that I thought was exceptional, worth the advertisement of the book or push of the program.” Merrill says she chose “Lost in the River of Grass” because it is about a boy and a girl who get lost in a swamp and to be able to survive they have to communicate. “It has the adventure of survival and some scary parts and good communication between a boy and a girl for that age.” “Divergent” is a dystopian novel she explains, much like “Hunger Games,” where when you reach a certain age you have to choose one of seven factions to become part of. “Very much a suspenseful adventure,” she adds. More than half of the school read “Hunger Games” the first year Merrill made the book widely available. This year over 50% of eighth graders read “Divergent” and 35 % of seventh graders read “Lost in the River of Grass.” She mentions 25 % of the PJHS staff read “Divergent” and teachers recommended reading the books. “They (students) get a little more excited when they (teachers) are talking about it.” Language arts teachers supported the push to read the books as well. “One teacher used “Divergent” for a literature study and one teacher used “Lost in the River of Grass” in literature circles,” Merrill adds. “A lot of my friends said that it was good and they recommended it for all the seventh graders,” says Macie Mann, 13, a seventh grader in Rhea Steyer’s language arts class, who read “Lost in the River of Grass.” “I like adventure and mystery, because it’s sort of like a mystery book because you don’t really know what’s going to happen next,” she says. Macie read the book at school in class and recommends reading it. “I waited to hear about it first to make sure it was good. I can’t

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PAYNE READS: PJHS students Josh Garrido, 14, Macie Mann, 13, and Sabrina Robles, 14, took part in the schoolwide reading of selected titles. STSN photo by Tracy House

read a book and it not be good because I just won’t be interested in it.” Josh Garrido, 14, an eighth grader in Michelle Hamilton’s language arts class, read “Divergent” on his own and then a second time in class as a literature study. “They were advertising it, ‘If you like “Hunger Games,” this is “Hunger Games” on steroids,’” Josh says. “Previously I read the entire series (‘Hunger Games’) and I really liked it and I wanted to read it (‘Divergent’) to see what it would be like. Basically it follows ‘Hunger Games’ with their different societies, this has factions.” The book appealed to him because of the similarities. An avid reader, Josh has read 50 books this school year, enjoys sci-fi , fantasy and action and “Divergent” fit in. “Overall it was a really good book,” he says. “I really liked it.” Josh has read the second book in the series, “Insurgent,” and plans to read the third in the series, “Allegiant,” when it comes out in October. Sabrina Robles, 14, another eighth grader in Hamilton’s class, says she enjoyed “Divergent” and the main characters bravery. Sabrina is putting “Insurgent” on her summer reading list. Money to buy the two sets of 60 books came from a $500 grant she received from the Chandler Education Foundation. Merrill says her principal, Paul Bollard, has been generous, but doesn’t have the budget to support the library that he used to. She estimates she has received about $1,500 from Bollard to buy new books this year, but most of the new books for the library were purchased with money raised from the Fresh and Easy fall fundraiser and through selling bottled water in the library. The water is purchased with the money raised through bottles sold. She says she raises about $90 a week from the bottled water sales. “We get the water wherever it’s on sale,” Merrill says and mentions donations of bottled water are always appreciated. Merrill plans to add a third title to her suggested reading list next year. “I would say if a student feels like I can recommend a book that they liked that they’ll always come back and ask me again, especially those kids that don’t read,” she explains. “If I can get one book in their hands that they liked then they’ll trust me to give them another title. It increases interest in the library.” Tracy House is a freelance writer living in Ironwood Vistas with her husband and four children. She can be reached at


June 1 – 14, 2013

Swim school goes for record try


Rising stars

SanTan Sun-area families are invited to help SWIMkids USA attempt to break the 2012 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson Guinness World Record at 8 a.m. Tue., June 18, when the school joins venues around the world in a swim lesson at the same time. SWIMkids USA is at 2725 W. Guadalupe Rd., Mesa. To reserve a spot, contact SWIMkids at 480-8209109, or visit

