• Our BRAGS!
    Honors, Awards and Special Programs

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    Audree Davis
    Congratulations to Audree Davis whose Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest entry was selected as the school winner for Payne Junior High. For over 30 years, Lions clubs around the globe have sponsored this international art contest to give children everywhere the chance to express their visions of peace and inspire the world through art and creativity. Audrey was awarded a certificate and cash prize from the Sun Lakes Lion's Club, sponsored by Intel.
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    Care Packages for the Troops
    Payne Junior High students in Kennedy Plumb's class are truly getting into the holiday spirit by preparing care packages for troops overseas.
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    Phoenix Childrens Hospital
    Payne Junior High seventh graders Hannah Johnson, Alyssa Kuraoka, Sahasra Malepati, and Sabra Sanders made 425 friendship bracelets and took them to Phoenix Children's Hospital over Veterans Day weekend to let the patients there know they had friends thinking of them, even if they've never met.
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    Original Payne Staff
    Our original Payne Staff from 2005 recently celebrated their longevity and commitment! These are the people who are still at Payne Junior High since the school's inception in 2005. Dr. Craig Gilbert, who was the Principal at the time, made the trek out here for his shirt and this picture! Thank you Dr. Gilbert!
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    Parent comment: "My son took a pretest based on the ACT in his AP English class as a junior. He scored a 74 out of 75, which would have been a 34 on the ACT test. Kids in his class actually asked him if he cheated. He was worried his English teacher might think so too, but when she found out he had Mr. David Giaramita (Mr. G) for two years, she said she wasn't surprised. What she doesn't know is in 6th grade he barely scraped by with a D in English. Mr. G is an amazing teacher. He made my son work for every grade he received and taught him how to think critically about everything."
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    Avery Koperniak
    Avery Koperniak, currently a Freshman at Basha High, spoke on Saturday to the Southwest Convention of Kiwanis Club. She represented the Payne Junior High School Builders Club extremely well. She was our PJHS Builders Club President the past two years. She spoke about the values and goals of Builders Club, her experiences in our club, and the service projects our club completed over the past 2 years. Avery received a standing ovation from the 200 Kiwanians attending the conference and received several compliments from individuals after the luncheon was over. We are very proud of her.
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    Payne Bus Drivers
    Payne Junior High loves bus drivers rocking their attire! They are a great group of people who keep kids safe and are always working to make connections with students.
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    Unified Basketball team
    Open letter from self-contained Special Education teacher to Payne staff, teachers and students: "Panther Pride, Words can't express the overwhelming pride that Amber and I have in the Payne Staff and students! What an memorable experience you gave the Unified BASKETBALL team today! Payne has truly shown what it means to embrace inclusion and celebrate everyone's successes. Please take a moment and tell your students how proud we are of them! The energy in the gym was UNBELIEVEABLE!!! Payne ROCKS! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who come out and watched the Unified Basketball game today vs. Santan. Can't wait for our next year's basketball game!"
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    The Payne Junior High chamber orchestra received a Superior (the highest rating) at the Flagstaff Junior High Orchestra festival on Saturday, May 4. Congratulations to our chamber orchestra and director Valerie Dopp!
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    Elks Lodge Essay Contest Winners
    Congratulations to Payne students Justin Basset (first place), Chimela Nwosu (second), and Austin Catlin (third) who won in this year's Chandler Elks Lodge essay contest, "What Makes You Proud of America?" The judges chose their entries out of 122 essays received from students all over the city.
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    Payne Relay for Life
    The Payne National Junior Honor Society and CATS team joined forces to represent Chandler Unified School District at the Chandler Relay for Life. Over 85 past and present students raised over $3,800 in the fight against cancer! Dana Hansen, the Payne CATS Science teacher and childhood bone cancer survivor of 45 years, spoke at the Opening Ceremony/Survivor Lap. She wrote an essay that won for "Women's Voice." With the help of Big-O Tire, Payne teams raised a total of SIXTEEN THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS for the American Cancer Society! Photo Album: Payne Relay for Life
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    Parent comment: "[Thank you, Mrs. Grimes] for going above and beyond to ensure my daughter maximizes her potential as a student. Mrs. Grimes has gone out of her way to get to know my daughter's learning style, making learning and understanding fun."
