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MHS

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Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Maricopa High School AFJROTC cadets will be presenting the colors at the 30th annusl Run For The Wall Cross-Country Ride at Chandler Harley Davidson, 6895 W. Chandler Blvd.

Run for the Wall was created to promote healing among all veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting for all prisoners of war and those missing in action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those killed in action (KIA) from all wars and to support our military personnel all over the world.

From left to right: Graduating Seniors from Maricopa High School, Lindsay Hubbard, Porter Jones, Alessandro Hernandez, and Britney Montgomery. Photo by Victor Moreno.

The class of 2018 at Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway Academy is filled with many goal-oriented, career-minded individuals. Learn about a few of them as they prepare for the commencement of the rest of their lives. Maricopa High School graduation is May 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium. Sequoia Pathway graduation is set for May 18 at 7 p.m.

Ethan Armendariz

Ethan Armendariz. Photo by Victor Moreno

When he’s not working or going to school, Armendariz likes to study math, physics, psychology and biology. He has been accepted at Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University and University of Southern California.
School: Sequoia Pathway Academy
Years in Maricopa: 3
Originally from: Wasilla, Alaska
Career goal: Pediatric physician for Doctors Without Borders
Proudest accomplishment: Moving away from my parents at 16 to pursue my education while maintaining my grades, 35 hours a week at work and all my extracurriculars.
Moving forward: I plan to attend medical school at NYU or Stanford after my undergraduate degree in an engineering field. Following this I would like to take my education and training to families in need across the world while traveling to impoverished countries and making an impact in the lives of the youth who have yet to see life without suffering.


 

Joycelyn Cabrera. Photo by Victor Moreno

Joycelyn Cabrera
Accepted to Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, Cabrera made scheduling choices to be involved only in journalism-related courses at MHS and has interned during the past year at InMaricopa.com to gain real-world experience.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 13
Originally from: Yuma
Career goal: Journalist
Proudest accomplishment: I would say I am most proud of having my writing published in the local magazine and doing my first real broadcast, which was aired to the community. I have built a very strong resume and have developed many relationships with various members of the community because of the networking required for these articles.
Moving forward: I plan to study at the Walter Cronkite school and participate in more internships at the university. From there, I’ll be able to decide what specific aspect of journalism I want to pursue and continue
into that field.


Edgar ‘Harrison’ Edmondson IV

Edgar ‘Harrison’ Edmondson IV. Photo by Victor Moreno

Edmondson is president of the MHS chapter of DECA and has participated in summer programs such as ASU’s Fleischer Scholars Program, which helps high school seniors explore W. P. Carey School of Business.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 3
Originally from: Superior
Career goal: Supply chain manager
Proudest accomplishment: The accomplishment I am most proud of is oddly not being my DECA Chapter’s president, but the award that I received that started the journey that has taken me to where I am today. During my sophomore year, I was awarded the Emerging Leader Award by my DECA Advisor, Mrs. Bernadette Russoniello, an award given to a select few students in the Marketing I classes that showed outstanding leadership potential. It is because of this award that I made the leap to lead students and give back to an organization that has done so much for me, without it I would not be where or who I am now.
Moving forward: I am pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Supply Chain Management and another in Management at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business beginning this fall. During college, I hope to gain work experience by getting various internships with companies in the business field, expand my network to have the connections needed to go where I wish to go in life, join clubs, and of course have fun!


Fernanda Garcia. Photo by Victor Moreno

Fernanda Garcia
Garcia has been in CAVIT’s veterinary assisting program and competed in a Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) veterinary competition to prepare for her studies in animal health.
School: Sequoia Pathway Academy
Years in Maricopa: 2
Originally from: Phoenix
Career goal: Veterinarian or biologist
Proudest accomplishment: I am proud of the 33 college credits I have earned at CAC as a high school student, the $10,000 scholarship I earned from ASU, being a member of our school’s National Honor Society, being CAVIT’s HOSA president and my straight A’s throughout high school.
Moving forward: I plan on working in an animal clinic while going to ASU for my bachelor’s degree. From there, I will apply to vet school or pursue a master’s degree in biological sciences.


Alessandro Giovanni Hernandez De La Pena. Photo by Victor Moreno

Alessandro (Giovanni) Hernandez De La Peña


Hernandez is the salutatorian of the MHS senior class. His AP classes include chemistry, giving him a foundation in pharmaceuticals, which he wants to make his future. He will attend the University of Arizona and its Honors College.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 6
Originally from: Eastvale, California
Career goal: Pharmaceutical scientist
Proudest accomplishment: My naming as a National Hispanic Scholar was definitely one of my proudest moments, and it has opened up to me many opportunities, such as those in scholarships and admittance.
Moving forward: I plan to attend the University of Arizona and pursue either an undergraduate degree in biochemistry or later a PharmD. Pursuing a further education at a graduate school is also something to be kept in mind while working toward a successful career in science and medicine.


Dylan Hill. Photo by Victor Moreno

Dylan Hill
Nominated for two military service academies, Hill has become involved in serious responsibilities during her high school years, including leadership of the city’s Youth Council and the MHS Air Force Junior ROTC program. She intends to foster her leadership skills in college to prepare for life in the military and accepted an appointment to West Point.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 11
Originally from: Chandler
Career goal: Serve in the U.S. military
Proudest accomplishment: I have received the National NROTC Marine-option scholarship valued at over $180,000 and have received a service academy appointment.
Moving forward: I plan on attending college in the fall, then continually progressing through taking on leadership roles and increasing my physical fitness so I can become more prepared to lead others after I graduate.


Christiana Holguin

Christiana Holguin. Photo by Victor Moreno


Holguin is headed to Villanova, where she intends to continue her study of English literature in hopes of becoming a professor. To prepare, she has tutored English, volunteered at the library and wrote an article about a local veteran for the Veteran’s Heritage Project.
School: Sequoia Pathway Academy
Years in Maricopa: 12
Originally from: Gilbert
Career goal: English professor
Proudest accomplishment: I’m proud of the fact that I was invited to give a speech at the TEDx (Technology, Entertainment and Design experiences) event as a sophomore.
Moving forward: I was accepted to Villanova University, and I intend to study English literature and pursue a doctorate.


Lindsay Hubbard. Photo by Victor Moreno

Lindsay Hubbard
Hubbard is enrolled at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering to study aerospace engineering in the fall. But first, in June, she will be competing in the Miss Arizona pageant.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 12
Originally from: Phoenix
Career goal: Aerospace engineer at NASA
Proudest accomplishment: I am most proud of my title as Miss Pinal County, a part of the Miss America Organization. With this title I get the chance to have a voice and expand my platform ‘Starting at the S.T.E.M.’ Sharing my passion and dreams with others is not something I thought I would be able to do so early in my life. It’s an amazing feeling to be so young and doing something so big. In June of 2018, before the start of my freshman year at ASU, I will be competing in the Miss Arizona pageant. I hope to make my County and the city of Maricopa proud by bringing home the title Miss Arizona.
Moving forward: I plan to achieve my career goals by continuing the process of applying for scholarships to make my college and future stress free. I want to focus on my first responsibility – being a student. I plan to continue to learn not just in the classroom but through my environment as well. Every day is a new experience and every day I have the chance to learn something new.