PSAT/SAT test prep classes offered

SanTan Sun-area students can gain a competitive edge and sharpen their test-taking skills in a PSAT/ SAT test-taking class offered this summer at the EAJ Institute, a division of New Vistas Center for Education in Chandler. The two-week classes prepare students for the PSAT and SAT exams, with complete reviews of Latin and Greek roots, construction of persuasive essays, mathematics principles from basics to calculus, complex reasoning and problemsolving techniques, vocabulary and language arts. The classes are geared toward advanced students in seventh through 11th grades. Class sizes are limited. Classes are offered at the New Vistas campus at 670 N. Arizona Ave., Suite 35, Chandler. For more information, call 480-963-2313 or visit

PRIZE PUPILS: Current and former students at New Vistas Center for Education in Chandler were honored recently at an Academic Awards Ceremony hosted by Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) in Tucson. The CTY Awards Ceremony recognizes some of the most academically advanced second- through eighth-grade students across Arizona; out of more than 2,000 Arizona schools, New Vistas had the highest number of scholars honored, including students Katarina Fenner, Bryan Gopal, Jarrod Hebert, Rashi Magiyawala, Shreya Sreekantham, Sahitha Vuddagiri, Alexis Vohs and graduates Anika and Christian Banister. Pictured left to right: Sahitha Vuddagiri, Rashi Magiyawala, Bryan Gopal, Katarina Fenner, Alexis Vohs. Info: Submitted photo

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June 1 – 14, 2013

Free week for new Kids Inc. families

Montessori summer school enrolling

A free week of care is a bonus for new families who sign up their children before July 31 at Kids Inc. in Fulton Ranch Promenade in Chandler. The school’s infant care offers individualized, loving baby care, with nurturing teachers who focus on fine and gross motor skills, receptive and expressive language skills and hand-eye coordination. Kids Inc. is at 4991 S. Alma School Rd., at Alma School and Chandler Heights roads in Chandler. To learn more, visit or call 480-821-5437.

Enrollment is open for summer sessions running June 3 through July 26 at Casa del Nino Bilingual Montessori School, 2625 W. Queen Creek Rd., Suite 6, Chandler. All activities are based around the Montessori philosophy, and include outdoor water play, arts and crafts, creative play, building, games and daily work in practical life, sensorial, math, language, geography, social studies, science and Spanish. Cost is $375 per two-week session. Call 480-963-2550 or visit to learn more.

Campo Hoops clinics fun for kids

Summer driving school steers teens right A summer driver’s education academy is offered 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday June 17 through 28 at Hamilton High School, Room 100, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler. Cost is $445 for the course, which is offered through a partnership between Tempe Community Education Program and Chandler Community Education. The course prepares students for the written driving permit test as well as the road test; coursework consists of the state-required 30 hours of classroom instruction, which includes three hours of practice on a driving simulator and three hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. A certificate of completion is issued for each portion of the course. To register, visit mychandlerschools. org/domain/66.

EVIT students offered free summer class

Basketball clinics for boys and girls in grades K-8 are offered this summer at Campo Verde High School, 3870 S. Quartz St., Gilbert. Campo Hoops clinics include a ballhandling skills clinic June 3 through 6 and a defense skills clinic June 10 through 13; cost is $45 for each. Participants can earn prizes such as shirts, shorts, sport packs, water bottles and basketballs. For more information or to register, contact or Campo Verde High School Varsity Boys Coach Michael Wirth at 480-694-4835.

High school students attending East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) this fall can take advantage of a free threeweek class offered this summer at EVIT’s Dr. A. Keith Crandell Main Campus, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa. The class, which incorporates required government and economics courses, is taught by Arcadia High teacher Clayton Guy and runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays beginning June 10.

EVIT provides tuition-free, occupation-specific programs for students from 10 school districts, including Chandler Unified and Gilbert Public Schools, as well as charter, online and homeschooled students. Classes are also open to adult students at competitive tuition rates. Contact Sylvia Aldaz at 480-461-4108 or Kristie Kehrer at 480-461-4110 for more details or go to




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Area girls sought for Scouts


June 1 – 14, 2013


Pulling together

SanTan Sun-area girls can learn how to begin their Girl Scouting adventures at a Girl Scouts recruitment event hosted by Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council from 1 to 4 p.m. Sat., June 15 at Chandler Fashion Center, Community Room, 3111 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler. Go to to learn more.