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    Parent comment: "An effective honors and general math teacher, Mrs. Herz has taken it upon herself to understand how my daughter learns. From the first week of school, Mrs. Herz went to great lengths to discover and remove any obstacles to grasping concepts, even changing the appearance of the assessments so that my daughter could best show what she has learned. Tests no longer seemed overwhelming or confusing -- which drastically changed the way my daughter felt about testing until it clicked with her. Gratefully, Mrs. Herz didn't stop there. She continued to seek out instructional methods that would reach my daughter best and made adjustments to match. With Mr. Bollard's support, I nominated Mrs. Herz for the Silver Apple Award last October. While not selected as a recipient, she deserves every bit of that recognition. Mrs. Herz is truly an exceptional math teacher, and I couldn't be more appreciative of the impact she has made."
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    Payne Junior High Symphonic Band at ABODA
    Congratulations to Payne Junior High Symphonic Band and teacher Deanna Bessette who received a rating of Superior with Distinction at the Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA) area festival on March 27.
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    Barron Silsby
    Congratulations to Payne Junior High student Barron Silsby who made 24 out of 25 shots at the Region 7 Elks Hoop Shoot Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 9 and is now a four-time state champion in his division! Barron will move on next to compete at the national competition in Chicago in April. Elks Hoop Shoot website
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Lilia Allen who won 3rd Place in Medicine & Health Sciences at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Deep Knee Bends. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Haylee Headrick who won Honorable Mention in Medicine & Health Sciences at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Great Globs of Gluten. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 8th Grade award winner Isabel Marley who won Honorable Mention in Medicine & Health Sciences at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Mindfulness Meditation: The Effect of Meditation on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate and Stress Level. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 8th Grade award winner Allison Freestone who won Water Wise Award in Environmental Sciences at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Preserving Freshwater Through Surface Area. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Jeanna Warren who won 2nd Place in Chemistry at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Drop It Like It's Cool. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 8th Grade award winner McKay Hartman who won 2nd Place in Earth & Planetary Science at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled The Effect of Different Surface Material on Soil Erosion. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Sarah Ritchie who won 3rd Place in Chemistry at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled The Effect of Temperature on Rolling Balls. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    Nathan Andersen
    Congratulations to Payne student Nathan Andersen who set a big goal to run in the Phoenix Half-Marathon on Saturday, February 9. He not only finished, but did so in an amazing time of 1 hour and 58 minutes!
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    Congratulations to Payne Junior High student Tricia DeSpain who took third place in the grades 7-8 competition of the statewide Arizona Educational Foundation 2019 Polly Rosenbaum Writing contest as announced January 24. The creative writing contest is named for former Arizona House Representative and teacher, Polly Rosenbaum, who passed away in 2003 at the age of 104. She believed Arizona's young people are the state's greatest resource. This year's writing prompt was, "If you could create a new political party, what would it be called and what would it stand for?" Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest website
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    Lindsie Spengler
    Payne Junior High teacher Lindsie Spengler recently earned her National Board Certification. The process is rigorous, exhausting and overwhelming but worthwhile. Recognized as the gold standard in teacher certification, the National Board believes higher standards for teachers means better learning for students. Congratulations, Lindsie! National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website
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    Lindsie Spengler
    Congratulations to Lindsie Spengler, Payne Junior High English teacher, who was recognized in AZCentral's Who's Next: 21 educators shaping Arizona's Next generation. AZCentral.com - Who's Next: 21 educators shaping Arizona's next generation
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    7th grade girls volleyball team
    Congratulations to the Payne Junior High 7th grade girls volleyball team who won the East Valley Conference (EVC) 2018 championship!
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    Volunteers
    Payne Junior High students volunteer at Carlson Elementary every Tuesday morning to tutor students in grades 3-6.
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    Student comment submitted: "I would love to brag about Mrs. Brown -- how she has encouraged me to keep pushing forward and not to give up!"