Porter Brigham Jones

Porter Jones. Photo by Victor Moreno

Jones is the valedictorian of the MHS senior class and has accepted a full-ride scholarship to NAU. He studies languages and ancient civilizations when not focused on service, art and theater.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 16
Originally from: Chandler
Career goal: Archaeologist/linguist, husband and father
Proudest accomplishment: Accomplishments are all relative, depending both on how you and others view them.  Still, the things that have given me the most pride in my life so far have to include some things that naturally come from a school environment, like learning how to get along with everyone you meet (and still keep your opinion), learning time management, and most importantly, making so many outstanding and phenomenal friends who inspire me to do better!  I also have a great sense of satisfaction that I have been able to vastly improve my art skills from what they were before, maintain a high GPA, land some larger roles in theatrical performances in the community, and have the opportunity to enter many competitions in the county, state, and nation!  Service has also been a highlight in my time in high school, and I’m thankful that there are many chances for youth to help others and learn some humility—something that I and everyone else could use a hefty helping of in a self-centered world.
Moving forward: Well, one should never count their chickens before they’re hatched — and life is notorious for its curveball pitches — but I feel that I have a pretty straightforward plan for my life so far!  I will be spending my first year of college attending Northern Arizona University, where I plan to get some preliminary Archaeology and Language classes out of the way, taking time to also revel in the electives.  Soon after, however, I hope to have saved enough money to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  After that I’ll move on to another chapter in my life.  I’ll get my degree, get married, settle down, raise a family, and find something I enjoy doing and that will benefit a lot of people.  If I can, I hope to educate the public on the wonders of history, help out people in need, and support my country.    On the side I might also make a hobby/career of cartooning and writing, since both greatly appeal to me.  Of course, none of this would be possible without my family, friends, and God, so thanks!


Britney Montgomery. Photo by Victor Moreno

Britney Montgomery
Montgomery has been a mainstay of the MHS Theatre Company and has earned a musical theater scholarship with her “superior” vocal abilities, honed in statewide and international competitions.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 4
Originally from: Freeport, New York
Career goal: Broadway performer/theatre teacher
Proudest accomplishment:  I am most proud of being awarded the Amy Bennett Foundation Scholarship. To receive something that means so much to someone is really an honor.
Moving forward: I plan on going to University for musical theatre and secondary education and get my teaching degree and also a degree in theatre.


Haley Petersheim

Haley Petersheim. Photo by Victor Moreno


Petersheim plans to study political science at ASU with a broader goal of civic leadership. As part of the nonpartisan Junior State of America, she has learned how to be an effective civic participant and debater. She is on Maricopa Youth Council and attends school site council and district budget meetings.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 12
Career goal: To work in legislation
Proudest accomplishment: I am most proud of the fact that I can see the students from my club stand up and try making changes in our community. I am also proud of the award that I received from the Daughters of the American Revolution for my civic engagement and interest in government.
Moving forward: I plan on applying for/getting internships at the capitol and making connections with the congressmen/women to be able to get as much experience and be as involved as I can.


Jalen Reyes. Photo by Victor Moreno.

Jalen Reyes
Reyes intends to earn a university degree in dance education and was recently accepted into a Silver-Medal competitive Urban Dance team, The Elektrolytes.
School: Maricopa High School
Years in Maricopa: 6
Originally from: Greeley, Colorado
Career goal: Choreographer and dance studio director
Proudest accomplishment: Joining the Elektrolytes is definitely one of my greatest accomplishments. The discipline of dance is very subjective and to be accepted to such a prestigious team is validating. It is not everyday that the winners of America’s Best Dance Crew accept dancers onto their competitive team.  I have only been dancing for four years but it something that I take very seriously because it can transcend speech, send a message, and impact a person on an indescribable level. This is what I aim to do as a choreographer: to inspire and to push others to grow.
Moving forward: After receiving my degree in dance education, I plan on traveling to New Zealand to audition for The Royal Family, one of the best and biggest dance teams in the world. This is more than just another team, however. The Royal Family have worked with some of the biggest names in pop culture such as Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj, etc. With my experience and training, I will then be in a position to share this with and mentor the next generation of performers in a dance studio of my own. By owning a studio, I can continue to work in the dance world long after my performing days as a teacher, director, and coach.


This story appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Below: Photos and names supplied by Maricopa High School. Click on photos to enlarge.


Below: Photos and names supplied by Sequoia Pathway Academy. Click on photos to enlarge.

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Master Sgt. Dishon Gregory instructs Dylan Hill (center) and Joseph Rice at Maricopa High School. Photo by Victor Moreno

Faced with the choice between U.S. military academies that had accepted her, Maricopa High School graduating senior Dylan Hill announced her decision this month.

 

“I chose West Point because I view it as an excellent institution for teaching people how to lead and, in addition, has a wide array of things to study and participate in,” she said.

 

Hill had also been accepted into the Naval Academy.

 

“Overall, I think that this school will challenge me greatly, whether through tough academics or military training, helping me to gain experiences to draw upon once I become an officer,” she said.

 

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point was established in 1802. To be accepted, applicants must meet academic, leadership and physical requirements and receive a nomination from a member of Congress. Hill was nominated by U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran.

 

Hill has been a leader in the MHS Air Force Junior ROTC.

 

“I have been physically preparing for cadet life and training by expanding my physical training schedule and increasing intensity,” Hill said. “But overall the best preparation I have done is multitasking and maintaining things like grades, work, and extracurriculars since West Point is known to challenge one’s ability to manage time effectively.”

 

Hill will be the second MHS graduate in two years to be accepted into West Point. Cadet John Blodgett just finished his first year.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa Unified School District’s Native American Education Program and its parent advisory committee (NAPAC) hosted their year-end Family Night on Wednesday, honoring past, present and future.

The event featured Yellowhouse, an award-winning Navajo Nation dance group, as well as Ak-Chin’s Ba’ban Keina dancers. Maricopa High School’s Native American graduates were also spotlighted at the event, which was in the Performing Arts Center.

Click photos to enlarge.

Longman Pyne (right) hands off to Jacob Cowing in the 4x100-meter relay Saturday at Mesa Community College. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A decisive victory in what is arguably track’s most exciting event capped off an impressive showing for Maricopa High School in the Arizona Track & Field Championships.

The boys’ 4×100-meter relay team fulfilled its own expectations of itself with both the gold and a school record. The squad of Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing, P.J. Austin and Frank Jones won the Division II competition in 41.51, which bested all teams in all divisions Saturday.

Click here to learn more about this team

“We ran the fastest overall time in the state, beating even the D1 teams. It’s just an amazing feeling,” Jones said.

The win earned hugs from head coach Sheldon Hutchinson, who noted it was his first state champion relay team.

Their previous fastest time had been 43.35. Cowing is the only junior among seniors on the team. The same team combination placed third last year.

Austin was coming off a second-place performance in the long jump, leaping 23-2. He later finished seventh in the 200-meter dash in 22.19.

Meanwhile, junior Logan Taylor is already looking forward to next year after solid runs in his two hurdling events. Taylor earned a place on the medal stand in the 110-meter high hurdles by finishing fourth in 14.83. He then set a school record in the 300-meter hurdles by hitting 39.66 while finishing fifth.

“I didn’t place, but that wasn’t the goal going into it,” Taylor said. “It was to PR [set a personal record], and to get the school record. I succeeded in what I went into the race to do.”

Senior Devin Parady placed ninth in the triple jump in 42-6.75 and was 17th in the javelin throw in 132-3. Junior Tylen Coleman was 12th in the discus throw in 142-8 and in the shot put in 45-5. He was 19th in javelin with 124-5.

Maricopa girls had a tougher go. Only junior Shannon Coutré made it to Saturday’s finals, setting another school record in the 400 in the process. But in the final, she was one of two girls injured and was unable to finish.

 

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Devin Parady (pictured in an earlier meet) set a personal record in the triple jump during the state championships. Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

Saturday will be a busy day for Maricopa student-athletes.

Several competitors from Maricopa High School advanced from preliminaries into the finals of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Track & Field Championships. Meanwhile, the Sequoia Pathway baseball team is returning to the Canyon Athletic Association championship game.

The MHS boys 4×100-meter relay team set the top time Wednesday in qualifying for the May 5 Division II competition. The team of Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing, Phillip Austin and Frank Jones ran the lap in 42.36. In most competitions, the top nine advanced to the final.

Junior Logan Taylor was second in the preliminaries for the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 14.81. He also qualified for the finals in the 300-meter hurdles with a ninth-place finish in 40.42.

