School Notes: Mesa school, Home Depot partner to teach job skills - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

School Notes: Mesa school, Home Depot partner to teach job skills

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Michelle Reese covers education for the Tribune and blogs about motherhood and family issues at Contact her at

Michelle Reese covered education for the Tribune, also blogging about motherhood and family issues at

Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 12:58 pm | Updated: 3:34 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

What’s even better than getting your high school diploma?

How about graduating with skills to go out and get a job immediately?

A group of 10 students preparing to don caps and gowns from Mesa’s Sun Valley High School got just that thanks to a Mesa Home Depot. In fact, one student’s already heard the words, “You’re hired.”

During the 18-week pilot program, the students created a 15-by-9 foot home at the back of the Home Depot store located at Val Vista and Broadway roads.

“They learned everything from creating footings and pouring concrete to framing, electrical and plumbing,” said Shawn Coats, director of vocational education at the charter school.

Some of the students had previous light construction experience, Coats said, but a few, “had never swung a hammer.”

So not only did they learn handy skills for the workplace and home (including workplace behavior and safety), they got a confidence boost.

Now that’s something to celebrate this graduation week.

Chandler students raise $11,000 to fight cancer

Fighting cancer takes several steps.

But by putting one foot in front of the other, a group of 72 Chandler High School students moved that goal closer to fruition.

From 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. one day this spring, students from the school’s International Baccalaureate program and Interact Club, a partnership with the local Rotary Club, walked for the Relay for Life event at Chandler’s Basha High School.

Together, the Chandler High students collected about $11,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society.

Altogether, that one May event raised $206,440. Students from all four Chandler Unified School District high schools participated.

Way to go Team Chandler!

Gilbert school’s invention wins

Next time you want a comical cake topper, check out the one created by students at Gilbert’s Greenfield Junior High School.

The team from the Future Business Leaders of America club imagined, drafted and built a machine that first blows up a balloon, then pops it. For their efforts, the group won third place for middle schoolers in the International Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

Not sure what a Rube Goldberg is? Neither was I. But thanks to Webster’s (and a handy press release), I learned. It’s a “comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation.”

Simply put, it was just plain fun for the kids to create.

Pom team from Mesa’s Mountain View praised

The Mountain View High School pom line did it again.

So well did they perform at this spring’s National Pom & Cheer competition in Anaheim that the girls won their second, consecutive division title. That was on top of the state title they claimed earlier this year.

Congrats to the Mesa school’s pom squad.

• School Notes are compiled by education reporter Michelle Reese. Read more school news at, and follow us on Facebook ( and on Twitter (@EVEdNews).

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