CUSD puts new app on the map Chandler Unified School District is the first school nutrition program to launch its own menu app with real-time nutritional information. CUSD Food is a free iOS application designed for the iPhone/iPod Touch and compatible with iPad. It is only available for download via the iTunes App Store; an Android version is planned for later this year. The app features daily school menus with nutritional information, photos, descriptions and allergy information, and allows access to secure student payment accounts to check balances and add money directly from the mobile device. The app also includes cooking demos, recipe video viewing, healthy eating tips and more. Users can sign up for notifications to receive menu changes and updates. For more information, visit

BY THE YARD: Chandler resident Arlin Lindgren works with Hamilton High students to eradicate weeds from his yard. As part of Chandler’s communitywide weed-pulling effort, “Let’s Pull Together,” Hamilton High Coach Steve Kanner and a dozen members of Hamilton High’s golf team labored for several hours recently to pull weeds from the yard of 76-year-old Lindgren and his son, Adam, who is confined to a wheelchair. Residents can call the City of Chandler with addresses and any contact information for elderly or disabled residents needing help with weeds, plus the location of vacant or abandoned properties covered in weeds; city staff and volunteers then work with the owners to obtain authorization to clean the properties. Info: 480-782-4348 or Submitted photo

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June 1 – 14, 2013

Chandler’s 4th of July fireworks are free The largest Independence Day fireworks display in Chandler will be held 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thu., July 4 in Tumbleweed Park at 2250 S. McQueen Rd. on the southwest corner of McQueen and Germann roads. Although scaled down from previous years, it will still include 20 to 25 minutes of aerial display starting at 9 p.m. For many years the city’s Fourth of July celebration was presented in association with the Chandler Lions Club, which organized and ran the event. Earlier this year, the club’s leadership informed the city that it could no longer serve as the primary event organizer due to limited personnel and financial resources. “The Chandler Lions Club has been a great partner with the city for many years. We know it was a tremendous undertaking for the club and we are grateful for their efforts,” says Chandler’s Special Event Coordinator Hermelinda Llamas. “We weren’t able to find another organization to coordinate this year’s celebration, but we did not want to cancel the event. Instead, we decided to scale it down a bit and put most of the funding toward the costs of the fireworks show; which will still be one of the largest in the East Valley.” Llamas says the city will continue to search for a new event organizer and sponsors for the July 4, 2014 festivities and years beyond. “We are hoping that another service organization or a major corporate sponsor will step up to offer their support. We can’t imagine a July 4th in Chandler without a big community celebration.” The Chandler Lions Club will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs and brats, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, ice cream, snow cones and beverages at a booth in the park. Guests may also bring their own food and beverages and picnic in the park and are also encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. There are no kid games or entertainment at this year’s event. No grilling or alcoholic beverages are permitted and the use of personal fireworks of any kind in the park is also prohibited. Admission to the park is free, and onsite parking is available for $5 per vehicle. Vehicles can enter the park from Germann Road at Hamilton Street or from McQueen Road at Celebration Way. Disabled parking is available at both entrances. For more information, call 480-782-2735 or visit

Youth Chandler Unified School District July 22: First day of school

Carlson Champions

Help wanted – Carlson’s PTO is seeking helpers for next year’s committees and events now. Most chairperson positions are filled, but staffing will begin for the committees that assist chairpersons in accomplishing their goals and fulfilling their commitments to the Carlson community. Forms were sent home; families are encouraged to consider donating some time in an area of interest, filling out the form and emailing it to Keep in touch – Don’t forget to like Carlson Elementary PTO on Facebook to stay up to date over the summer. —Lora Robinson making Hull a premier school. Thanks due – A big thanks to Impression Dental and Aspen Orthodontics for generously donating the juice and milk for Hull’s Muffins for Moms event in May. Hull moms and students enjoyed a morning together before school while volunteer dads served muffins, milk, juice and coffee. Thanks also to Hull dads for taking time out of their day to make Muffins for Moms a big success. —Kristen Boyd

Tarwater Toros

Drumming up fun – Tarwater’s Percussion Club was invited to perform at Hamilton High’s

CTA-Independence Hawks

Gearing up –Meet the Teacher is at 4:30 p.m. Thu., July 18; the first day of school is July 22. CTA wishes all its families a safe and relaxing summer. —Wendi Olson