Austin, a senior, placed sixth in the 200-meter dash prelims in 22.15. Junior Italy Brookshire was seventh in the girls’ high jump in 5-2. Junior Shannon Coutre was eighth in the girls’ 400-meter dash prelim by lowering her school-record time to 58.82. Senior Devin Parady was ninth in the boys’ triple jump in 42-6.75, a personal record.

Junior Tylen Coleman was placed in the flight 1 finals of both discus and javelin. Austin was placed in flight 2 finals of the long jump.

The Maricopa girls’ 4×100 team of Sydni Callis, Destinee Chavis, Jakayla Shaw and Alayja Reynolds achieved the status of second alternate for the finals by running 50.30 and finishing 11th in the preliminaries.

While MHS track is competing at Mesa Community College, the Puma baseball team will play at Surprise Baseball Stadium against top-seeded American Leadership Academy-Gilbert for the charter title. Pathway defeated South Pointe 4-3 to reach the final.

Cynthia Calhoun directing students. Photo by Mason Callejas

The curtain closed on Maricopa High School’s theater program in 2010 when low interest in enrollment could no longer sustain it.

Then came along Cynthia Calhoun.

At the time, she was already a full-time English teacher at MHS with doctorate and master’s degrees in literature, as well as bachelor degrees in English, Theater and Education.

With $12 and a loan from student council, Calhoun revived interest and took on the theater club as an extra-curricular activity in the days before the high school’s state-of-the-art performing arts center.

“We built this really kooky little set and we did William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors in the lecture hall,” Calhoun recalled.

Dressed in costumes inherited from Calhoun’s predecessor, the cast decorated their humble stage with the few props remaining from the shuttered program.

That spring, Calhoun wrote and directed a cabaret-style musical chronologizing Broadway’s biggest hits.

The following year, MHS drama found a home as it opened the PAC and its cozy Black Box Theatre.

Calhoun has since resurrected the theater program at MHS and developed it into an award-winning, competitive troupe, MHS Theatre Company. In her tenure, she has directed 11 plays and eight musicals while supervising four student-directed plays.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The 2017-18 school year was the first Calhoun spent teaching only drama courses full-time. And it will be her last.

In April, the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board approved Calhoun’s resignation.

“A lot of the decision came down to just trying to manage my health because teaching is an incredibly physically demanding discipline – especially teaching theater,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome as a teenager.

The genetic condition causes chronic health issues in those affected and has spurred Calhoun’s three knee surgeries and a heart operation.

“I’d like to stave off surgeries for a long time and be there for my children, who are in elementary school,” Calhoun said with tears in her eyes. “I decided it was probably best for me to not work as full-time as possible. It sucks.”

Last year at the Arizona High School Drama Coach Convention, she was elected a representative to the Central Region of Arizona Thespians. Her students have gone on to earn scholarships and awards.

A break from the mainstage doesn’t include a permanent absence from her students, however. The celebrated theater teacher plans to register as a volunteer for the drama program at MHS next year.

Many of Calhoun’s students have been under her instruction their entire high school experience and have gained a sense of independence from it, like MHS senior Collin Martin.

Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

“She helped me discover my love for theater, and she’s also taught me many important life lessons, such as getting your stuff together before something big happens, or always act professional and how to have a certain manner about yourself that you can portray to other people to show you’re serious about something,” Martin said.

Calhoun said she hopes the next theater teacher will find ways to challenge the acting students while at the same time know how to have fun with them.

The effect her own compassion has had in the classroom is evident in Calhoun’s students.

“Not many theater teachers truly treat their students as not only professionals but also as equals, and she allows us to learn in so many different ways,” said senior Britney Montgomery.

Calhoun’s departing lesson comes from a line written by American poet Walt Whitman.

“He writes: ‘The powerful play goes on and you will contribute a verse.’” Calhoun said, adding, “And I always want to challenge kids to think about what their verse is going to be. They get to decide that – so, make it a good one.”

Photo by Mason Callejas

Reporter Joycelyn Cabrera contributed to this story. 


This story appears in the May issue of InMaricopa. 

 

Schools in the Maricopa Unified School District are scheduled to re-open May 3, according to an MUSD statement.

SEE UPDATE 

The openings come on the week anniversary of a statewide teacher walkout and a day after the state announced two K-12 budget bills.

School children will apparently not need to make-up missed days at the end of the year.

“We have calculated the instructional hours in our current school year calendar and have determined we have sufficient hours to conclude the school year,” according to the district statement.

The last day of school for MUSD students will remain May 25.

Rescheduling of events and activities postponed because of school closures will be communicated to parents and students by school principals.

The statement said the MUSD Art Walk originally planned for Thursday is cancelled and “will not be rescheduled.”

Some teachers have indicated they may stay out another day until the budget has passed. MUSD may allow a delegation of up to 10 teachers to travel to the capitol each day the Legislature is in session until the budget passes.

The closure has affected students in different ways.

“I think the walkout is great, I really respect what teachers are doing and I agree, I don’t think that they’re getting paid the proper amount,” MHS senior Ty Pen said. “Arizona’s one of the lowest funding in education. The only problem I’ve really come across is being able to find transportation to get to school [at CAVIT]. I hope that this movement didn’t go without purpose that the teachers get what they have been fighting for.”

“I think that the walkout is absolutely justified because out teachers work so hard and they do deserve a livable salary,” senior Rachel Knight said. “With that, I agree that AZ students deserve a fully funded education. Personally, it’s affecting me due to AP test preparation, less time in class means less instructional time to prep. However, teachers, such as [Aiden] Balt, are making sure AP testers will be prepared and confident come next week, despite the walkout.

“I’m hoping the state legislators and Gov. Ducey will realize that this movement isn’t going away until there is a comprehensive resolution. Arizona schools and students deserve a competitive education and the teachers that lead that deserve a livable wage.”

Two other schools closed as a result of the #RedForEd movement.

Charter schools Leading Edge Academy closed April 26-27 and Sequoia Pathway Academy closed April 26 and reopened Tuesday.

Legacy Traditional School, Holsteiner Agricultural School, Camino Montessori, Mobile Elementary School District remained opened through the walkout.

“My mom has been a teacher in Arizona for about 14 years and I’m happy they are finally doing something to be getting paid what they are worth, MHS senior Baylen Redfern said. “My mom has worked a second job as a waitress up in town and working summer school to make ends meet. Teachers in general are underpaid and in Arizona it’s even worse.”

Joycelyn Cabrera contributed to this report.


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Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing and Philip Austin are part of the 4x100-meter relay team.

By Joycelyn Cabrera

After taking bronze medals in the track & field state championships last year, Maricopa High School’s 4×100-meter relay team is hungry for more. Consisting of junior Jacob Cowing and seniors P.J. Austin, Frank Jones and Longman Pyne, the team’s top time of 42.35 (accomplished at the Greenway Invitational April 7 and better than their state time of 42.76 last year) is the second-best in Division II and qualifies them for the Arizona Interscholastic Association competition this week.

The team talked to InMaricopa intern Joycelyn Cabrera about what’s ahead.

Learn about other qualifiers and see an MHS track & field gallery below


What are you expecting from State this time around?

Longman Pyne: “This year our mind is set on gold, but just being able to go there again and compete among the best is an accomplishment.”

Jacob Cowing: “I’d say we’re just trying to win the meet this year. We came up short last year, so it’s time to get a win for all the seniors who are going out this year. And for our 4×100, we got third, so we’re trying to win it this year in D2.”

Frank Jones: “Individually, we want to set high standards, make state records and such.”

Francois “Frank” Jones running as the anchor on the 4×100-meter relay team. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Phillip Austin: “It feels great. It feels very important to be the best Maricopa has, and to be top 5 in state overall.”

Cowing: “I think it’s important for us and for Maricopa to be considered one of the best. Also, the middle school kids coming up and trying to have a competing time after we leave from our high school time – it’s kind of important to our community that we’re here to compete with others.”

Jones: “It’s important because our relay team is doing something that no other [MHS] relay team has ever done. We’re basically setting a legacy that younger generations like the elementary schoolers and the middle schoolers can have – to see what they can do.”

