• Our BRAGS!
    Honors, Awards and Special Programs

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    Showcase
    Willis Junior High School hosted its annual showcase on November 7. There were displays of student work, hands-on activities for kids, live music, games, and much more. There was a tremendous community turnout and they were happy to host families from all feeder schools.
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    Willis Jazz Band
    Willis Jazz Band was selected to perform at this year's Arizona Music Educators Conference in Mesa, Arizona during the weekend of January 31, 2020. In addition to performing, the Willis Band has been selected to present a clinic to state educators on: "What it Takes to Build a Successful Jazz Program." They will then perform for the music educators as an Honorary Ensemble representing the best of the state.
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    Redemption Church Donation
    Redemption Church in Gilbert donated several boxes of materials to the Willis Junior High community resource room, including more than $2,000 in giftcards (to purchase things like jackets, shoes, towels, etc.), and a check for $1,000. THANK YOU, Redemption Church!
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    Jazz Band
    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.
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    Willis Junior High AzSEF Winners
    Emma Hogarth and Ella Kraver won 1st Place in Junior Division: Medicine and Health Sciences (ME) for the project titled Can't Stop the Beat at the 2019 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair. For their project, they tested the effects of alcohol and caffeine on the heart rate of daphnia (small aquatic crustaceans commonly called "water fleas"). They are interested in the effects that alcohol and caffeine have on our overall health. Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) website
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winners Emma Hogarth and Ella Kraver who won 2nd Place in Medicine & Health Sciences at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Can't Stop the Beat. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winners Madi Ferrari, Arianna Wheeler and Angel Rojas who won 3rd Place in Plant Sciences at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled The Effect of Plants on Temperature. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winner Adeline Compton who won Honorable Mention in Chemistry at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled The Effect of Type of Paper on how Much Weight the Sheet Holds. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 8th Grade award winners Claire Adams and Veronica Tapia Velazquez who won Honorable Mention in Chemistry at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled How Do Battery Voltages Affect the Decomposition Rate of Water?. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    HISEF 2019 Award Winners
    Congratulations to 7th Grade award winners Emma Hogarth and Ella Kraver who won Intel Innovator Award in Medicine & Health Sciences at the 2019 Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (HISEF) for the project titled Can't Stop the Beat. HISEF 2019 Award Winners
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    Katie Shaffer
    Congratulations to Katie Shaffer who was named a Si Se Puede Foundation Educator of the Year winner for 2019. She will be recognized at the Annual Educators of the Year Awards Dinner on April 13 at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino. Katie is an English Language Learner teacher at Willis Junior High. She received her Master's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan in 2005. Katie also has an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems. She has taught in CUSD for many years, primarily working in early education, but she made the move to Willis Junior High in 2018.
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    Congratulations to winners in the City of Chandler's Creative Expression Competition from Willis Junior High. Visual Art winners (5-8 Category): Arayah Rosehill, 1st place; Michelle Barragan, 2nd place; Jasmin Panopio, 3rd place. Contest winners will be presented with an award and a cash prize for the school at a future city council meeting. City of Chandler Creative Expression Competition website
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    Congratulations to Willis 7th grader Daniel Enriquez, winner of the school Geography Bee, and 8th grader Lynette Hurtado who placed 2nd.
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    Shandel Roberts
    Congratulations to Ms. Shandel Roberts, social studies teacher at Willis Junior High School. Ms. Roberts was recognized as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8053 AND VFW District 10 Teacher of the Year. If you know Ms. Roberts, you know that this recognition is well-deserved. We are very proud of her and fortunate to have her as a member of the Firebird family!
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    Donations
    Principal Jeff Delp arrived to school Monday, September 10th to find thousands of dollars worth of school supplies donated by Redemption Church. Their generosity has been a huge boost for our school's community resource room and will also allow us to support the needs of students at several feeder elementary schools.
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    Congratulations to Willis Junior High eighth grader Sumaya Quitugua who won the Arizona Department of Health's "Must Stop Bullying" video competition.

    Arizona Department of Health Services - MustStopBullying.org website
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    Daniel Hoang, 2017-18 Willis Chess Champion, and runner-up Todd Applegate
    Congratulations to Daniel Hoang, 2017-18 Willis Chess Champion, and runner-up Todd Applegate! These two skilled players battled it out all year for the top spot; they are very evenly matched. Daniel is a 7th grader and will be defending his title next year as he has the opportunity to become the only repeat Willis Chess Champion in school history.
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    WJHS Odyssey of the Mind Team
    Willis Firebirds placed 5th in the state in Odyssey of the Mind (O.M.) competition in Tucson after qualifying in the central regional tournament. O.M. is a creative problem-solving competition. Students may not accept assistance from adults, so each team's solution is completely original. As part of the competition, students built a balsa wood structure weighing less than 15 grams that held 120 lbs in competition before breaking! They also created an artistic performance to accompany the test. Odyssey of the Mind website
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    Willis Junior High School Choir members at Western Region American Choral Directors Association Conference
    Thirteen Willis Junior High students auditioned and were selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Conference over Spring break in Pasadena, California. These students spent countless hours practicing prior to the event and went through a rigorous rehearsal schedule to be a part of the ACDA Western Division Honor Choir. An exceptional music program has always been a hallmark of WJHS, and these students certainly exemplified that through their participation in this event. Western Region American Choral Directors Association Honor Choirs website
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    Willis Firebots VEX Robotics Team
    The Willis Firebots VEX Robotics team won the Sportsmanship Award and were Tournament Champions of the Campo Verde High School Robotics Tournament on Saturday November 18th. Willis Firebots Website
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    Willis AVID
    Willis AVID students reflect each day for positivity, and the students say they are now more positive in their daily experiences. Each student also completes Cornell Notes and tutorials for all core classes every week, and collaborates with peers to assist them in classes. AVID at Willis
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    Willis Culinary Club
    Culinary Club at Willis has learned to make salsa, spinach/artichoke dip, and spaghetti and meatballs this year!