Hull Heroes

Summer times – The Hull front office will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday until June 13, and will reopen July 8. Gift cards – Help Hull PTO continue to earn money through the summer by reloading Fry’s and Bashas’ gift cards and using them for shopping. Cards can also be picked up in the front office. Hull PTO can earn up to 6% with every shopping trip. Good grade – Hull was named an Arizona A+ School of Excellence by the Arizona Education Foundation again this year. Thanks to teachers, staff, students, families and the community for

CLOWNING AROUND: Tarwater fifth grader Tamara Hibbard participates in this year’s carnival-themed Read-a-thon. Tarwater combined its annual reading challenge with a fundraiser this year; students earned pledges from friends and families for making their reading goals, with all donations used to purchase materials needed at Tarwater. Submitted photo


June 1 – 14, 2013


Basha High Bears

LAUGHING IT UP: The Basha High School Sudden Improv Committee (SIC) won first place at the National Comedy Theatre High school League Tournament recently, along with several other awards including Best Game, Best Gimmick Game, Best Scene Game and Best Team Work. Team members also brought home a variety of individual awards. SIC puts on eight shows a year for their school and fellow students, and recently had the opportunity to play against the pros at the National Comedy Theatre. Submitted photo SLAM DUNK: As a reward for meeting reading goals, Tarwater students participated in fun carnival games and earned the chance to try to dunk their “ringmaster” Principal Jeff Hensley in a water tank. Submitted photo

recent Percussion Concert, where members performed individually as well as with Hamilton High students, and were praised highly by Hamilton’s percussion teacher. Thanks to Jason and Kim Poole and Merri Chappell for their work with Tarwater students. Kudos – Tarwater’s Battle of the Books team of Kylie Carson, Noelle Redding and Sherry Wang placed fifth overall out of 1,000 teams in the recent Regional competition. Busy bees – Tarwater students spent the last few weeks of school participating in author’s teas, country reports, wax museums, field trips, BizTown, award assemblies and grade-level plays, as well as learning in the classroom. —Robyn Kelly

HELPING HANDS: Basha High School Math Department educators Steve Stoltenberg, Janice Fennig, Arlene Seale and Alisha Raccuia recently donated their services to A New Leaf’s East Valley Men’s Center in Mesa, designing, purchasing and preparing a healthy meal for the shelter’s approximately 75 residents. The transitional shelter assists men who make the commitment to become self-sufficient and move back into the community. Submitted photo

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PRIZE STUDENT: Basha High student Emily Judson was awarded a $500 scholarship for her submission to a high school ethics essay contest sponsored by the Williams Institute for Ethics and Management. Bonnie McCalley from the institute visited the school to give Emily the prize for her winning essay. Submitted photo

—Carol Skocypec, Renee Clancy

see Chandler Unified School District page 32


June 1 – 14, 2013

Chandler Unified School District from page 31

Andersen Astronauts

Music notes – Andersen Astro-note choir members staged a successful musical production of “How to Eat Like a Child,” based on the book by Delia Ephron. Students reported that putting together the musical helped them to build selfesteem, friendships and a love for music. Thanks due – Thanks to all the parents and students who helped make this a great school year. Fifth graders are wished much success in junior high. The first day back to school is July 22. —Katie Perry

Knox Knights

Kudos – Congrats to Mrs. Bechtold’s and Mrs. Bauslaugh’s classes for winning the Box Tops pizza parties. Families are encouraged to keep collecting Box Tops and Labels for Education throughout the summer. Thanks due – Thanks to Knox’s amazing volunteers, who were recognized and celebrated with an ice cream social recently for all their hard work this year to make Knox Gifted Academy a premier learning community. New times – The Knox school day will begin at 9:10 a.m. and end at 3:40 p.m. beginning with the 2013-14 school year. Students can arrive at school at 8:45 a.m. and will be supervised by teachers outside the children’s classrooms. —Ximena Rodriguez