How do you prepare for competition individually and as a team?

Pyne: “I just try to block out everything that doesn’t have to do with competing. I go to my happy place and zone in. To get prepared as a team, we practice our exchanges vigorously throughout the week.”

Jones: “I just put a standard in my head, like ‘what time do I need to hit,’ personally. I focus on that all week and during practices. As a team, we really just come together in our 4×100 and do what we need to do – run fast and compete with the best.”

Austin: “Our coach has high expectations every week. He sets what we’re supposed to do, and then when it comes meet time, focus, listen to what he tells us to do. For our 4×100, we as a team have great chemistry, so it starts to become easy.”


MHS athletes also rank high in individual events. Junior Logan Taylor has Division II’s second-best time in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.64. He is fifth-best in the 300-meter hurdles in 40.23.

Jones’ best 200-meter time of 21:95 is sixth in the state, while Cowing ran 22.25, and Austin hit 22.12. The three are competing in the state meet.

Pyne qualified to run in the state meet in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.77.

Austin’s top result in the long jump, 23-2.5, was fourth best in Division II, and junior Tylen Coleman ranked fourth in the shotput with his top throw of 49-2.5. Coleman also qualified for discus throwing, with a throw of 144-4.

Devin Parady and Coleman both qualified for javelin throwing, with Parady having a throw of 152-0 and Coleman throwing at 138-1.

Parady also qualified for the triple jump, with a leap of 42-1.25.

Cowing’s 100-meter time of 10:87 is eighth best in the division. Austin’s and Jones’ 10.93 in the same event puts them 14th and 15th, respectively. Senior Samual Coles had a 10th-best jump in the pole vault at 12-10.

Among the girls, junior Shannon Coutre’s 200-meter time of 25.86 ranked her No. 4. Coutre also qualified for the 400 with a school-record time of 59.43.

Italy Brookshire qualified to compete in the high jump with a jump of 5-1.

The 4×100-meter relay team’s best time of 50.55 was 15th in the division. The team includes, Sydni Callis, Destinee Chavis, Jakayla Shaw and Alayja Reynolds.

The AIA state championships are May 2 and May 5 at Mesa Community College.


This is a corrected version, clarifying that Phillip Austin qualified to compete in the 200-meter dash at state.


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Taylor Belcher (from left), Tyler Belcher and Mason Williams signed letters to play for Ventura College. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Five Maricopa High School students signed letters of intent for college athletics Wednesday.

Playing baseball together since seventh grade, three MHS baseball players plan to play for the same college.

Taylor Belcher, Tyler Belcher and Mason Williamson signed letters of intent to play for Ventura College in Ventura, California. The Pirates compete in the California Community College Athletics Association and are 20-19 with one game left in the regular season. Ventura’s program has produced professional baseball players Justin De Fratus and Zachary Thornton.

Brian Garcia (left) and Kyle O’Hare (with coach Courtney Kellenaers. MHS photo

MHS soccer players Kyle O’Hare and Brian Garcia signed letters of intent with Gateway Community College in Phoenix, part of Maricopa Community Colleges. The Geckos’ home games are played at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex. They finished their 2017 season 5-15.

The Rams infield, (rom left) Mason Williamson, Taylor Belcher, Tyler Belcher, Nico Bandin, Devin Fiala and Jose Leyva, gathers on the mound. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School’s varsity baseball team ended its season Friday with a 10-9 loss at Williams Field.

That left the Rams’ overall record at 11-16. They finished fourth in 5A Metro and were ranked 28th, four slots away from qualifying for the Arizona Interscholastic Association play-in.

“The season was a lot of fun. This is a great group of young men,” head coach Andrew Pollak. “I am really proud of our seniors. They put everything they had into this school, program and city.”

The Rams touted seven seniors this season, most of them starters.

Senior Carter Paine led the team in hitting with a .430 average. He also drove in 17 runs and stole 13 bases. On the mound, he was 4-4 in nine appearances with an earned run average of 5.37. He struck out 53 in 44.1 innings and gave up 50 hits.

Senior Steven Gonzales batted .424, second best on the team. He led in RBIs with 18 and hits with 36. He was 1-3 in 10 appearances on the mound and had a team-best 3.17 ERA. He struck out 29 and gave up 24 hits.

Senior Taylor Belcher hit .324 in 26 games. He totaled 23 hits, including two home runs and five doubles, and drove 15 runs. He pitched in eight games for a record of 1-2 with a save.

Senior Tyler Belcher was 3-4 on the mound with a 3.73 ERA. He struck out 43 and allowed 48 hits. Tyler batted .282, hitting six doubles.

Senior catcher Mason Williamson’s fielding percentage of .972 was fifth in 5A Metro and led Maricopa. He batted .255 with two doubles and 10 RBIs.

Playing in 10 games, senior Kevin McDill batted .375. In 4.2 innings pitched, he struck out four batters.

Though the team relied heavily on the upperclassmen, the season wasn’t all about the seniors.

Junior first baseman Jose Leyva batted .300 and hit a team-leading eight doubles. Nico Bandin, a junior second baseman, battled .269. Beside him at shortstop, junior Devin Fiala batted .241 and had six doubles and a triple.

“This is a great time to be a Maricopa Ram baseball player,” Pollak said. “Nowhere else is a 13-18-year- old going to play on a better field than Matt Huffman field right here in our great city.”

Pollak said the coaches are excited about the younger players, both those already playing varsity and those coming up from the junior varsity team, which posted a much-improved record of 8-8 this season.

“The kids are going to be coached the right way and learn things that go way beyond the playing field,” he said. “We do things that are so much more than the win and loss record. Our kids play the game with respect, they learn to play hard and make each other better people.

“The only thing we will ever guarantee is, when your child spends four years in this program, they are going to leave with a lifetime of memories and be a better person because of their time playing for Maricopa High School.”

Submitted photo

Maricopa High School senior basketball player Sydni Callis signed a letter of intent to play for Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Callis was named All Region First Team in 5A Metro. She played varsity all four years of high school and as a freshman was part of the state championship team. According to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, she averaged 12.3 points per game and led the region with 4.3 steals per game this season.

Shaw University competes in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Junior Jayla Johnson was named Metro’s player of the year, leading all scorers with 16.3 points per game. Sophomore Tayler Coleman was Second Team All Region.

Among the boys, Jayla’s brother, senior Josh Johnson, was named the 5A conference offensive player of the year. Within the conference, he was the Metro Region offensive player of the year and was First Team All Region.

This week, MHS expects three baseball players and a soccer player to sign national letters of intent.


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Photo by Michelle Chance

Maricopa High School students participated in a demonstration Friday morning on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

More than 100 students began the event with a 17-minute moment of silence in remembrance of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims in Parkland, Florida.

The student-led event occurred during National School Walk-Out Day – a countrywide protest in which students walked out of school for the day in commemoration of school shooting victims and in frustration with what many view as a lack of action by lawmakers against classroom gun violence.

MHS students held their demonstration on campus and deemed it non-political. Previously, students walked-out Feb. 17, days after the Parkland shooting, but eventually returned to class.

“We didn’t want it to be so political because honestly the problem is right here in our own schools,” said Brianna Barnes, 17, with the Student Concord Club.

Barnes said students are asking for more lockdown drills and additional safety measures on campus.

Law enforcement and first responders were at MHS during the event and held a static display of vehicles and equipment during lunchtime.

“We want our students to be aware of the resources available to the high school and community in the event of an emergency situation,” an email from MHS to parents stated.

Friday’s demonstration included a passionate speech authored by 16-year-old Simon Crawford during the first two classes of the morning.

The self-described introvert wanted to speak about school safety during the February walk-out, but didn’t have the courage.

Friday, Crawford found the bravery, climbed atop a lunch table and read the message aloud.

“People need to be aware because there’s so much misinformation and misconceptions spread about all these issues,” Crawford said after the event. “People try to make this such a heavy political issue when it’s not — and we should not be treating it as such.

