Tags Articles tagged with "MHS"


by -
Isaiah Crawford

The Maricopa High School football team had a reversal of fortune Friday night against their toughest opponent yet. The visiting Higley Knights defeated the Rams 63-14 in the first week of San Tan region play. The Rams, playing without a head coach, went out in front early on a Jordan Huddleston pass to Jacob Cowing. In the second quarter, running back Mister Chavis bulled his way into the end zone, and Maricopa led 14-6. From that point, the Knights’ offensive and defensive lines locked in. As Higley reeled off 57 straight points, Maricopa could only occasionally get big yardage and eventually wore down. Higley also protected its quarterbacks well most of the game, though Logan Taylor still managed to collect enough sacks to give them the yips in the pocket. Most of Maricopa’s yardage came in the air, 195 of the 280 total yards. Higley took full advantage of Maricopa miscues, turning a fumble and an interception into touchdowns. Maricopa’s record moved to 4-2. Friday, the Rams travel to Gilbert’s Campo Verde, 5-1, for another San Tan contest.



Bernadette Russoniello

By Bernadette Russoniello

Are you applying for post-secondary education and need Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? The process is easier than ever.

 First, visit FAFSA.gov. You must create your FSA ID. You will need to have your Social Security number (SSN), full legal name, birthdate, current address and a personal email address. It is imperative students do not use their school Gmail address as it cannot receive responses from outside the organization. The process takes 5-10 minutes. A parent must create an FSA ID for themselves to electronically sign the FAFSA.

Once you have your FSA ID, create a new application. The FAFSA application opens Oct. 1 for the 2019-20 school year. You will need your parents’ SSNs and 2017 federal tax return. The best part about the online system is that when you enter your parents’ SSNs, the FAFSA automatically links to the IRS database and imports all financial information.

Complicated family situation? For the FAFSA, the “parent” is the legal guardian, biological or adoptive. If a student is living with an alternate family member or friend, information must still be reported for the parent. If parents are divorced, the student should report the parent who either they live with most or provides the most financial support. A stepparent income must also be reported.

Even more complicated? The financial aid offices of your applicant schools will work with you to help sort out the complexities of these situations. Unfortunately, for the federal government all students are considered financial dependents of their parents until the age of 24, regardless of living arrangements and reality.

What if my parent(s) are not legal residents? As long as you are a U.S. citizen, you can qualify for FAFSA. If your parents do not have an SSN, enter all zeros for the SSN.

Parents: How can you help? File your taxes on time so your child can be eligible for maximum support.

Be prepared with your applicant schools. On the FAFSA application, you can share your financial information electronically with up to 10 schools. You want to be intentional and purposeful in this selection. Once you confirm the schools have received your info, you can change your submission to 10 other schools. However, it can take the receiving institutions up to eight weeks to process your data, so be sure to prioritize.

The anticipated aid amount for the federal Pell Grant is $6,095. Federal grants can be used for community college, trade schools and universities, public or private. Grants are renewable up to four years if you pass all your classes and maintain full-time enrollment.

Once you submit your application, you will immediately receive an email from the Department of Education. This email is not a congratulations on completing the form; it is the confirmation letter with your anticipated aid. The letter will include your expected family contribution (EFC) and your anticipated aid. The EFC indicates the amount of money you are expected to contribute toward your college education.

Maricopa High School will host a community Financial Aid night Oct. 22 for families struggling with the process or wanting additional support.

Bernadette Russoniello is the Career and College coordinator at Maricopa High School. She can be reached at BRussoniello@MUSD20.org.

This column appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

by -
MHS head coach Brandon Harris (right) had a physical confrontation with Central head coach Jon Clanton Sept. 14. Photo by Jeff Hazlett

From the desk of Maricopa High School Principal Brian Winter: This is the response from Coach Brandon Harris regarding the events that transpired at the conclusion of the homecoming football game on Friday, Sept. 14:

“Since being named head coach of our football program, I have been obsessive in my belief that our program should model behavior that is consistent with excellence, good character and high morals. This past Friday, some of my actions weren’t consistent with this. My direct supervisor (AD Jake Neill) instructed me to do certain things at the end of the altercation with Central’s coach, and I did not comply.

“After reflection, I realize that my actions are not consistent with what I have modeled for our coaches and players up to this point. I can’t in good conscience accept that this should be overlooked. I have suspended players this season and sat players – even just last week for conduct I felt was unbecoming. I am just a man, I am fallible, and I make mistakes. I made one last Friday.

“To not hold myself to the same standards I talk about wouldn’t be the right thing to do. I’m as competitive as they come, and I live for matchups like this Friday, because if you are a competitor you want to coach in big games against the best competition possible. So, this is as painful as it can be for me, but as much as it pains me, and the obvious jeopardy it will put our team in, some things are more important than wins and losses – I want to be remembered for how I lived my life.

“I am not going to coach in the Higley game this Friday because of the part I played in Friday night’s incident following the game. I am taking this opportunity to apologize to our Superintendent, Principal, Athletic Director, my colleagues in the greater good for teaching, along with my coaches, players and our city for my conduct. The last thing I want to do is represent us in a negative light.”

The Rams celebrate after a "fluke" touchdown by Logan Taylor (42). Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School football team routed Central, 55-0, in a shortened Homecoming game that ended with a brief brawl that was not instigated by the players.

The Rams scored eight touchdowns as a variety of players off the bench saw action throughout the night. Maricopa became the third team to score at least 50 points on Central High School, which is now 0-5. Maricopa’s record improved to 4-1.

