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Honors, Awards and Special Programs
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Casteel High - (2019-2020) Casteel High teacher Christopher James was interviewed by his U.S. Military students (class) about his experiences serving in Iraq. The Veterans Heritage Project was on campus to record the interview and discuss the upcoming publication of the interview. Casteel sophomore, Sydnee Watkins will write the story to be published in the Library of Congress and the Veterans Heritage Project Book. Furthermore, James encouraged other students, including sophomore Hope Henry, to interview and write a story about a family member who served and can share their experiences as well. Hope is interviewing her grandfather about his experiences in the Vietnam War and will have the interview and story published.
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2019-2020) A HUGE congratulations to J.T. Mulvihill! J.T. was named one of the Top 300 MASTERS (out of 2,348 nominees from across the U.S.) in the 2019 Broadcom MASTERS, a program of Society for Science & the Public. He and his science fair project, The Impact of Football Helmet Lining or Coating on Impact Force Reduction to the Head, will now compete to become one of 30 national finalists in the Broadcom competition. Press Release: Broadcom MASTERS Announces the Top 300 Middle School Innovators in National STEM Competition
Bogle Junior High - (2019-2020) Congratulations to Leela Raj-Sankar who was named one of the Top 300 MASTERS (out of 2,348 nominees from across the U.S.) in the 2019 Broadcom MASTERS, a program of Society for Science & the Public. She and her science fair project, Shining a Light on Osmosis, will now compete to become one of 30 national finalists in the Broadcom competition. Press Release: Broadcom MASTERS Announces the Top 300 Middle School Innovators in National STEM Competition
Casteel High - (2019-2020) Congratulations to Ashlyn Drew who was named one of the Top 300 MASTERS (out of 2,348 nominees from across the U.S.) in the 2019 Broadcom MASTERS, a program of Society for Science & the Public. She and her science fair project, Heightened Hydroponics, will now compete to become one of 30 national finalists in the Broadcom competition. Press Release: Broadcom MASTERS Announces the Top 300 Middle School Innovators in National STEM Competition
Santan Junior High - (2019-2020) Through hard work and perseverance, Santan Junior High brought in more than $19,000 from a school fundraiser recently. Forty percent of those proceeds will go to students and activities for lunch time connections for all students. Lunches will include games such as massive CONNECT FOUR games, music at all lunches and support to our SJHS Lunch Bunch, where no student will ever sit alone.
Santan Junior High - (2019-2020) Our incredible Santan Junior High Booster's donated a brand new COW (computer "Cart On Wheels") to our school. The COW includes charging cart and 30 laptops for student use. These funds were collected by generous donations from our parents in 2018-19, and our incredible Boosters will continue the vision this year for another COW to serve our students!
Santan Junior High - (2019-2020) Congratulations to Santan Junior High teacher Heather Yordy who won $250 dollars worth of Scholastic Books for her classroom recently. She was selected from more than 124,000 teachers in the James Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs Giveaway!
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2019-2020) Congratulations to ACP Oakland 7th grader Megan Williams who was awarded 6th place in the country at the summer 2019 American Harp Society's National competition.
Bogle Junior High - (2019-2020) Have you seen them? New Bulldog signs and graphics have been installed around our campus! "Respect. Persist. Triumph."
Bogle Junior High - (2019-2020) Congratulations to Bogle choir students Baylie Soto, Nora Chase, Alina Nguyen and Aubree Buri who participated in the first ever Harmony Fusion Barbershop Festival at the Chandler Center for the Arts in August.
Bogle Junior High - (2019-2020) THANK YOU to Bogle families who supported the Bogle library by purchasing over 35 books from our Amazon wish list!
Andersen Junior High - (2019-2020) Andersen Junior High is focusing on equity with more inclusive activities for all students. Andersen all-stars participated with Heather Henrichs eighth grade science class to complete a dry ice experiment last week.
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2019-2020) Congratulations to ACP Oakland student Jacob Paton-Lloyd who was selected for and attended Arizona State University's Barrett Summer Scholars Program. This residential progam selects academically talented students from across the state to engage in college-level coursework under the supervision of ASU professors. Jacob focussed his work on forensic entomology and critical thinking. ASU Barrett Summer Scholars
Payne Junior High - (2019-2020) 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!
Santan Junior High - (2019-2020) WEB (Where Everyone Belongs - facilitated by Donna Gustufson) successfully welcomed students to Santan Junior High!
Santan Junior High - (2019-2020) Sports at Santan Junior High are full of passion, talent and championships. We are a school that participates in the National Program, Positive Coaching Alliance - promoting better people, better athletes.