“This is a safety issue. This is a lives issue. This is a human issue,” Crawford added.


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Opening night for the Maricopa High School Theatre Company’s spring musical, “The Baker’s Wife,” was Thursday. Met with a warm reception, the production features an entertaining if challenging score for a talented cast. The show stars Antonio Gonzales as the baker and Kjirsten Lemon as his wife, who becomes the center of a village scandal. Both give touching performances amid a town of comically feuding neighbors who will do just about anything to get their daily bread – even learn to get along. In support are Britney Montgomery, Collin Martin, Brandon Korittky, Carlos Aguilar, Douglas Moulton and many more. Performances continue Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.

Antonio Gonzalez and Kjirsten Lemon star in "The Baker's Wife" for MHS Theatre Company. Photo by Mason Callejas

 

After years of staging musicals that have had their runs on Broadway and are ingrained in the musical-theater psyche, Maricopa High School Theatre Company is tackling a far less known show for its spring musical.

IF YOU GO
What: “The Baker’s Wife”
Who: MHS Theatre Company
When: April 19-21, 7 p.m., April 21, 2 p.m.
Where: Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: $7 adults; $5 students

“The Baker’s Wife” by Stephen Schwartz and Joseph Stein has a long history that includes a brief run on London’s West End but never a production on Broadway. Through regional and international productions, it was changed over the years and gained a cult following.

“I thought it was just going to be real cute,” said junior Antonio Gonzales, who plays Aimable the baker. “It’s not a very well-known show. Before we had actually started the process, I looked into it, and fell in love with it. It was a really good show.”

Set in provincial France, the story opens when a baker finally arrives in a squabbling village long without a bread baker. While welcoming the baker, gossipy villagers take note of his much-younger wife Genevieve. A handsome, young man pursues Genevieve, who resists his advances – for a while.

“She’s challenging, because she does something that I personally would not ever do,” said junior Kjirsten Lemon, who plays Genevieve. “I have to play her like to me that’s what’s right.”

The humble baker’s humble response to what befalls him is censure to the villagers, who take another look at their own relationships.

“It’s a sweet story,” said teacher Cynthia Calhoun, who is directing the musical, apparently her last for MHS. She has submitted her resignation effective at the end of the school year.

Teacher Cynthia Calhoun directs the students through a rehearsal. Hers is among staff resignations that go before the MUSD Governing Board this week. Photo by Mason Callejas

Calhoun said though the show is not well-known, its creators are. Schwartz wrote a collection of hits, from “Pippin” to “Wicked,” and Stein is revered in theater circles for “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“When you listen to the first song, Chanson, it’s so beautiful, especially with Britney [Montgomery] singing it,” Lemon said. “Right when I heard that song, I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be a great musical.’”

 

Cast List
Aimable … Antonio Gonzales
Genevieve … Kjirsten Lemon
Denise … Britney Montgomery
Claude … Carlos Aguilar
Martine (teacher) … Stirling Luckey
Therese … Aidyn Curtis
Pierre … Jae Luna
Doumergue … Genevieve Burno
Antoine … Kobe Hinton
Barnaby … Logan Spaulding
Hortense … Taryn Story
le Cure (Priest) … Douglas Moulton
Marquis … Collin Martin
Dominique … Brandon Korittky
Philippe … Emma Schrader
Inez … Ivie Keene
Simone … Chaienne Zoller
Nicole … Alexia Esquivel

The Villagers … Emmeline Boothe, Mary Brokenshire, Keara Burke, Aleyna Call, Isabella Chitwood, Zephanie Coleman, Morgan Cutrara, Astraya Ellyson, Autumn Fausz, Fallon Fruchey, Angelina George, Katie Gilmore, Emily Goncalves, Wynter Grissom, Hailey Gross, Tamara Hanania, Katie Hanks, Azeri Hanson, Makayla Horn, Scotland JanFrancisco, Princess Jimenez, Ashlyn Kelley, Rachel Knight, Dakota Larson, Haley Lemon, Isabelle Lopez, Aubrey Maas, Kylie Nolan, Michael O’Dell, Andrea Ortiz, Caterina Rizzi, Chloe Seekings, Heidi Smith, Katelyn Stroschein, Francis Trast, Alex-Ann Velasco


This story appears in the April edition of InMaricopa.

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Submitted photo

Submitted by Ivan Pour, MHS instrumental director

Friday, the Maricopa High School “Gems” Winter Guard gave their final performance of their 2018 program “The Greatest Show” at Winter Guard Arizona Championships held at Wells Fargo Arena on the Campus of Arizona State University.

The guard received excellent feedback from a double panel of the best adjudicators in the Indoor Pageantry and Marching Arts World and also got to see lots of awesome performances and an exhibition from the Fenix Independent Guard – ASU’s Winter Guard. The guard got great compliments on their improvement and growth in technique and skill over the course of the season with the judges agreeing that a solid foundation has been built for the upcoming marching band season.

This was also an emotional night as this performance also marked the last for MHS Guard Coach Taylor Austin as she moves on to new professional endeavors. Taylor became coach of the MHS Guard after having been a founding member of the team and MHS graduate as well as an assistant coach under team founder Maria Pour.

The team has grown and flourished under Taylor’s leadership, and we want to thank her for her outstanding contribution to the guard, the MHS band, and the MHS community.

Patrick Flint was named Maricopa High School's first-ever Mr. MHS. Submitted photo

Friday, eleven senior guys showcased their best beachwear, talent and formal wear in a battle to become the first ever Mr. MHS.

Patrick Flint, aka ‘That Yo-Yo Kid’ was crowned the pageant winner. He said in all his high school career, he never imagined competing on stage this way, as he is an introvert. The grand prize winner not only received the title of Mr. MHS but also two tickets to prom and a free tailored suit from Nick’s Menswear.

A committee of eight Student Council members has been working since November fine-tuning the details of this event, and the guys have been practicing since February.

Raffle baskets were awarded to audience members, and the guys had a chance to also be awarded for the Penny Wars challenge (proceeds to benefit Children’s Miracle Network) and for the “People’s Choice” award.

“The guys have set the bar very high for next year,” judge and English teacher Aidan Balt said.

Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

Alonso Chavez won the Penny Wars challenge. Jalen Reyes won “People’s Choice” and was also the second runner up overall. Caleb Wilson was the first runner up. Others competing were Kyle O’Hare, Zechariah Wooten, Nicholas Bradley, Elias Alvarado, Jonavis Rodriguez, Ethan Smith and Jayden Jensen.

MHS Student Council would like to thank everyone that made the event possible, including Josh Fink of Nick’s Menswear. Judges along with Balt were Principal Rick Abel and Jenn Miller. The score auditor was Amanda Zimmerman. Teacher Kevin Piquette and his fantastic Tech Crew ran the stage. National Honor Society members helped sell tickets and pass out programs, and the “A-Team” choreographed the opening number.

Student Council is excited to continue this tradition in the years to come. 

Submitted photo

Choreographers (from left) Chaienne Zoller, Crystabel Sanchez and Giselle Sanchez lead the boys through a rehearsal for the Mr. MHS pageant: Patrick Flint, Kyle O’Hare, Jalen Reyes, Zechariah Wooten, Nicholas Bradley, Alonso Chavez, Elias Alvarado, Jonavis Rodriguez, Ethan Smith, Caleb Wilson and Jayden Jensen. Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

By Joycelyn Cabrera

Pageant queens Lindsay Hubbard (Miss Pinal County) and Mackenzie Ford (Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen) will host Maricopa High School’s first student pageant – and it’s for the guys.

Senior boys will compete for the title of Mr. MHS, a free suit and two free prom tickets April 6 at 7 p.m. in the MHS lecture hall.

Scoring is based on the talent contestants showcase and how they within each section of the pageant. All school rules in behavior and dress will be in place.

There will also be a raffle for the audience during the event. 