The post-game handshake between coaches Jon Clanton (left) and Brandon Harris wasn’t really a handshake. Photo by Jeff Hazlett

After the Rams went ahead 21-0 in the first quarter on scores by senior Tylen Coleman and sophomore Mister Chavis, Marcopa had the game salted away by the half. Senior quarterback Jordan Huddleston scored on a 12-yard keeper. After suffering one of their worst drives of the season in the middle of the second quarter, Huddleston hit senior Jacob Cowing with a 77-yard pass.

When the Bobcats tried to punt on their next possession, Maricopa senior defensive end Logan Taylor grabbed the ball and took it in for a 10-yard touchdown to give the Rams the 41-0 lead at the break.

The Bobcats came close to getting on the board with a first-and-goal situation on the 4, but the Maricopa defense stopped two runs and two pass attempts.

After the odd sight of senior guard Trey Keel receiving a pass for a first down, backup quarterback Daxton Redfern tossed to Cowing for a touchdown and passed for a two-point conversion. That put the score at 49-0 with 4:38 remaining in the game.

In the last two minutes, Kaireem Moreira took the ball 78 yards for the game-ending touchdown.

But it wasn’t the end of the action, at least for Central head coach Jon Clanton. Eye-witness accounts of the post-game handshake indicated Clanton instead pulled Maricopa head coach Brandon Harris toward him, pushed him, yelled at him and knocked off his hat. Harris allegedly then punched the much-taller Clanton.

While players started shoving each other, the coaches were separated, and Maricopa officials sent the Rams to the locker room.

Clanton later said Maricopa’s actions in running up the score were “classless.” He acknowledged knocking off Harris’s hat, but said, “I don’t throw punches.” The incident will be reviewed by AIA.

Next week, Maricopa jumps into region play by hosting Higley (4-1). The game is Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Ram Stadium.

Coach Brandon Harris talks to his team after a win at South Mountain High School.

The Maricopa High School Rams won their third football game of the season, but the head coach wasn’t exactly happy about the way it all happened.

In a penalty-laden contest, MHS defeated South Mountain on the road, 23-18. The win improved their record to 3-1, but coach Brandon Harris called the effort “piss-poor.”

Along with missed assignments and inconsistent execution, flags for personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct marred the night for Maricopa.

“Disrespecting the game, disrespecting the city of Maricopa, the school, not representing ourselves on the field well,” Harris listed his issues with what occurred. He said it came as a surprise to him and did not reflect the team’s preparations for the game.

The Rams scored on their first possession with a 31-yard run by sophomore Mister Chavis and never relinquished the lead. Maricopa scored again early in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by senior Kaireem Moreira.

The Jaguars turned a fumble recovery into a quick passing touchdown late in the second. After blocking the point-after kick attempt, Maricopa went into halftime with a 14-6 lead.

While the Rams relied more heavily on the legs of quarterback Jordan Huddleston than his arm, the Maricopa defensive line stymied South Mountain’s ground attack. Jags quarterback Roghon Arnold had the ball in the air most of the second half. That included a 16-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Cotton to edge close to Maricopa, 14-12, at the start of the fourth quarter.

Maricopa’s junior kicker Roberto Esqueda kicked a 31-yard field goal to create a little more breathing room. After a Michael Soliz interception near Maricopa’s 15, Chavis took the ball all the way down field to score again with 2:50 remaining in the game.

“Mister Chavis played well tonight,” Harris said. “He did a lot of good things for us.”

South Mountain capped off the game with a long drive that ended in a quarterback keeper for the final touchdown.

The win kept Maricopa on pace with the rest of the 5A San Tan Region, currently tied for third. The Rams return home this week for Homecoming against Central on Friday at 7 p.m. They then start region play with a home game against Higley Sept. 21.

7 | 7 | 0 | 9    — 23
0 | 6 | 0 | 12 — 18

Photo by Victor Moreno

The Maricopa High School swim team hosted its first home meet Thursday, going up against American Leadership Academy at Copper Sky Aquatic Center.

MHS freshman Connor Schrader won two events, the 200-meter freestyle (2:02.3) and the 100-meter butterfly (1:01.6).

“While both our girls and guys lost the meet, we continue to see significant improvement from all of our swimmers,” coach Laura Logan said. “I continue to remind them this is a process, no magic wands. Continue to work hard and improvement will continue; can’t ask for more.”

In the team competition, the ALA girls scored 101 points to MHS’s 66.

For the Rams, Olivia Byers placed second in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100 fly. Also in second were the 200-meter medley relay team of Paige Hennigar, Meghan Jackson, Byers and Mandy Carroll, and the 400-meter freestyle relay team of Byers, Aubree Wittemann, Eva Zavala and Hennigar.

In third place were Hennigar in the 200 free and the 500 free; Carroll in the 50 free and the 100 free; Katelynn James in the 100 fly; Emma Carr in the 100-meter backstroke, Zavala in the 100 breaststroke; and the 200-meter freestyle relay team of Wittemann, Zavala, Jackson and Carroll.

In the boys’ competition, ALA had 87 points, and MHS scored 72.

Ram Rafe Scoresby was second in the 200 IM, as was Nolan Ford in the 500 free and 100 back. Also finishing second were the 200 medley relay team of Ford, Joseph Lambert, Schrader and Kian Carroll; the 200 free relay team of Camden Bitter, Logan Nordhoff, Gerik Kramarczyk and Chase Woodhouse; and the 400 free relay team of Kian Carroll, Woodhouse, Ford and Schrader.

Finishing in third place were Bitter in the 200 free, Victor Moreno in the 200 IM and 100 fly, Kian Carroll in the 50 free, Nordhoff in the 100 free; Woodhouse in the 500 free; Lambert in the 100 breast; the 200 medley relay of Egan Packard, Kramarczyk, Abel Rodriquez and Moreno; the 200 free relay of Lambert, Rodriguez, Packard and Jayden Call; and the 400 free relay of Nordhoff, Scoresby, Call and Bitter.