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    Willis student volunteers
    Students from several clubs on campus did an excellent job of interacting with potential future Firebirds and others at the Willis Showcase! They are a positive example of our campus and student body!
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    Congratulations to Willis Junior High student Mackenzie Bradbeer who won the NASA Earth Systems Science Award, All Divisions at the 2017 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF). AzSEF Awards Website
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    Willis Firebots
    Congratulations to the Willis Firebots! For the THIRD year in a row, they have qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championship Tournament. The Firebots won the Excellence Award at the Arizona State Tournament.
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    Congratulations to 8th grade student Luke Hagen who won the Willis Junior High Geography Bee and qualified for the National Geography Bee for the state of Arizona!
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    Fellowship of the Readers (Willis Book Club)
    We are proud to offer the "Fellowship of the Readers" book club at Willis. Out of the 100 members in our club, 41 students have read over 1 million words or more, and our top reader has read 11 million words so far this school year!
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    Willis LSTA Grant
    The Arizona State Library awarded a $5,500 LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant to the WJHS Library for our "Literacy is a WJHS Priority" program. Take the WJHS Family 15 (Reading) Challenge!
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    Thirty Day Kindness Challenge
    The Willis Community is participating in the 30 Day Kindness Challenge. Follow the hastag #wjhsstory to see more details! Twitter hashtag: #wjhsstory
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    Congratulations to Bryn Creek and Cameron Braddock who won Second Place in Engineering (EG) at the 2016 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) and were nominated to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering Rising Stars) competition. Society for Science and the Public (SSP) affiliated science fairs around the country (like AzSEF in Arizona) nominate only the top 10% of 6th, 7th and 8th grade participants to enter this prestigious competition. Broadcom MASTERS Website
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    Congratulations to Chloe Leff who won First Place in Chemistry (CH) at the 2016 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF), the National Science Award from the Office of Naval Research, and was nominated to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering Rising Stars) competition. AzSEF nominates only the top 10% of 6th, 7th and 8th grade participants to enter this prestigious competition. Broadcom MASTERS Website
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    Congratulations to Saachi Poddar who won the Phoenix Comicon Award of Excellence for her project in Environmental Sciences (EV) at the 2016 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF). AzSEF Awards Website
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    Congratulations to Sachit Swaminathan who won Third Place in Cellular & Molecular Biology (CB) at the 2016 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF). AzSEF Awards Website
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    The Willis Concert Orchestra participated in the Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA) adjudicated festival and received an Excellent Plus rating. ABODA Website
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    Willis Symphonic Jazz Band received Superior with Distinction at this year's state band festival -- now they compete with the top 10 bands in May!
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    Twenty-one Willis Firebird students have voluntarily read over 1 million words this year!
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    Mr. Jeff Delp was awarded the Si Se Puede Administrator of the Year award for his continued support and advocacy for the Chandler Community.
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    Congratulations to the Willis Symphonic Band and Director John Studzinski for achieving an award of Superior with Distinction at the state band festival. This is the highest award possible.
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    Iris Diaz, seventh grader at Willis Junior High, won the schoolwide Geography Bee. Iris then took the state qualifying Geography Bee assessment and qualified for the Arizona state Geography Bee. The state Geography Bee will be held Friday, April 1st. Congratulations, Iris! Willis Junior High is very proud of you! National Geographic State Geography Bees Website
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    There are over 40 members in our reading club, The Fellowship of the Readers, and of those readers 2 have read over 5 million words, 2 have read over 3 million words, another 2 that have read over 2 million words, and 8 who have exceeded 1 million words.
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    Willis Firebots (Robotics) Team X won the Team Championship at the ACP Erie Robotics Tournament. Well done, Firebots and Coach Prichard!
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    Iris Diaz won the Willis Junior High Geography Bee!
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    Chandler City Council recognized the Willis Jazz Band! In the ZONA: Willis Junior High's Jazz Band Performs at the Jazz Education Network
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    Willis Vex Robotics team were named the champions of the Madison Highland Prep Robotics tournament in Phoenix, AZ.
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    Willis students raised over $1,200 for the Chandler Care Center Thanksgiving Family Assistance Day!
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    John Studzinski, Band Teacher, was named Best Middle School Teacher by the East Valley Tribune! East Valley Tribune: Best Middle School Teacher - John Studzinski
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    Four Willis Junior High choir students, Lile Deliman, Emma Francisco, Britain Stokes, and Claire Wiles, qualified for the Cantaremos Honor Choir Festival!
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    On January 30th, the Willis Orchestra held an invitational Orchestra Extravaganza concert that included over 200 Orchestra students from Willis JHS, Chandler High School, Shumway El., Sanborn El., Frye El., Bologna El., Humphrey CTA, Liberty CTA, and Knox Gifted Academy. Parents were treated to enthusiastic performances of students from varying ability level from 2nd year players to High School level.
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    Willis Jazz Band, directed by John Studzinski, was selected to perform at The International Jazz Educators Network Conference in Louisville, 2016. Only one junior high in the WORLD is selected to perform at this annual event. This is Willis's second international conference.
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    Mrs. Janine Hernandez was selected for the November Arizona Cardinals MVP of the Classroom!
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