At least 15 contestants will participate, including reigning Homecoming King Jalen Reyes, “Yo-Yo Guy” Patrick Flint and soccer player Kyle O’Hare.

Reyes, a dancer, believes anticipates a fun spin on typically female-dominated pageants and a different experience to being onstage.

“I already like to get up on stage, so it’s another opportunity to get used to being in front of people, but in a different kind of light,” he said. “This is more of a presentation rather than a performance. This is more about my personality.”

Reyes said he is most excited about learning how to “walk” as they do in the modeling world.

Flint is excited to showcase his talent with a yo-yo and learn how to be more outgoing. “I’ve been yo-yoing for seven years. From this experience, I partially hope to try to get over my social anxiety by putting myself up in front of everyone, and just putting myself out there.”

O’Hare loves supporting his school and rose as a leader in February when he led a prayer for the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting during the MHS walkout. “I like to get out and support my school with any event that they’re doing, I thought it’d be fun, and I want to gain more confidence in front of an audience,” O’Hare said.

The pageant is run by Hubbard, Ford and a committee of six student council members. The committee is comprised of seniors Emily Aquino and Samantha Blaschke, juniors Mickaela Brown and Bailey Davis, and sophomores Jaqueline Maza and Cassidy Zimmerman. The event is sponsored by Student Council advisor and chemistry teacher Amber Flores.

Flores introduced the idea of the all-boys pageant after having experienced a similar annual pageant at her previous school in Ohio. She hopes Mr. MHS will be something all boys at the school will look forward to once they reach their senior year. Flores described the contestants as outgoing, unique, talented and, above all, excited.

“I just hope that the students look back on this as a fun addition to their senior year,” Flores said.

Hubbard and Ford plan to make Mr. MHS an annual event. Ford, a junior, will take over the pageant next year once Hubbard graduates. They hope to invite this year’s winner to the second Mr. MHS Pageant to crown the next winner. The girls plan to extend the pageant beyond the high school and into the community.

“We want boys at our school to have looked forward to this ever since their freshman year,” Ford said. “We want to send them off in a fun way.”

Joycelyn Cabrera is a senior at Maricopa High School and an InMaricopa intern.


This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa. 

 

Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

 

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Desert Wind v. Maricopa Wells

A variety of varsity, junior varsity and junior high activities were in the spotlight leading up to Spring Break. Desert Wind Middle School won the junior high football championship in a showdown with Maricopa Wells, and new Maricopa High School varsity coach Brandon Harris dropped by to look at the youngsters. While the varsity baseball teams at MHS and Sequoia Pathway started their seasons in great form (7-1 and 4-0, respectively), the softball teams have had more of a struggle (3-7-1 and 1-2, respectively). The MHS JV baseball team has posted a 3-1-1 record, including a rough game against Vista Grande (see photos below). In tennis, the MHS girls are 2-3 while the boys are 1-4. Have photos of your favorite student-athlete in spring sports? Send them in: News@InMaricopa.com

Among local teachers wearing red Wednesday in support of better pay in Arizona schools were Brian Burkett, Tyler Miller and Jason Goodwin. Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

Maricopa public school teachers joined a statewide movement Wednesday in protest of low teacher pay.

 “This is not an indictment of our local schools; it’s an indictment of Arizona as a whole.” — Jason Goodwin, Maricopa teacher.

“Teachers definitely need to stick together. We need to make education better for our students,” said Maricopa High School drama and theatre teacher Cynthia Calhoun.

Calhoun and other public school educators wore red March 7 in participation with the social media-driven event known as “Wear RED for ED.”

Online organizers describe the movement as a show of solidarity, first inspired by a nine-day, statewide teacher strike in West Virginia that led to a wage increase.

Brian Burkett teaches government and economics at Maricopa High School. He wore red to support public educators whom he said are “underpaid and underserved” by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

“To attract and maintain quality teachers, (the state) is going to have to pay us better,” Burkett said. “We are one of the lowest-paying states in the country.”

Arizona ranked last in the nation according to a report published in 2017 by the National Education Association that compared teachers’ salaries in the United States in 2015-16. Instructional staff ranked 49th.

Public school teachers received a 1 percent “raise” last year by the state. However, it’s often not viewed as a wage increase at all by educators like MHS AP history and government teacher Jason Goodwin, but instead a debt owed to them after the state reallocated education funds elsewhere during the recession.

Teacher Cynthia Calhoun. Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

“I’m wearing red today because in Arizona our pay is so low. It doesn’t matter what district you’re talking about. This is not an indictment of our local schools; it’s an indictment of Arizona as a whole,” Goodwin said.

The Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board voted last year to increase salaries for all employees by 3 percent and successfully passed an override measure in 2016 that afforded the district 50 additional teachers.

But, even with a raise, retention is still an issue as many teachers struggle to make ends meet.

MHS AP world history teacher Tyler Miller remembers watching dedicated teachers leave the industry during his rookie year in the classroom.

He believes the Red for Ed movement will spark discussions that could end Arizona’s educator exodus.

“People teach because they love teaching, but at a certain point they have to have enough income to make it fiscally possible to survive,” Miller said. “That’s a conversation that we need to have.”

 

Reporter Joycelyn Cabrera contributed to this story.



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Brandon Harris. Submitted photo

Maricopa High School named its new head football coach this week, pending board approval.

District Athletic Director Brian Winter confirmed Brandon Harris, 47, will lead the varsity team in the upcoming school year.

The Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board will officially vote to approve the new hire March 28. Harris replaces Chris McDonald, who was recently hired as Basha head football coach.

“Brandon is an excellent communicator and motivator,” Winter said. “He had a very successful and extensive coaching career at both the high school and collegiate level. He will be a great addition to MHS.”

Harris’ resume includes high school head coaching positions in Arizona, New York and most recently, Florida’s University School of Southeastern University.

He’s held administration and assistant coaching positions at Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler, was passing game coordinator at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix and offensive coordinator at Desert Vista High School, among others.

Harris played for University of Idaho and later professionally with the Sacramento Surge in the World League of American Football.

Harris has co-owned RedLine Athletics training facility in Chandler since 2015.

An Arcadia resident and Southern California native, Harris is no stranger to Maricopa. He owned a home in The Villages in 2007 before he relocated to Buffalo, New York, for a head coaching position at Canisius High School, which won a state championship in 2009.

He now plans to move back to Maricopa.

“(MHS) just needs someone that really wants to be there, and I want to be there,” Harris said.

The new head coach began watching tape and evaluating his new players recently. Harris said he wants to work with the existing culture at MHS to continue creating excitement on Friday nights.

Most importantly, he said, is his goal of encouraging the personal growth of his players.

“I’ve coached and been part of six state title championship teams, and three of them are my own as head coach” Harris said. “We’re going to do that, but they need to win in the classroom, win in the hallways, win in their own personal life, and then winning will take care of itself.”

 

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Jake Neill

A familiar face in Maricopa High School sports was officially re-hired this week.

The Maricopa Unified Governing Board approved Jacob Neill as its new district athletic director Feb. 28.

Neill previously coached MHS basketball for four years. He left in 2016 when he was hired as assistant principal and athletic director for Poston Butte High School.

Becoming an administrator was not just a professional goal, but something that runs in his blood.

“I’m from a family of educators,” Neill said. “A good portion of my family have worked in the school system from admin assistants on up to administrators.”

He’ll soon take the place of Brian Winter, who will be MHS principal next school year. Winter originally hired Neill in 2012.

“To come back with Mr. Winter in the principal position is one of the draws back to (MUSD) because he has a vision and I’m excited to get behind him and do what we need to do to improve Maricopa High School,” Neill said.

Some of the new AD’s responsibilities will include overseeing sports programs at the junior high level and ensuring the high school’s “facilities are on par with what other 5A and 6A schools are to make our students’ experience as good as it possibly can be,” he said.

Neill lives in Laveen with his wife Jess – a fourth-grade teacher – and their 3-year-old daughter Izzy.