The Rams will also have home meets on Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and Oct. 11, all starting at 4 p.m.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Nancy Saldana is ready for Spirit Week. Submitted photo

Students and community members will paint the town red in September. Maricopa High School will host its annual homecoming week Sept. 10-15.

Senior Nancy Saldana, 17, is spearheading the effort to promote school spirit on and off campus to media outlets.

“I want to make the most out of it, so I just took a leadership role by myself and I started talking to teachers, student council and the principal and started to make this happen,” Saldana said.

Spirit week at MHS will reflect this year’s “Once Upon a Time” homecoming theme.

It’s a weeklong show of school pride when students and staff attend classes dressed in coordinating costumes.

“We’re incorporating Disney into it,” Saldana said.

Spirit Days at MHS (students only)

Monday: Monsters University – College gear.

Tuesday: Sleeping Beauty – Pajama clothes.

Wednesday: Woody’s Roundup – Western clothing.

Thursday: Ohana Day – Hawaiian shirts.

Friday: Ram out – Red, white and black Ram gear.

The public is encouraged to attend events that are open to the community.

MHS staff will face off with students in a football contest Sept. 10 at Ram Stadium.

Ramfest will return this year to Copper Sky Sept. 13. The citywide party celebrating MHS pride includes vendors, live music, a bonfire, and the annual matchup between alumni and city football players.

Before the big game Sept. 14, the homecoming parade will make its way from Maricopa Wells Middle School  to Ram Stadium at MHS. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m.

Homecoming Week Events:

Monday, Sept. 10: Staff vs. Students Football Game, 7 p.m. at Ram Stadium. (Open to the public).

Tuesday, Sept. 11: Movies Under the Stars at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at 7 p.m. (Students only).

Wednesday, Sept. 12: Freshman Football Game, 6 p.m. at Ram Stadium (Open to the public).

Thursday, Sept. 13: Ramfest, 6-9 p.m. at Copper Sky. (Open to the public).

Friday, Sept. 14: Homecoming Parade and Community tailgate at 5:30 p.m. Homecoming Game begins 7 p.m. at Ram Stadium. (Open to the public).

Saturday, Sept. 15: Homecoming Dance, 7-10 p.m. at MHS. (Students only).


Tylen Coleman carries the ball into scoring range at Apollo. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Digging deep in the fourth quarter, the Maricopa High School football team pulled out a win at Apollo in Glendale Friday night, 27-20.

 The Rams improved to 2-1 on the season.

Though Maricopa took a 13-0 lead early, the Rams had to fight back from a 20-13 deficit.

“In the fourth quarter, we just decided we were going to put our foot in the dirt, and we were going to keep driving,” said senior Tylen Coleman, a standout defensive end and running back for the Rams.

The Rams scored the first time they touched the football. Senior Jacob Cowing grabbed the opening kickoff from the 8 and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. On Roberto Esqueda’s point-after kick, Maricopa went up 7-0 with only 12 second off the clock.

Just seconds into the second quarter, sophomore Mister Chavis scored from the 5, and Maricopa led 13-0.

But the Hawks pull themselves together and started to get their offense firing in the middle of the game. They scored on consecutive possessions to move past Maricopa.

Apollo continued to hold back the Rams throughout the third quarter, then created a 10-play drive that led to a touchdown with 1:15 left in the quarter.

Maricopa’s final drive of the third became its first drive of the fourth. It was capped off by Coleman scampering in from the 35-yard line to tie the score, 20-20.

The Rams took advantage of an Apollo fumble to jump start their final scoring drive. Cowing grabbed a 29-yard pass from Daxton Redfern to score with 7:21 remaining in the game.

The Rams have scored 12 touchdowns through three games. They next play Friday at South Mountain (1-2) in Phoenix. The game starts at 7 p.m.

by -
Photo by Victor Moreno

Maricopa High School opened the season for its first-ever swim team in a tri-meet Thursday against Poston Butte and Apache Junction.

“It was a great effort/showing for our first-ever meet,” head coach Laura Logan said.

The boys’ team place second, and the girls were third.

Ram swimmers placing first were freshman Connor Schrader in the 500-meter freestyle in 5:35.4, and sophomore Olivia Byers, also in the 500 free, in 6:17.7.

Second-place performances came from Schrader in the 100-meter butterfly, Nolan Ford in the 100-meter backstroke, Aubree Witteman in the 100 fly, the boys’ 400-meter freestyle relay team of Ford, Victor Moreno, Kian Caroll and Schrader, and the girls 400 free relay team of Aubree Witteman, Emily Hollingworth, Eva Zavala and Byers.

Finishing in third were Rafe Scoresby in the 200 free, Byers in the 200-meter individual medley, Witteman in the 200 free, Mandy Caroll in the 50 free, Meghan Jackson in the 100-meter breaststroke, the boys’ 200-meter medley relay team of Schrader, Joseph Lambert, Moreno and Ford, and the girls’ 400 free relay team of Emily Frauth, Kaitlyn Crean, Deborah Stenzel and Malia Kealoha.

Pima Butte won the boys’ competition with an overall score of 143 points. MHS had 82 and Apache Junction 68. Pima Butte also won the girls’ competition with 119 points. Apache Junction had 91 points and MHS 85.

Maricopa hosts its first home meet Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. at Copper Sky against American Leadership Academy and Valley Christian.

Submitted photo

Cadets from Maricopa High School AFJROTC participated in the 2018 Buckeye ROTC Toughest Team Competition held Aug. 18 at Buckeye High School.