Youth Youth Chronicles Sarah Anderson of Chandler is on the spring 2013 Dean’s List at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. To qualify, students must earn a 3.0 grade point average. Kennedi Argo of Chandler competes as a state finalist in the Jr. Preteen division of the National American Miss Arizona State Pageant June 30 at Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort in Scottsdale. Kevin Chor of Chandler, a student at Knox Elementary, will participate in the U8 division of the second annual Online National Chess Championship hosted by ChessKid June 14 through 17. All games will be broadcast live at Jonathan Heckart and Whitney Scorza of Chandler are on the spring 2013 Dean’s List at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. To qualify, students must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher while taking 12 or more credit hours. Emily Marie Kaup of Chandler is a new graduate of Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. Emily earned a bachelor of arts in communication. Makensie Kraft of Chandler is a new graduate of York College of Pennsylvania in York, PA, with a bachelor of science in biology. Cindy Le of Chandler is the recipient of the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter’s Youth Volunteer Award. Cindy was honored along with other award winners at the Grand Canyon Chapter’s annual volunteer recognition breakfast held recently at the Phoenix Zoo. Cindy is the president of the Red Cross club at Hamilton High School. Amanda Norris of Chandler is on the spring 2013 Dean’s List at Harding University in Searcy, AR. Amanda is a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major. To be eligible, students must carry 12 or more hours with a 3.65 or higher grade point average and no incompletes. Adrian Palumbo, a third-grader at CTA-Goodman Elementary in Chandler, is the recipient of a National Award on the Exploratory Latin Exam. Nitish Peela, Jacob Cabrejas, Paula Beatty and Ivy Chang of Hamilton High School and Tejas Dharmaraj and Manav Sevak of Chandler High School are award winners at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.


June 1 – 14, 2013




June 1 – 14, 2013

SanTan Sun kids have talent! In the first issue of every month, the SanTan Sun News prints the best entries from kids in grades kindergarten through 12th grade in a variety of categories. Congratulations to this month’s winners! Note: If a great entry doesn’t make it into this issue because of space considerations, we will hold it over to run in a future issue. Submissions are minimally edited to preserve the writer’s voice. If your submission appears in this section, compare it to your original to help improve your writing skills.

Hey Kids!

Remember that the Kids Opportunity section will eventually print all good entries. That means that if your entry didn’t make it into this issue, it may be slated for a future one. Keep checking back, as we sometimes experience a backlog of submissions.

Desert Bloom

Never Forgotten

by Viveka Chinnasamy Grade 4, Paragon Science Academy

By Jordan Paul Grade 9, Dobson High School

The desert: A land where the colors are calm and spiked. but here on a cactus as small as me lives a Flower the reason that I have hiked.

From the magic melody, and the silence of the wind, all that’s gone shall be found, and your hope will live again.

I have come here today, a time in June when the sky is white, I would drop in some blue a line, may be two if I were to paint such a sight.

From the ringing of the notes, a message will soon appear, saying that you should go back, and save all that you hold dear.

As morning gives in to the heat of the day, and the sun feels thrilling somehow. something ever so slight makes me gasp with delight. for the flower is opening now!

The final image is so clear, resting in the icy lake, and your soul’s reflection knows, everything that is at stake.

Cherry-red mixed with orange and yellow on fire, and scented like fruit on a vine. the flower, it’s true, a beautiful view. and this memory will always be mine.

Knockout Poem!

Knockout Poem!

When they don’t know that you’re gone when their words will still attack, you should trust your friends or else, everything will fade to black. Although they may forget your name, and they’ve lost you in their heart, you should know you’re not forgotten, because only you know who you are.

Kids: Win $15 gift card from Changing Hands Bookstore one to three submissions are printed per month, all good submissions are held in a file to be printed in future issues. So if an entry doesn’t win this month, it could win next month—or even the month after that. To enter, visit SanTanSun. com, click on Youth and then on Student Writer Permission Slip to download a submission-permission slip. Complete the form and have a parent sign it so the paper has permission to print the entry and the author or artist’s byline. Then, email the submission-permission slip and writing or artwork to as a Word file, if writing, or JPEG, if art, or pasted into the email.

Students who either live in Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek or surrounding areas or who attend area schools can win $15 gift cards from Changing Hands Bookstore, thanks to a partnership between the bookseller and the SanTan Sun News. This ongoing, monthly promotion awards a $15 Changing Hands gift card to every youth whose article, story, poem, essay, editorial, book review, photo or illustration is chosen to be printed in the SanTan Sun Kids Opportunity section, while supplies last. The Kids Opportunity section is printed in the Youth Section of the first paper of the month, each month. The best news is that even though only


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