Photos by Victor Moreno

High school varsity spring sports are under way. Maricopa High School introduces a new sport in beach volleyball while other sports hope to get back into state contention.

Sequoia Pathway Baseball
CAA Division II Region II
March 2 v. WSST 5 p.m.
March 6 at HA-Laveen 4 p.m.
March 9 v. El Dorado 4 p.m.
March 21 v. South Pointe 4 p.m.
March 26 at ASU Prep Poly 5 p.m.
March 27 at HA-Mesa 4:15 p.m.
April 3 at EVAC 4 p.m.
April 5 at Imagine Prep Coolidge 4:30 p.m.
April 7 v. ALA-Ironwood 11 a.m.
April 9 v. Imagine Prep Coolidge 4:30 p.m.
April 11 v. Canyon State 4 p.m.

Sequoia Pathway Softball
CAA Division II Region I
March 1 v. ALA-Gilbert 4 p.m.
March 7 at Imagine Prep Surprise 4 p.m.
March 9 v. Imagine Prep Coolidge 4 p.m.
April 2 at Tri-City College Prep 4 p.m.
April 4 v. ALA-Ironwood 4 p.m.
April 5 at ALA-Gilbert 4 p.m.
April 10 v. Mission Heights 4 p.m.
April 12 at HA-Laveen 4 p.m.
April 17 v. South Ridge 4 p.m.
April 19 at Paradise Valley Christian 4 p.m.

Maricopa High School Baseball
AIA Division 5A Section Metro (remaining schedule)
March 1 v. Sierra Linda 3:45 p.m.
March 2 v. Desert Edge 3:45 p.m.
March 5 v. Glendale 3:45 p.m.
March 7 v. Ironwood 4 p.m.
March 10-13 Bob Everett Spring Break Classic at Highland HS
March 21 at Vista Grande 6 p.m.
March 22 at Mesquite 4 p.m.
March 26 at Kellis 3:45 p.m.
March 27 v. Kellis 3:45 p.m.
March 29 at Casa Grande 4 p.m.
April 3 at Sunnyslope 4 p.m.
April 5 v. Verrado 3:45 p.m.
April 6 v. Sunnyslope 3:45 p.m.
April 10 v. Apollo 3:45 p.m.
April 11 v. Ironwood 6:30 p.m.
April 12 at Apollo 4 p.m.
April 17 at McClintock 4 p.m.
April 19 v. McClintock (Senior Night) 3:45 p.m.
April 20 at Williams Field 3:45 p.m.

Maricopa High School Softball
AIA Division 5A Section Metro (remaining schedule)
March 1 at Sierra Linda 4 p.m.
March 2 at Desert Edge6 p.m.
March 5 at Glendale 4 p.m.
March 6 v. Vista Grande 3:45 p.m.
March 8 v. Williams Field 3:45 p.m.
March 19 v. Mesquite 3:45 p.m.
March 27 at Kellis 4 p.m.
March 29 v. Casa Grande 3:45 p.m.
March 30 v. Kellis 3:45 p.m.
April 3 v. Sunnyslope 3:45 p.m.
April 5 at Verrado 4 p.m.
April 6 at Sunnyslope 4 p.m.
April 10 at Apollo 4 p.m.
April 11 at Ironwood 4 p.m.
April 12 v. Apollo 3:45 p.m.
April 17 v. McClintock (Senior Night) 3:45 p.m.
April 19 at McClintock 4 p.m.

Maricopa High School Track & Field
AIA Division II
March 7 at Chaparral 4 p.m.
March 10 at Desert Tune-Up (Mountain View Marana) 8 a.m.
March 21 at McClintock 3 p.m.
March 22 at Schuster Jones Under-Class Showcase 12 p.m.
March 28 at Maricopa Twilight 3:30 p.m.
April 13 at Hohokam Invitational 9:30 a.m.

Maricopa High School Boys’ Tennis
AIA Division I Section I (remaining schedule)
March 2 v. Casa Grande 3:30 p.m.
March 8 at Higley 3:30 p.m.
March 22 at Williams Field 3:30 p.m.
March 27 v. Cibola 3:30 p.m.
March 28 v. Tolleson Union 3:30 p.m.
March 29 at San Luis 3:30 p.m.
April 3 at Millennium 3:30 p.m.
April 4 at La Joya Community 3:30 p.m.
April 10 v. Westview 3:30 p.m.
April 12 at Kofa 3:30 p.m.

Maricopa High School Girls’ Tennis
AIA Division I Section I (remaining schedule)
March 1 v. Casteel 3:30 p.m.
March 5 at Casa Grande 3:30 p.m.
March 8 v. Higley 3:30 p.m.
March 27 at Cibola 3 p.m.
March 28 at Tolleson Union 3:30 p.m.
March 29 v. San Luis 3:30 p.m.
April 3 v. Millennium 3:30 p.m.
April 4 v. La Joya Community 3:30 p.m.
April 10 at Westview 3:30 p.m.
April 12 v. Kofa 3:30 p.m.
April 16 v. Williams Field 3:30 p.m.

Maricopa High School Beach Volleyball
AIA Division I Section IV (remaining schedule)
March 5 v. Casteel at Copper Sky 4 p.m.
March 26 v. Millennium at Copper Sky 4 p.m.
March 28 at Willow Canyon at Victory Lane Complex 4 p.m.
April 2 at Shadow Ridge at Victory Lane Complex 4 p.m.
April 4 at Perry at Seville Golf & Country Club 6:30 p.m.
April 9 v. Verrado at Copper Sky 4 p.m.
April 11 v. Dysart at Copper Sky 4 p.m.
April 13 v. Hamilton at Copper Sky (Senior Night) 4 p.m.
April 16 at Mesquite High School 4 p.m.

 

 

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Pictured from left are (front row) Tuesday Borst, Vincent Latona, Emma Morano, Cassidy Chang, Nikki Watson, Angelica Vesconi; (back row) Kalen Scott, Zachary Kalnasy, McKay Jones, Porter Jones, Joshua Hoctor and Madison Creamer.

Eleven Maricopa High School (MHS) students earned national honors on the 2018 National German Exam.


Seniors Porter Jones and Angelica Vesconi earned gold medals (top 10 percent nationally), while juniors Madison Creamer, Vincent Latona and Nikki Watson and sophomore Cassidy Chang earned silver medals (top 80th-89th percentile nationally). Seniors Joshua Hoctor and Zachary Kalnasy as well as juniors Tuesday Borst, Kalen Scott, and Emma Morano earned Leistungsurkunden (Achievement Awards) for scoring just below bronze medal range.

“This is the second year we have offered a German program at Maricopa High School, so these students represent our first group with two years of German. I’m very proud of how they performed, and excited to see how the German I students do on their national test in April,” said McKay Jones, MHS German teacher. “We have some really diligent first year students, and I have high expectations for them.”

 

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.

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Maricopa High School students landed in-demand tickets to the Tony-winning musical 'Hamilton.' Submitted photo

Friday, 49 U.S. history students from Maricopa High School were able to attend the musical, Hamilton, at Arizona State University’s Gammage Hall.  Teacher Jason Goodwin applied on behalf of Maricopa High School to the Gilder Lehrman Institute for tickets to the musical.

Students across Arizona were given a chance to attend at a discounted rate of $10, thanks in part to The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. After the high school was chosen as a recipient of the heavily discounted tickets, students from the U.S. history courses created poems, songs, raps, monologues or scripts based on primary sources from the Founding Father era and from a source-based history unit. Students submitted their final projects to a panel for evaluation and 49 entries were given a chance to see the award winning musical firsthand.

Aidyn Curtis (right) and Taryn Story

One MHS submission was videotaped and submitted to the Hamilton Education Program, and that submission was chosen to be performed live in front of the over 2,700 Arizona high school students along with the cast of Hamilton. From the over 40 different schools in attendance, MHS students Aidyn Curtis and Taryn Story were one of 14 acts that performed.

“These young ladies received glowing reviews and much praise afterwards,” Goodwin said.

