School briefs: Schools closed for holiday - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

School briefs: Schools closed for holiday

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Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009 12:50 pm | Updated: 12:35 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Schools closed

Mesa Unified School District will be on holiday break Thursday and Friday .


Schools closed

Mesa Unified School District will be on holiday break Thursday and Friday .

Student chosen for U.S. Army band

Tabitha Cox, a student at Mesa’s Mountain View High School, has been selected as a member of the third annual U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.

Cox will join 96 other musicians selected to perform in the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl half-time show on Jan. 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl features the nation’s top 90 high school football players and will be telecast live on NBC.

Holiday concerts spotlight youth

Schools around the Mesa Unified School District are gearing up for holiday concerts, many of them free to the public. The performances at elementary, junior high and high schools spotlight the young talent in the Valley. For a list of shows, see

29 are National Merit semifinalists

The Mesa Unified School District is recognizing 29 students named semifinalists in 2010 National Merit scholarship competition. The seniors represent the district’s six comprehensive high schools — Dobson, Mesa, Mountain View, Red Mountain, Skyline and Westwood.

Semifinalist standing is based on scores from the 2008 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of the nation’s high school seniors and include the highest scoring students in each state. They may choose to compete for finalist standing and the opportunity to be eligible for awards and scholarships. A list of students is on the district’s Web site,


Schools closed for holiday

Chandler Unified School District will be on holiday break Thursday and Friday .

Dream Builder honors Hamilton senior

Jason Artigas, a senior at Chandler’s Hamilton High School, was recently honored as an Arizona Dream Builder Foundation scholar. Artigas has received the Hamilton Academic Award from 2006 through 2009 and is involved in choir and theater. A dinner was held Nov. 14 to honor Artigas and other scholar winners, who each received a $4,000 scholarship to be used at a college or university of their choice. To learn more about the Arizona Dream Builder Foundation, visit

District teacher wins World Award

Melinda Romero, who works in the Chandler Unified School District and has been teaching for 38 years, is one of eight women who will receive 2009 World Awards from the Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council.

The women — all Girl Scouts alumni — were selected because they “exemplify the Girl Scout Promise and Law in their personal lives and make meaningful contributions to the betterment of their community.” A luncheon will be held Dec. 5 at the Arizona Biltmore Spa & Resort. The World Awards are open to the public, and luncheon tickets are $75. All proceeds support Girl Scouts programs. For more information, contact Leslie Friedman at (602) 452-7003 or visit

Concert to help Willis band for trip

Students in the Willis Junior High School Jazz Band, directed by John Studzinski, will perform at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago next month . This music conference is the largest in the world, attended by more than 15,000 music educators and performers.

Willis is the only junior high school jazz band selected for this event. To help the ensemble prepare for this event, a “send-off” concert will be performed at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 350 N. Arizona Ave.


Schools closed

Apache Junction schools will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cadets win 1st place at 'Brain Brawl’

For the second year in a row, the Apache Junction High School Navy JROTC Academic Team placed first in the annual Arizona academic “Brain Brawl” competition hosted at AJHS on Oct. 31. AJHS defeated Tucson’s Sahuarita High School in the last round to win.

The students will now represent Arizona at the Western Regional championships in March in San Diego. The “Brain Brawl” is an academic competition that measures cadet knowledge of naval science curriculum and current events.

This will be the second trip to California for the AJHS cadets, who placed second in the Western region last year. Team members are Grace Kennedy, Tyler Meason, Logan McClincy and Austin Kennedy.


Highland High band wins 1st place

Gilbert’s Highland High School won first place at the first Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association State Marching Band Championship Nov. 14 at Phoenix College. The band competed in the Division One competition against 10 other Arizona schools.

Band members wore teal ribbons and dedicated their show to 16-year-old Kelly Tracy, who died in November 2008 after her car was hit by a drunken driver. She was on her way to perform in a parade with the Highland High School band.

The Highland band performed a “Phantom of the Opera” show in the competition and won with a final score of 83.9 points.

Highland’s marching band, directed by Kevin Bennett, is made up of 143 members who practice seven to eight hours a week.

Band members participate in a number of competitions, festivals and mini camps on Saturdays throughout the fall.

Gilbert board to meet Tuesday

The Gilbert Unified School District governing board will meet 7 p.m. Tuesday at the district office, 140 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert. This will be the first meeting for newly appointed board member Adelaida Severson, who is filling the seat left vacant by Van Dunham.

Board members are expected to discuss an agreement among Arizona Public Service, Gilbert Elementary School and the district office. They will also discuss a transfer of employee benefit trust funds, establishing a board position in the Arizona School Boards Association, bylaw changes, and selecting a delegate and alternate member to attend ASBA events.

Information: (480) 497-3300 or

No school Thursday and Friday

There is no school on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Burk student wins 2nd in essay contest

Ali Costello, a sixth-grade student at Gilbert’s Burk Elementary School, won second place in the elementary school category of the VA Veterans Day Essay Contest.

Ali read her winning essay at a breakfast held at the Carl T. Hayden Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix. Ali then rode on the Hall of Flame firetruck in the VA Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11.

About 450 students from 38 Arizona schools submitted essays on what the VA Veterans Day Parade theme, “Home of the Free, Because of the Brave,” meant to them.

Grants promote Summer of Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering its 2010 Learn and Serve America, Summer of Service grants competition, a new program authorized under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The new grant funding of $1 million will support innovative summertime service-learning programs for students in sixth through ninth grades.

The corporation anticipates awarding five to seven grants to support collaborative efforts to implement community-based service-learning projects during the summer months.

To qualify for funding, projects will have to provide students with service-learning experiences that address environmental or disaster preparedness issues relevant to the community served, and teach or reinforce academic, civic and leadership development for participants.

Participants in the Summer of Service must complete at least 100 hours of service through the summer program and are eligible to receive a $500 education award for postsecondary education expenses. The application deadline is Dec. 10.


Education briefs run on Sunday. To submit an item for Gilbert and Queen Creek schools, send the pertinent information to Hayley Ringle at

Chandler, Mesa and Apache Junction school briefs are compiled by education reporter Michelle Reese. Contact her at or (480) 898-6549.

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