MHS placed third in Physical Training (PT) Relay, fourth place in Dodge Ball, and first place in Tug of War, resulting in first place overall.

by -
Submitted photo

Saturday, the Maricopa High School Marching Rams traveled to Chase Field as part of the annual Diamondbacks Band Night. The Marching Bands performed the National Anthem among bands from Tombstone High School, Desert Mountain High School, Ironwood High School, Raymond S. Kellis High School and Rancho Solano Prep. The massed band was led by Rebecca Robinson, band director from Tombstone High School. Following the performance, the band enjoyed watching the first-place Dbacks take on the Seattle Mariners.

The Maricopa High School Band was honored to be part of this event and would like to thank Rebecca Robinson for her leadership of the group as well as Tom Demeter and the Arizona Diamondbacks for coordinating this event and making this opportunity possible.

The Marching Rams will be back for Homecoming on Sept. 14 and open their competitive season at the AzMBA Millennium High School Show on Sept. 22.

by -
Senior Isaiah Crawford takes the ball downfield for the Maricopa Rams.

In a messy, dusty Game 2, Maricopa High School’s football team lost at Millennium, 26-21. That evened the Rams’ record at 1-1. The Tigers took a 12-7 lead over Maricopa in the first quarter. After pushing that to 26-7 in the third, Millennium did not score again. With both offensive lines showing vulnerability, the quarterbacks were under pressure all game and Maricopa coach Brandon Harris began rotating his QBs, Jordan Huddleston and Daxton Redfern, with mixed results. In the third quarter in the middle of a full-blown dust storm, Maricopa used a 70-yard kickoff return by Isaiah Crawford to set up a 12-yard touchdown run by Jacob Cowing. With time running out near game’s end and little official attention to the play clock or game clock, Mister Chavis ran in from the 6 for the final score. Harris told the Rams he was proud of them for never quitting despite being down. Maricopa next plays a non-region game at Apollo Friday at 7 p.m.

Maricopa won a non-league game over McClintock at home Friday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

With a new coach and many untried varsity players, the newest incarnation of the Maricopa High School football team won its first game of the season Friday.

Hosting McClintock from Tempe, the Rams scored first and never gave up the lead, winning 38-21.

Head coach Brandon Harris kept alive his lifelong, first-game winning streak, pointing out it’s the only game all season for which they have four months to prepare.

“I told those kids coming out, ‘We’ve had all this time to prepare, so we got to win,’” Harris said. “And they did. They responded. There was a lot of good things out there tonight.”

That included scoring six touchdowns and a defense Harris described as “lights out.”

There were “early-season errors” and protection issues on the offensive line as Maricopa fans got their first real look at new quarterback Jordan Huddleston, a senior transfer student. Though he had only a few chances to show off his arm, he did pass to senior Jacob Cowing for a touchdown.

“These kids, most of them have never started a varsity football game. Kaireem [Moreira], he never started a varsity football game. Mister Chavis is a sophomore who we moved into that spot. Tylen [Coleman] played defense … so this is his first time carrying the football.”

Coleman, a standout last year on D, played both ways Friday, inflicting touchdowns and sacks on the Chargers.

Moreira put the Rams into the end zone first five and a half minutes into the game. Coleman ran in from the 17 to put Maricopa up 12-0 while still in the first quarter. With the Rams having early special-teams problems, McClintock’s William Roberts was able to juggle and drop a kickoff return and still return it 80 yards for a touchdown to bring the Chargers within five points.

Both teams scored a touchdown apiece in the second quarter, and the Rams went into the locker room leading 19-14.

But Cowing scored on a 15-yard reception and then grabbed a crucial interception to get the ball back. That eventually led to Coleman scoring from the 6-yard line to put Maricopa ahead 31-14. Though the Chargers scored quickly in the fourth, the Ram offense had long possessions, wrapping it up with a one-yard touchdown run by Chavis.

“We’re just trying to develop championship habits,” Harris said. “We showed some tonight, and some not so good.”

by -
Bernadette Russoniello

By Bernadette Russoniello

‘Where are you going to college?” “What’s your major?” “Where do you want to go to school?” Unfortunately, these questions are far too common for the average teen. We place incredible pressure on students to pick their college of choice; we even measure or judge students by their college ambitions.

The focus of meaningful college and career-ready conversations needs to shift to career. What career do you want? What major will help you attain your career plans? Where do you want to work?

The entire purpose of post-secondary education is to attain specific skills, knowledge and experiences to better prepare us for a career. At the secondary level, we tend to put too much emphasis on the two to eight years of college we prepare students for, rather than the 40 to 50 years that will span their working life.

We need to shift the conversation from college and career to college FOR career.

Why the push for college? Estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate the average earnings for those with college degrees or certified credentials almost double that of a high school graduate. The same statistics show unemployment rates decrease by the same margins.

What is college? When I speak with students, I explain that college is any form of post-secondary education or training that prepares them for a career. College can take many forms apart from the four-year university, including trade schools, certification or licensure, community college, apprenticeships or the military. I challenge students to first consider what they want from life – what do they value? Is it money? Family? Lifestyle? Purpose? What do they consider a “good income”? Once these questions are prioritized, we can dive into possible directions and pathways for their consideration.

When students consider career options, they need to consider how potential careers match their income needs and how the job fits their lifestyle needs and desires.

There are many resources available online to help provide students guidance and direction in career aspirations. A good starting point is the Myers-Briggs-type indicator. Most universities have some form of an interest profiler and major match available on their websites.

Arizona State offers the Me3 assessment, an online picture-based inventory while University of Arizona offers Degree Search, a clickable interactive checklist of criteria to help match students with their best possible field.

Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Research and set your career goals, determine what school or program will best fit those plans, and start building relevant skills and experiences to achieve your dreams.