Students went on to participate in a question-and-answer session with cast members and then finally saw a matinee performance of the musical.

Chaienne Zoller and Kyle O'Hare were leaders of a brief student protest and tribute to high school students and staff gunned down in Florida.

Maricopa High School students have demanded gun law reform after participating in a demonstration on campus last week.

Students walked out of their classrooms Feb. 22 in tribute to students and staff who were killed in a recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The local demonstration was one of many that have taken place at schools nationwide. It has prompted students to call on adults for action.

“I don’t think it’s right and I think personally they need to fix it,” said 18-year-old MHS student Kyle O’Hare. “I’m not saying you can fix everything in the world, but try, add more things in, be more strict with gun laws.”

Students used their voices to take leadership of the impromptu protest Thursday. O’Hare and classmate Chaienne Zoller, 17, took leadership of the event after they said some students were not taking the matter seriously.

Zoller said she directed students to participate in a moment of silence for each of the victims gunned down in the attack after O’Hare said a prayer.

“I basically told them, ‘You guys do this every morning for the people who fought for our country; let’s do this for 17 minutes for people who just went to school,” Zoller said.

Students have said they’ve been criticized by adults they know for speaking out but said spreading awareness of their stance is worth it.

After the demonstration, Maricopa Unified School District announced it would hold a school safety forum March 1 at the District Administration Building.

The community meeting will take place inside the Governing Board Meeting Room and will feature a panel of local leaders and public safety personnel who will participate in a discussion with students and parents.

Representatives from other area schools have been invited to attend.

One adult who has voiced his support of students’ right to be heard is MHS Principal Rick Abel.

Students said before he asked them to return to class Thursday, he thanked them for a respectful demonstration, calling their compassion “a sign of maturity.”

“As a member of the MHS Staff and our community, I am very appreciative and proud of the efforts of our students yesterday. We are all saddened by the events that took place in Florida. Our students found a positive way to express our support for the families involved in that tragedy. They were respectful and were great representatives of Maricopa. Our work now is to do all we can to make sure that our campus is safe. Our best safeguard is the willingness of our students to say something if they see or hear something. We are all in this together,” Rick Abel said in a written statement.

Students said they are planning another walk-out at MHS in the future and signing petitions for school safety nationwide.

“We’re not just sitting here; we want change, and people have lost lives and now we’re sick and tired of it,” O’Hare said.


Reporter Joycelyn Cabrera contributed to this story.


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The Maricopa Rams started the 2018 season in a home tournament Thursday. Photo by Michelle Chance

Maricopa High School Softball fell at home, 12-2, against Florence Thursday during the team’s season opener at the annual Krystin Diehl Tournament.

It was the first game led by new head coach Jason Crawford. He joined MHS in August as an English teacher.

A day ahead of the game, Crawford said the team’s biggest challenge is its nerves.

“We have been working hard the entire off season for this moment, and now that it’s here, I need to keep the girls’ from getting too nervous and losing focus of our goals,” Crawford said.

The team was plagued with pre-season jitters during its scrimmage Saturday, Crawford said, and despite moments of confidence on the mound and behind the plate Thursday, Rams softball couldn’t shake the butterflies for a win.

Rams varsity softball is a young team this year — made up of mostly underclassmen and only a handful of juniors and seniors.

Crawford said he’s looking to his older players to mentor their newest players on the field.

With the first game under their belt, Crawford said the team is “working out those kinks of youth and inexperience.”

Rams softball faces off against McClintock High Friday at 4:30 p.m.



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This story has been corrected from a previous version to indicate Mr. Crawford is an English teacher.


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The Maricopa varsity Rams take the field for the first time Wednesday night. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School Baseball’s season opener started at home Wednesday against Tempe High during the school’s annual Matt Huffman Tournament.

The tourney began Wednesday afternoon between Dobson and Poston Butte and runs through Saturday.

Rams head coach Andrew Pollak said he’s excited about the many players on the team with the potential to have a big year, some of them including his returning seniors.

“They’ve been through the program for four years now, and they could’ve easily chosen to leave town and go to a different school, but they stayed here and have done a good job representing our city,” Pollak said.

Four-year varsity player Carter Paine is slated to be No. 1 on the mound this year across from the Rams’ leader behind the plate, catcher Mason Williamson.

Belcher twins, Taylor and Tyler, will also return. Both pitchers and fielders, they are among those who Pollak said will have a “huge impact” on the field this year.

Senior Kevin McDill will return to the mound and the outfield for the Rams, and Andres Gusse is the team’s “tremendous first baseman,” Pollak said.

The team’s retention of quality players is what Pollak said is a testament to the program and its division.

“We play really good competition,” Pollak said. “We don’t have any cupcakes on our schedule.”

Rams play Poston Butte Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and finish the tourney Saturday with a game at 12:30 p.m.

Post-tournament play begins March 1 at home against Sierra Linda.


Tyler Belcher started for Maricopa against Tempe. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

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A former basketball coach for Maricopa High School is expected to return next year – this time as district athletic director, school officials said Wednesday.

Jake Neill began as MHS head coach of boys’ basketball and PE teacher in 2012 and resigned after four years to pursue a career in administration. He’s currently assistant principal and AD for Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley.

Prior to MHS, Neill coached at Mesa Westwood High for six years.

Neill is slated to replace Brian Winter as he transitions from district AD to MHS principal next school year.

Superintendent Steve Chestnut said Neill was interviewed Feb. 8 and recommended the candidate be hired by the Maricopa Unified School District board during a meeting Feb. 14.

The board will vote on the recommendation Feb. 28. If approved, Neill’s start date will be July 1.

Neill declined to comment until after the governing board votes on the recommendation.

Governing Board Members approved the same night the retirement of MHS Teacher on Special Assignment Michele Shaffer.

Shaffer’s administrator role at the high school coordinated the CTE department. She has worked at MHS for nearly 10 years, according to an online biography. District documents state Shaffer’s expected to retire at the end of the school year.

Jake Neill

At the Ak-Chin Airport, (from left) Mike Kemery, Reno Dugan, Chief Steve Stahl, Samantha Blaschke, Ian Mase and Capt. Jim Space. Photo by Michelle Chance

Local high school students traded their classrooms in for airplanes.

Air Force JROTC cadets from Maricopa High School have taken to the sky with help from the Civil Air Patrol.

The program is designed to educate cadets about airplanes and give them an opportunity to play pilot.

“It gets them familiar with what flying is all about, so hopefully it builds their enthusiasm about flying and the Air Force,” said Civil Air Patrol Capt. Jim Space.

MHS senior Samantha Blaschke’s first trip in an airplane was last Thursday when she boarded a small CAP craft from Chandler to Ak-Chin Regional Airport.

Her second experience in a plane would be her first time piloting one.

“I’m more excited than nervous, but as soon as I get in the front seat and get a hold of that wheel I know I’m going to be like ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be interesting,’” Blaschke said before the flight.

Senior Reno Dugan flew the airplane from Chandler to Ak-Chin for more than 30 minutes before Space took over the controls to land.

“At first, I thought it would be scary, but it was actually exhilarating,” Dugan said.

Space taught cadets simple flying maneuvers while touring airspace above Maricopa.

“You don’t really see an experience like that,” said Cadet Ian Mase, a junior at MHS.

Greeting the cadets at Ak-Chin Regional was Maricopa Police Department Chief Stahl, VFW Post 12042 Past Commander Mike Kemery and Maricopa Unified School District Human Resources Director Tom Beckett.

The partnership between the local AFJROTC and CAP was born recently after Lt. Col. Allen Kirksey, leader of the cadets in Maricopa, attended a meeting in the East Valley hosted by the two organizations. Twelve cadets have now had the flying experience, with Alex Odell and Elijah Baxter going up Tuesday.

“As a result of this meeting, both the CAP and AFJROTC will provide orientation flights to cadets in order to motivate and stimulate the cadet’s interest in and knowledge of aviation and aerospace activities as part of its Air Force,” Kirksey said.


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