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    Congratulations to Payne Junior High teacher Dana Hansen who was selected as one of 220 science and math teachers from around the country to attend the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama in June. She was also recently featured in the Queen Creek Independent. Queen Creek Independent article - Meet the Teacher: Dana Hansen orbits Honeywell Educators at Space Academy
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    Parent comment: "At the start of lunch, my 7th grade daughter realized she left her lunch at the bike rack. When she found her lunch, Mrs. Palella approached her about her lunch no longer being good to eat and offered to buy her lunch. My daughter thanked Mrs. Palella but said she would be okay eating her lunch. Mrs. Palella insisted that her lunch wouldn't be good and told her she would buy her a lunch. She also told her that she could get her at the front of the line and to pick whatever she wanted. My daughter is a very timid girl and knowing this kind act Mrs. Palella had with her will be a memory she will never forget. As her mother, it brought happy tears to my eyes knowing there are people at Payne looking out for the kids and not thinking twice about helping while not expecting anything in return. And as a mother, I've been worried about my daughter who has been reluctant about 7th grade, and THIS gesture gave her a pep in her step and a smile the rest of her day."
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    Jackie Tambone
    Congratulations to Jackie Tambone, winner of a CenturyLink 2018 Teachers and Technology grant award of $4,813.38 to fund her project, Learning a Second Language! CenturyLink Teachers and Technology Grant website
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    Guest speaker, Oskar Knoblauch
    The 8th grade students at Payne Junior High School were honored to hear Holocaust survivor Oskar Knoblauch tell his story about how respect for others saved his life during the Nazi Occupation of Poland.
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    Arizona Science and Engineering Fair
    Isabel Marley won 3rd place in Behavioral and Social Sciences: Junior Division for the project titled Matters of Memory at the 2018 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair. Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) website
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    Arizona Science and Engineering Fair
    Reese Carpenter won 2nd place in Chemistry: Junior Division for the project titled Moving Color Molecules Using DNA Technology at the 2018 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair. Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) website
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    The Builders Club
    The Payne Junior High Builders Club worked with Queen Creek Kiwanis to donate toiletries to veterans.
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    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Isabel Marley who won 3rd Place in Behavioral & Social Sciences at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Matters of Memory. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Congratulations to 8th Grade award winner Jaycee Murton who won 1st Place in Plant Sciences at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled The Effect of Magnetism on Plant Growth. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Kellyn Nault who won 3rd Place in Chemistry at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled PH in Sports Drinks. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Laura Richter who won 3rd Place in Physics & Astronomy at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Pulley Power. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Reese Carpenter who won 1st Place in Chemistry at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Moving Color Molecules Using DNA Technology. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Sophia Dominguez who won 1st Place in Medicine & Health Sciences at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled The Effect of Various Sunscreen SPFs on UV Protection. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Taylor Mears who won Honorable Mention in Earth & Planetary Science at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Monster of a Wave. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Victoria Jezierski who won Honorable Mention in Engineering at the 2018 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Mechanical Properties of 3D Printed Materials. HISEF 2018 Award Winners
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    Parent comment: "Mr. Andrew Penland is an exceptional teacher! My son has commented several times that he enjoys having Mr. Penland as his ELA teacher. The classes are structured into segments that keep students engaged and productive. Mr. Penland has a calming way of retaining the attention of his students that I find impressive."
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    Girls Cross Country Team
    Congratulations to Payne Junior High's girls cross country team who placed first in the East Valley Conference (EVC) Cross Country Championships.
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    Letter of appreciation: "Thank you, Payne Jr High cheerleaders, for making my son, Mitch Fryer's day with a personal get well cheer. As you may have heard, he attends Newell Barney Jr High and last Saturday was involved in a traumatic ATV accident. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
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    Principal Paul Bollard
    Teacher comment: "As a teacher, I love seeing our students flock to chat with Mr. Bollard at lunch. His connectivity and presence with our student population is inspiring."
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    Congratulations to the Payne Junior High Symphonic Band for scoring an Excellent at the Aboda (Arizona Band and Orchestra Director's Association) Festival Performance.
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    Four Payne Junior High Relay for Life teams raised nearly $5,000 for the American Cancer Society. Dana Hansen, Lacey Mattison and Chris Heady organized the Relay for Life fundraiser.
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