Bernadette Russoniello is the Career and College coordinator at Maricopa High School. She can be reached at BRussoniello@MUSD20.org.

This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

A1C Louis Chavez working on an F-16 in Texas. Submitted photo

Two former cadets from the Maricopa High School Air Force Junior ROTC program recently updated current cadets on their military status.

Airman 1st Class Louis Chavez graduated from Aircraft Electronic and Environmental Systems Specialist Technical School at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. He stopped by MHS Monday to talk to the AFJROTC cadets. He is now on his way to his first duty assignment at the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Mildenhall Air Base, England.

Andrew Bounsone is in the U.S. Army. Submitted photo

Andrew Bounsone graduated from U.S. Army basic training. He will become a tactical power generation specialist (91D). He will be responsible for supervising and performing maintenance and overhaul of power-generation equipment, internal combustion engines and associated equipment in mobile and stationary power plants.

Chavez graduated from MHS in 2017, Bounsone in 2018.

This year's MHS Rams include (from left) Trey Keel, Jake Meyer, Jordan Huddleston, Tylen Coleman and Michael Flood. Photo by Victor Moreno


There was very little leisure for Maricopa High School football players this summer.

“We call it ‘one heartbeat;’ it’s kind of the analogy we use. We all have to work in concert for it to work.” — Coach Brandon Harris

New head coach Brandon Harris ran practices every morning, five days a week. Many nights were filled by 7-on-7 tournaments. Two weeks before the first day of school, the team left to its annual football camp in Winslow.

The coaches spend more time with athletes than ever before, Harris said, a practice in measuring the team’s pulse on – and off – the field.

MHS head coach Brandon Harris. Photo by Mason Callejas

“We call it ‘one heartbeat;’ it’s kind of the analogy we use,” Harris said of the team’s culture. “We all have to work in concert for it to work.”

When they weren’t running drills, teammates worked in unison fundraising for the program. They were coached by Harris on representing the school and the city well, he said.

The kids reportedly received compliments on their polite behavior during car washes and other engagements where athletes and coaches introduced themselves to the community.

“We are working smart; we’re working hard,” Harris said.

This summer, athletes hit the weight room after their meals – an intake of protein and carbohydrates developed by coaching staff. And while participating in any activity together, Harris only allows uplifting communication between the group.

“We don’t coach from any negativity or fear because fear is very close to hatred and you can’t play well with either one of those feelings,” Harris said.

Harris is an experienced leader on the gridiron, having previously coached championship high school state team sand collegiately.

His goal is to reinvent the Rams, who will sport redesigned uniforms, into a team that not only wins games, but wins in life.

New district Athletic Director Jacob Neill likes the approach.

“If you have a high level of participation and you’re successful in what you’re doing with the kids in your program, it’s going to ultimately have a positive impact on the culture of not just your athletics program but your entire school,” Neill said.

In 2016, Neill left the district after working four years as head basketball coach at MHS. He was the AD and assistant principal of Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley before his recent return to Maricopa.

That experience has lent well to the football program under Harris.

“First of all, he’s a former coach,” Harris said of Neill. “He’s been doing this awhile and he gets it.”

While the Rams work to recreate themselves and improve upon last year’s 6-4 record, the team is also adjusting to a new, competitive region.

Harris said the team had “flashes of spectacular play” against opponents in the 5A San Tan Region during the 7-on-7s this summer.

But Neill and Harris agreed the region will be a great test for the program that is still developing its pulse.

“We are a team that’s loaded with a lot of players and talent, and now it’s just a matter of us putting that talent to use,” Harris said.

MHS Football
All varsity games at 7 p.m.
Aug. 17 vs. McClintock
Aug. 24 @ Millennium
Aug. 31 @ Apollo
Sept. 7 @ South Mountain
Sept. 14 vs. Central
Sept. 21 vs. Higley
Sept. 28 @ Campo Verde
Oct. 5 @ Williams Field
Oct. 19 vs. Casteel
Oct. 26 vs. Gilbert

This story appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.


A Maricopa firefighter works a hydrant, though water was not necessary to shut down the situation. Photo by Michelle Chance

An estimated 1,000 Maricopa High School students were evacuated from the two-story 100 building Thursday morning after a report of smoke.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department officials said a power surge caused light valances on the top floor to burn. MFMD had six vehicles on location.

Students were initially taken to the football field, but school officials soon began the process of moving them to a cooler location. Maricopa Unified School District spokesman Tom Beckett said the students would be taken to the gymnasium before first lunch.

No injuries were reported, according to MFMD Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez. The school sent out messages to parents indicating there was no need to pick up their children and the building was expected to be inhabitable as soon as it is cleared by Electrical District No. 3.

Firefighters shut down electrical power and checked for hot spots. The smoke was first reported by students.

See future leaders at work: Maricopa High School students and Be Awesome Youth Coalition will be on the scene to help run the InMaricopa Town Hall on Saturday.

Students will get a peek at the democratic process during a candidate debate in August.

The Primary Election Town Hall, an InMaricopa.com event, will host candidates vying for local, state and federal positions.

Tentative Itinerary for InMaricopa Town Hall

Teens from around Maricopa will volunteer there with various organizations, the leaders of which hope the students will learn real-world skills like representation, proper debate and public interaction.

“The kids who will show up to an event like this will be engaged kids who are serious and polite who want to be involved and know their issues,” said Priscilla Behnke, program youth director for Be Awesome Youth Coalition.

Up to eight teens will represent the group during the town hall, including students from Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway Academy.

It’s Behnke’s view that those who learn to get involved with the community early earn personal benefits like confidence later in life.

“You can’t just wish it, you have to go out there and shake hands and go to the meetings,” Behnke said. “You can be an influencer if you want to.”