Payne Junior High - (2019-2020) 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."
Payne Junior High - (2019-2020) 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.
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2019-2020) Students in Mrs. Filiere's Project Lead the Way classes worked together to create models of a foot orthosis for children with cerebral palsy. We have so many creative Knights!
Casteel High - (2019-2020) Alexis Ngo and Quincy Lee, upcoming seniors in our CTE Sports Medicine Program, competed at the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) International Leadership Conference (ILC) during the summer of 2019. This is the first time Casteel High has ever attended the highest competition for HOSA. Both ladies faced tough competition from around the country and world including China, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa. Quincy fell short to the fierce competitors in her event for Medical Terminology while Alexis place 2nd overall in her event, Extemporaneous Health Poster! We're SO PROUD! HOSA International Leadership Conference - Summer 2019, Photo Album
Santan Junior High - (2019-2020) Students and staff on our Multicultural Committee put on a Celebration of Diversity. Sophia Brantley sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at the Multicultural Day event.
Arizona College Prep - Erie Campus - (2018-2019) OUR GRADUATES:
We are proud to report that ACP Erie 2018-19 graduates earned:
- A whopping $20,177,868 in scholarships!
- 3,826 hours of college credit (Dual Credit), and
- 828 hours of service learning
Casteel High - (2018-2019) OUR GRADUATES:
We are proud to report that during the 2018-19 school year, Casteel High students earned:
- A whopping $11,320,621 in scholarships!
- 1,826 hours of college credit (Dual Credit), and
- 11,381 hours of service learning
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2018-2019) Congratulations to ACP Oakland 6th, 7th and 8th grade winners in the Grand Canyon Essay Contest! We had winners in each grade and SWEPT the 7th/8th grade category winning Gold, Silver and Bronze! Winners were:
- Marissa Ruiz - 6th grade Silver medal
- Zachery Tullo - 6th grade Bronze medal
- Merissa Wongso - 6th grade Honorable Mention
- Alison Alfredo - 8th grade Gold medal
- Grace Burns - 7th grade Silver medal
- Faith Hsia - 7th grade Bronze medal
- Carter Smith - 8th grade Honorable mention
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2018-2019) Several Spanish students from ACP Oakland attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2018 National Spanish Examinations. They earned a total of 37 gold (must have scored in the 95th percentile or higher in nation), 50 silver (must have scored between the 94th -85th percentile in nation) and 76 bronze medals (must have scored between 84th -75th percentile in nation) along with over 50 percent of the students earning honorable mentions. "Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious," said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, "because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 146,000 students participating in 2019." Spanish teachers, Jennifer Betlach, Timothy Cox, Diane Loff, Dana Olidan, and Heather Orr taught these students. American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese website: National Spanish Examinations
Payne Junior High - (2018-2019) 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.
Payne Junior High - (2018-2019) 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!"
Santan Junior High - (2018-2019) Arizona Diamondbacks and Breyer Law Group awarded Santan Junior High and teacher Donna Gustafson a $2,500 "Game Changer" grant. Additionally, the school was provided 150 tickets to the game against the Pirates where they will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony.
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2018-2019) Our ACP Oakland Speech and Debate Team took 3rd place at the Arizona Speech and Debate Coaches Association (ASDCA) Middle School Championships! The team also won many individual medals. Team Timothy Jiang and Aiden Oh along with Team Margaret Wang and Marie Chen took took 3rd place in Public Forum. Dawn Shim and Kate Li took 5th place in Duo Interpretation. In Congress, Gabe Hufmann took 5th place and Sophia Berg won with a first place finish! Way to go, Knights!
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2018-2019) ACP Oakland participated in the annual East Valley Conference Master Mathematicians Competition on Saturday, April 27 for our final competition for the year. Each school brought 14 students. All participated individually in the Quick Draw Round (Mental Math), then four students from each school worked together as a cooperative team for the Team Round. The remaining ten students participated in the other individual competition, Buccaneer Round, consisting of a 40-question written exam. When the results were tabulated, ACP did very well. Quick Draw: 1st - Dean Brasen (Erie); 2nd - Manu Iyer. Buccaneer: 1st - Jeslyn Moon; 2nd - Timothy Jiang. Overall Individual (combined Quick Draw and Buccaneer scores): 1st - Yoobin Cha; 2nd - Katherine Li; 3rd - Raine Huang. Congratulations, Mathletes!
Payne Junior High - (2018-2019) 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!