BAYC participants attend various events in Maricopa every year. Behnke said she stresses to teens the importance of customer service, honesty and advocacy when her group makes public appearances.

She hopes students will observe the way candidates present themselves and how knowledgeable their responses are.

Behnke also preaches to teens the importance of finding their voices through community engagement, an act she hopes will lead them to “advocate for themselves and for their causes.”

Other student groups and clubs at Maricopa High School are volunteering at the event in various capacities, from student ambassadors to greeters and photographers.

Student Council, Air Force Junior ROTC and other campus organizations of future leaders will be both up front and behind the scenes.

The debate begins 10 a.m. on Aug. 4 at Maricopa High School. Click here to learn more.


Air conditioning failed at Maricopa High School during an excessive heat warning. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

On what is forecast to be a record-breaking day of heat, students at Maricopa High School attended their second morning of classes without properly functioning air conditioning Tuesday.

According to a statement published to social media by the Maricopa Unified School District at 10:23 a.m., a power surge was the culprit that caused the high school’s “main chillers” to shut down.

Maintenance workers restarted the equipment and restored the air conditioning.

“The temperature has gone back to an acceptable level,” according to the statement.

Photos by Michelle Chance

Breakfast treats and coffee, donated by Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, greeted Maricopa High School teachers as they returned to campus July 17. New Principal Brian Winter took to the lecture hall stage early Tuesday morning to discuss school goals, including improving the culture and perception of MHS. Administration and staff are beginning a new school-year calendar, with the first day of school beginning for students July 23.

Members of the Maricopa High School volleyball team had their annual car wash Saturday to raise money for camps and extras not paid for by the school. Sonic allowed the girls use of its parking lot for the event. The season start Aug. 28 with a home match against Camelback.

Laura Logan will be the coach of Maricopa High School's new swim team. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Joycelyn Cabrera

A coach has been confirmed for the newly introduced Maricopa High School swim team, and she’s an award-winner.

Laura Logan, 49, plans to share her experience and training with MHS swimmers.

Logan began swimming at the age of 10, competing in her hometown of Springfield, Illinois, for the next eight years. She qualified to compete in Swimming Junior Nationals in high school, taking her to Orlando, Florida, and earned a full-ride athletic scholarship to Northern Illinois University.

Logan moved to Arizona and in 2004 started Arizona Seals Swimming Academy at Central Arizona College.

“I started the Seals because we moved to Casa Grande, and they don’t have anything,” Logan said.

Her son was one of the biggest reasons for starting a swim team, giving him options to continue after he had been swimming for teams in Illinois.

Logan took over as a high school swim coach in Casa Grande from 2007 to 2015, using the pool at the CAC campus. The school qualified swimmers for state competitions under Logan’s coaching. She trained state-champion swimmers within three years. Logan was also voted “Men’s D2 Coach of the Year” for AIA Swimming.

“I think my greatest success as a coach was when a young man came out his freshman year to swim on the high school swim team, and he shows up, and he does not put his face in the water,” she said. “He puts the biggest sour-puss face you’ve ever seen a kid do. His senior year, he was the freestyle anchor on all the relays and was part of the group that I took to state. We finished fourth.”

The school program came to an end with the closing of the CAC pool. Logan moved Arizona Seals to Copper Sky as a club team no longer affiliated with a school.

Three years later, Maricopa High School, in conjunction with Copper Sky, is introducing a Rams swim team. Logan anticipates 25-30 students for tryouts.

Sophomore Olivia Byers has already trained with Laura Logan for three years. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

“I’m so excited,” said MHS sophomore Olivia Byers, who has been coached by Logan for three years. “I’m really interested to see who’s going to come out for the team.”

Freshman Connor Schrader has also been a Seal for three years. A multi-sport athlete who doesn’t like “the feeling of sitting around not doing anything,” he’s looking forward to the formation of the high school team.

Connor Schrader comes to the high school team as a freshman. Photo by
Raquel Hendrickson

“It will be a big advantage on the club team,” he said.

While Logan will not have another role at MUSD, her primary focus on the swim team allows her to be limitless in terms of how many students can make the team.

“I never turn anyone away; I’ll work with anybody,” she said.

Logan’s biggest goal in her new position is to teach her athletes lessons through the sport itself, including being goal-oriented.

Logan spends the summer with Arizona Seals Swim Academy and teaches several classes at the Copper Sky pools.

For Olivia, being a swim team member is not just about laps in a pool. “The team is kind of like a family.”


This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Back to School

From left: June Celaya, Thad Miller and Brian Winter

By Murray Siegel

Murray Siegel

This is the third in a series of columns on the school principals in Maricopa.

June Celaya, principal at Desert Wind Middle School, brings 33 years of educational experience to her job. Although she grew up in Philadelphia, she got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, respectively. She has taught multiple subjects in middle and high school and was a magnet school coordinator. Celaya was principal at Maricopa High School before moving to the principal’s office at DWMS three years ago.

She is most proud of adding a second performing arts teacher at her school, which caused the program to double in size, as well as adding another Blended Learning Program. She looks forward to implementing Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) next year. Her personal credo is that diversity brings opportunity to a school and that a teacher can inspire any student to be a successful learner.

The principal at Maricopa Wells Middle School is Thad Miller, a native Arizonan whose K-12 education was obtained in Maricopa. He is an ASU graduate and obtained a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. Before becoming an administrator, Miller taught science in the middle grades and in high school in MUSD.

He is very pleased the goals established for MWMS year have been realized and work towards academic improvement continues with strong staff support. Miller anticipates continuing with high academic and behavioral expectations as part of the school’s goals next year.

“The new ELA adoption should be a great benefit for our kids,” he said.

He believes a positive relationship is being built between students and faculty that will lead to future success.

Brian Winter is the Maricopa High School principal for the 2018-19 school year. He was born and raised in Minnesota and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from state universities there. He has 30 years’ experience in education in various positions including administrative assignments in Oregon and Arizona.

He takes great pride in the fact MHS has tested every 11th grade student on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and all 12th graders on the ACT standardized college admissions test. This testing was done at no cost to the students due to a grant obtained by the school. His goal as the new principal is to build a connection with every student, whatever it takes.

Murray Siegel has a doctorate in Math Ed and 42 years of teaching experience.

This column appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

by -
Photo by Victor Moreno

Maricopa High School football players tried out their summer skills in a 7-on-7 contest against Mesa June 21. Mesa will host the Rams June 28 at 6 p.m. Photographer Victor Moreno shared his photos. Click on photo to enlarge

Photo by Michelle Chance

From Maricopa High School

Attn: Parents of Maricopa High School Students

Maricopa High School is gearing up for the 2018-2019 school year. We will be starting our modified calendar school year making our summer shorter and preparing for student arrival.

Avoid the RUSH and take advantage of registering your “new” student(s) during the week of July 2. Our registrar’s office will be available to help you with that last minute registration(s).

July 3, 7am-11am

July 5-6, noon-3pm

July 9-12,  for returning students during student check-in

July 16, and beyond during regular office hours.

Appointments can be scheduled by contacting Danielle Byers at dbyers@musd20.org.

As we do every year, we have a week of “Student Check-In”. This is the time parents and students use to pick-up schedules (already enrolled students), speak with a counselor regarding any issue with their schedule; update health records with our site nurse; get their new ID that is a requirement for students to be on campus and also pay fees that may be associated with their schedules (Elective classes have fees). Please visit our Maricopa High School website at: http://mhs.maricopausd.org/ to see what day and time each grade level should plan to attend check-in.

Parents, please note that we are only set up for payment to accept cash or check. Unfortunately, we are not able to do debit/credit.

We hope that you’re enjoying your summer and we look forward to having our students back on campus, and ready to go July 23.

by -
Porter Jones. Photo by Victor Moreno

Class of 2018 Valedictorian Porter Jones delivered the following address at the Maricopa High School commencement.


Hello, Class of 2018 and guests! I am honored not only to be addressing the faculty, family and underclassmen around us, but also to get the chance to speak to you, my friends and peers, before we go our separate ways.

Now, I also know that I’m the last thing standing between you and a senior diploma, so I’ll try to keep my comments brief and to the point. As we all shift from side to side in our seats, wondering how much longer this can go, I’m sure that we’re all also thinking the same thing: Our actions this year have spoken louder than any speech or remark could adequately describe.

While there’s not much left to be said as far as academic achievement, extracurricular honors and sheer tenacity and grit at having finally “made it to the bell” go, we — the students, teachers and family members here tonight — have seen a tremendous amount of effort put forth in order for us to be better prepared for a world that can be both exciting and scary. With that in mind, I would like to offer some quick words of advice and comfort for those next years we have along the road.

I have noticed lately that no matter where you go, people seem to think that everything in life is out to get them. If we live with this sentiment, however, our entire lives are going to be the equivalent of a nail in search of a hammer — and that’s not much of a life, is it? No joy can come from pinning unhappiness on others. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” If the sky seems to be dropping anvils on you, find a way to build a ramada, or put those anvils to good use. “The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief,”* after all!

But some might be wondering, how can we ever expect to find satisfaction in a world with people who have different opinions than us? It is my belief that we can always treat anyone, no matter how annoying or backwards they might seem at one moment, with unfeigned charity and understanding, and still maintain our own ideals. Many wise people have noted that discussing beliefs builds faith in a cause and breeds understanding between individuals. There is nothing to fear from hearing another’s ideas. Still, remain passionate about things; never find yourself in a slump of self-doubt, because there are so many good things to live for.

We live in the greatest country of all: The United States of America. Two hundred and thirty-one years ago, a group of men drafted what has become the bedrock of our freedom and liberty. Always remember the sacrifices of others that are meant for us. This will not only help us decide the choices that remain in our lives, but also help us realize that our country’s well-being rests in our hands. I invite us to listen to George Orwell’s advice, which proclaims that “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Use your abilities to search for truth, and take great pride in living in a land where “a better tomorrow” isn’t just a buzzword. Take pride in living in the “land of the free and the home of the brave!”

Lastly, I cannot leave tonight without expressing my enduring gratitude for the many role models we have had to look up to in these four years and even further before. The material for any outstanding graduation speech has really already been given to us by the leaders, confidants and supports who have provided us with morality, affection and the best sermons: good examples.

I want to personally thank my close friends, teachers, family and God above for the many blessings that have been poured out on us these four years, and relish the thought that we are living here, now! We have infinite opportunity before us, and as we travel through life I hope we will always maintain optimism and enthusiasm for it.

And here we are, five minutes older, and still waiting for a conclusion; and here I am, still drawing out every second, since the moment I end this we will bid this campus good-bye for the last time. Don’t fret about what the future has in store for us — that’s how one dies an early death. If we remember time management, work ethic, respect, honesty, patriotism, compassion and living within our means, we will go far. I have faith in every one of you, as I hope you all have in yourselves.

Tonight, I would like to end by leaving the charge of making the best of all the time, relationships, means and talents you will find in life to you, as well as the capability to fulfill your purpose in life. Good night, Class of 2018, and God bless us all.


Porter Jones was the valedictorian of the Maricopa High School Class of 2018. Watch other highlights of the ceremony.

*(Othello by William Shakespeare, Act I, Scene 3)

This address appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

by -
Jacob Cowing and P.J. Austin show off their gold medals.