Arizona College Prep - Oakland Campus - (2018-2019) Congratulations to the ACP Oakland Battle of the Books team of Maansi Bodla, Jenny Dong and Sofina Is, coached by Pam Parzych and Kim Codd, 2nd place winners of the district competion on April 24. They will head to the regional competition at Highland High in Gilbert in May.
Payne Junior High - (2018-2019) 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.
Payne Junior High - (2018-2019) 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
Andersen Junior High - (2018-2019) Andersen Junior High ThinSat Rocket Launches into Space! Northrop Grumman (previously Orbital) launched the Antares rocket last week. Andersen Junior High was the only school in Arizona selected to participate in the ThinSat Program, guaranteeing them a spot on this rocket launch. The rocket will release the satellite to orbit Earth for five to ten days, collecting data on atmospheric pressure, temperature, velocity, altitude, and UV light. Students in Joe Badala's class launched prototypes on a helium balloon on campus to collect low atmospheric data. Gearing up for this rocket launch, students conducted a series of these launches, tethering some balloons and releasing others. They also sent a prototype on a weather balloon. NASA-TV Wallops video website: Antares Launch, April 17, 2019
Basha Accelerated Middle School - (2018-2019) Congratulations to Vishwesh Vakacharla who won 13th place (K-6) in the Chess State championship conducted by the Southern Arizona Chess Association (SACA) on April 13-14 in Tucson.
Casteel High - (2018-2019) Student comment submitted: "[Thank you,] Mr. Trevor Kohl, for being the nicest security guard."
Casteel High - (2018-2019) In its rookie year the Casteel Junior High Academic Pentathlon team, under the direction of Sheila Wilson and Taylor Kerby, took first place at the state competition. The Casteel team is currently ranked third in the nation and has been invited to nationals in May in Nashville, Tennessee.
Santan Junior High - (2018-2019) Santan Junior High teacher Alysa Olson is the recipient of another SRP Robotics Grant for $5,000. This is her fourth year in a row to earn this grant for a total of $20,000. Congratulations!
Willis Junior High - (2018-2019) Willis Junior High jazz band, under the direction of John Studzinski, received the highest-ranking award for their division at the Highland Jazz Festival. This annual jazz festival has been running for the past 10 years and this year had more than 45 jazz bands performing for adjudicators from all over the United States. Willis received a Superior rating from all three judges and received the highest ranked score in the Junior High and Middle School Division.
Payne Junior High - (2018-2019) 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."
Payne Junior High - (2018-2019) 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."
Arizona College Prep - Erie Campus - (2018-2019) A+ School of Excellence: Congratulations to all of the students, faculty, and staff of ACP Erie! We have been named an A+ School of Excellence™ by the Arizona Educational Foundation! A+ Schools of Excellence™ is a comprehensive school assessment program that challenges school teams to work together to identify areas of excellence in teaching, learning, climate, community building, and leadership. A+ Schools are celebrated and recognized as outstanding. Earning the highly prestigious A+ designation spotlights the positive successes happening in public schools every day! Arizona Educational Foundation A+ Schools of Excellence
Arizona College Prep - Erie Campus - (2018-2019) Congratulations to ACP Erie Honors Bio and Human Bio teacher Rachna Nath who was nominated for the EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency) Presidential Innovation Award - Environmental Educators. Joseph Shaw of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality nominated Mrs. Nath after working with her on multiple projects involving environmental issues. Her students are now ready to patent their ideas. U.S. EPA website: Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators
Andersen Junior High - (2018-2019) Scot Lewis was named the 2018-19 Chandler Online Academy Teacher of the Year. Scot teaches Music Appreciation and Junior High Exploring Music. Scot is currently the director of bands at Andersen Junior High.
Casteel High - (2018-2019) Congratulations to our Casteel junior high Science Olympiad Team who won 6th place at the State Olympiad Finals on April 6 at Arizona State University.
Chandler Online Academy - (2018-2019) Scot Lewis was named the 2018-19 Chandler Online Academy Teacher of the Year. Scot teaches Music Appreciation and Junior High Exploring Music. Scot is currently the director of bands at Andersen Junior High.
Santan Junior High - (2018-2019) Congratulations to Santan Junior High's Indoor Percussion winterguard who won the state championship on March 29-30 at Arizona State University in the junior high division.
Santan Junior High - (2018-2019) The Sun Lakes Rotary last week honored Kathleen Mejia from Santan Junior High as teacher of the month for April. She received a framed certificate, a $100 personal award from the Sun Lakes Rotary and an additional $100 from Trust Bank to be used in her classroom.