The Arizona Interscholastic Association hosted the State Track and Field Championships on May 2-5 at Mesa Community College. The Maricopa High School boys finished seventh in the team standings, and the girls placed 36th. May 10, some participated in the Arizona Meet of Champions. The following athletes set a school, meet and/or state records in their events during the 2018 season:

Boys at State
Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing, Phillip “P.J.” Austin, Francois (Frank) Jones, 4×100 Relay: 41.51 (best of meet, school record and 1st place)
Phillip “P.J.” Austin, senior, long jump: 24-1.25 (school record and 2nd place)
Logan Taylor, junior, 110-meter high hurdles: 14.64 (school record and 4th place)
Logan Taylor, junior, 300-meter low hurdles: 39.66 (school record and 5th place)

Logan Taylor

Girls at State
Shannon Coutré, junior, 400-meter dash: 58.82 (school record and qualified for final)
Italy Brookshire, junior, high jump: 5-2 (school record and seventh place)
Sydni Callis, Destinee Chavis, Jakayla Shaw, Shannon Coutré, 4×100 Relay: 50.30 (school record)

Shannon Coutre

Boys at Meet of Champions
Phillip “P.J.” Austin, senior, long jump: 24-1.25 (1st place)
Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing, Phillip “P.J.” Austin, Francois (Frank) Jones, 4×100 Relay: 41.86 (1st place)
Logan Taylor, junior, 110-meter high hurdles: 14.74 (3rd place)

Girls at Meet of Champions
Italy Brookshire, junior, high jump: 5-2 (second place)

Boys 2018 Season
Jacob Cowing, junior, 100-meter dash: 10.87 (school record)
Francois (Frank) Jones, senior, 200-meter dash: 21.75 (school record)
Tylen Riley-Coleman, junior, shot put: 49-2.5 (school record and qualified for state)
Tylen Riley-Coleman, junior, discus: 144-4 (school record and qualified for state)
Devin Parady, senior, javelin: 152-0 (school record and qualified for state)
Samual Coles, senior, pole vault: 12-10 (school record and qualified for state)

Girls 2018 Season
Zanaa Ramirez, sophomore, 1-mile run: 6:28.15 (school record)
Tayler Riley-Coleman, sophomore, 100-meter intermediate hurdles: 17.52 (school record)
Ashlynn Jones, Zanaa Ramirez, Jakayla Shaw, Shannon Coutré, 4×400 Relay: 4:15.82 (school record and qualified for state)
Isabella Moe, sophomore, javelin: 85-4 (school record)

This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

by -
Seniors gather in the gym before the graduation ceremony at Maricopa High School. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Graduation ceremonies for 356 graduates of Maricopa High School drew a standing-room-only crowd to Ram Stadium on Thursday. The students heard encouraging words from valedictorian Porter Jones (see a transcript in the June issue of InMaricopa magazine) and salutatorian Alessandro (Geo) Hernandez de la Pena, as well as Student Body President Favour Odubamowo. Twenty-one of the graduating seniors were members of the National Honor Society. See our growing gallery below (click photos to enlarge).

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School Air Force Junior ROTC presented its annual awards night Saturday with a series of honors and promotions  and a Change of Command ceremony. Master Sgt. Dishon Gregory ran the national awards portion, while cadets announced promotions. Guest speaker was state Sen. Steve Smith. Among the seniors are four-year JROTC cadets Reno Dugan, who will attend Arizona State University, Dylan Hill, who will attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Ethan Mitchell, who is joining the U.S Army, and Joseph Reyes, who will attend ASU.

by -
Front: Alyssa Evans, Drake Cole, Geric Kramarczyk, Elizabeth Dickerson and Elizabeth Barba. Back: Autumn Tischauser, Abigail Poland, Alec Kramarczyk, Grace Njue, Zackary March and teacher McKay Jones

Nineteen Maricopa High School students earned national honors on the 2018 National German Exam (Level One).

Front: Katelyn Brown and Danielle Anderson. Back: Zachary Schroeder, Taylor Holtz, Omar Perez, teacher McKay Jones, Lauryn Yazzie, Regan Elsberry, Nathaly Zavala and Cobe Nadelen

Freshmen Abigail Poland and Nathaly Zavala earned gold medals (top 10 percent nationally), while freshman Geric Kramarczk, sophomore Regan Elsberry and juniors Drake Cole and Cobe Nadelen earned silver medals (top 80th-89th percentile nationally). Freshmen Elizabeth Barba and Zachary Schroeder earned bronze medals (top 70th -79th percentile nationally), and a large number of students earned Leistungsurkunden (Achievement Awards): senior Danielle Anderson; juniors Zackary March and Alec Kramarczyk; sophomore Grace Njue; and freshmen Katelyn Brown, Elizabeth Dickerson, Alyssa Evans, Taylor Holtz, Omar Perez, Autumn Tischauser, and Lauryn Yazzie.

Abigail Poland also had the top score in Arizona, and was in the top 1 percent among all first-year German students nationally.

“I am thrilled with how my students performed on this,” said McKay Jones, MHS German teacher. “Our German II students took the national test for the first time ever at MHS in January, and our first-year students took it in April. It’s exciting how ‘freshman-heavy’ this group of medalists is. This is a good sign for things to come!”

In its 58th year, the National German Exam was administered to more than 26,000 high school German students around the country, and offers German teachers a means of comparing students with other students nationwide. Students with at least a full year of German who score in the 90th percentile are eligible to apply for a paid summer study trip to Germany. Forty-four trips were awarded in 2017, and one MHS student (Porter Jones) was a finalist in 2018.

“One goal going forward is to have an MHS student win one of these trips,” Jones said. “I think our chances of that happening in the coming years are very good.”