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Cast members of Maricopa High School’s production of Fiddler on the Roof performed “Tradition” from the musical on the ASU Gammage stage Saturday for the High School Musical Theatre Awards. MHS Theatre Company was among 26 troupes competing for prizes. It was the third straight year they have participated. Three performers – Antonio Gonzales, Douglas Moulton and Taryn Story – were Top 10 finalists in their individual categories, and MHS Tech Theatre was a finalist in sound design and set/prop design. The night was dominated by Mingus Union High School’s “Newsies,” a Broadway musical schedule to be performed next spring by MHS Theatre Company.

Photo by Jim Headley

Maricopa High School saw more than 400 seniors cross the stage Thursday as the Class of 2019 graduated in a ceremony at Ram Stadium. Superintendent Tracey Lopeman was the keynote speaker. The graduates also heard from Student Boy President and salutatorian Alexis Jackson and valedictorian Chandler Chang.

Photos by Victor Moreno and Jim Headley

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Front row from left: Cassidy Zimmerman, Victor Moreno, Arianna Garcia, Mandy Carroll, Chloe Zimmerman, Justine Sanchez Mora.  Back row from left: Savannah Jones, Rory Pack, teacher McKay Jones, Cannon Jones, Levi Watlington, James Egelston, Julie Molina Rodriguez, Leslie Marrufo, Sarmolue Siefa. 

Fourteen Maricopa High School students placed on the 2019 National German Exam.

Sophomore Rory Pack and freshman Cannon Jones earned gold medals, scoring in the top 10 percent. Freshman Leslie Marrufo earned a silver medal, and freshman Arianna Garcia earned a bronze. Honorable mentions went to juniors James Egelston, Savannah Jones, Levi Watlington, and Cassidy Zimmerman; and freshmen Mandy Carroll, Julie Molina Rodriguez, Victor Moreno, Justine Sanchez Mora, Sarmolue Siefa, Chloe Zimmerman.


“We had an outstanding group of freshmen this year, as you can see,” said German teacher McKay Jones. “Each year is different as far as the make-up of students taking the test around the country, and scores were a lot higher this year. This meant that at least seven other students were extremely close to earning honorable mentions, based on past years results. It also means that several of this year’s honorable mention winners would have won a medal in past years. It all depends on that year’s scores from among 25,000 students. They all did a fantastic job this year!”


Beginning with German 2, national gold medalists are eligible to apply for a summer trip to Germany, paid for by the German government. The application includes essays in German and in English. Selected applicants are interviewed by a committee of AATG (Association of American Teachers of German) members, and state committees send candidates to the AATG national committee. From this group of national finalists, 35 students are selected for the summer trips. Senior Skylar Nelson and sophomore Abigail Poland from MHS were both national finalists in 2019, and Abigail Poland was selected as a trip winner. She will attend school for a month in Aschaffenburg (near Frankfurt), and go on trips and outings to sites of historical and cultural significance. 


Photo by Jim Headley

Sequoia Pathway Academy graduated 59 seniors in ceremonies Wednesday in the school gym. Speakers included Vice Mayor Henry Wade, valedictorian Britney Garcia-Coyolt and salutatorian Nina Sarappo.

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Photo by Kyle Norby

Eighth graders from Desert Wind and Maricopa Wells middle schools had separate promotion ceremonies this year, each on the football field at Maricopa High School. Desert Wind’s event was Tuesday, followed by Maricopa Wells on Wednesday. In recent years, the two school had unified for one ceremony, but that had been deemed too crowded and long.

Photo by Victor Moreno

Saturday, Maricopa High School’s football program hosted its second annual Community Awareness Soap Scrimmage featuring next seasons varsity and junior varsity players. Admission was a new hygiene or toiletry item to benefit Maricopa’s new Family Advocacy Center.

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Renee Dawn Grier

Reneé Dawn Grier, 57, of Santa Rosa Springs subdivision, passed away after a short illness May 16 in Casa Grande. She was born Dec. 13, 1961, the daughter of Carl and Georgia Moore.

Reneé was an amazing mother and wife who was taken entirely too soon. She will be fiercely missed by her husband, kids, grandkids and everyone else who loved and adored her.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies from Washington State University. She was a regional manager at MARCOA Publishing before joining InMaricopa in sales.

“Reneé taught me a lot in just a short time,” said Vincent Manfredi, InMaricopa’s sales director. “I will miss her drive and dedication to InMaricopa.”

“Reneé loved contributing to others,” Publisher Scott Bartle said. “She was a professional who got a lot of joy from helping her clients achieve their goals. Reneé always had a smile to share and story to tell.”

“I only knew Reneé for a short time, but I will never forget her,” said sales professional Trisha Paige. “She had a larger-than-life personality that shined so bright it made everyone around her stop and take notice. She seemed to always live her life without fear, without hesitation and without holding anything back. I am grateful for having had the chance to get to know her.”

Renee Grier helping with Treyden Hoffman’s Eagle project in April 2018 in Desert Cedars.

“Reneé was not only a co-worker and a friend but a former neighbor,” said Michelle Sorensen, client loyalty coordinator. “Anyone who met her knew she did not mince her words. You knew where she stood on any given subject; which is why Reneé was unique. Reneé was also a patriot and flew the U.S. flag every day at her home. She stood for freedom. I’m thankful I was given the opportunity to know her.”

“Words don’t describe Reneé. She made an immediate impact on everyone she met,” said Editor Raquel Hendrickson. “She had great stories from all her life experiences, whether on the softball field or political battlefields or road adventures. And she really wanted everybody to have the opportunity to be their best.”

“Reneé was beautiful,” said Terrell Hoffman, who came to know Reneé through the Desert Cedars HOA. “She had a huge heart and was always willing to lend a hand – especially if the task seemed impossible. She had a goal in mind and nailed it with amazing success every time. She loved this country, her liberty and freedom. She loved people. She would always greet you with, ‘Hey, beautiful,’ or ‘How are ya, handsome?’ She made you feel like you were her best friend. What she loved most of all, though, was her family – husband, mom, kids, and grandkids. They meant the world to her. I’m positive she is already working her Renee Magic on the other side. Can’t wait until we meet again, friend.”

“Reneé Grier lived in our subdivision for a couple years and, with years of HOA experience in Washington State, she served on the Desert Cedars’ HOA Board” said Bob Marsh, former member of the Desert Cedars HOA. “She was a force of nature, pushing through a major capital improvement project to xeriscape a large tract of HOA property that had been dropped from irrigation and maintenance during the mid-2000s real estate downturn. The project left Desert Cedars with a beautiful desert-landscaped area and a positive memory of Renee’s time on our Board.  She was taken from us before we got to see what her next projects would have been and would have done to help move Maricopa forward. RIP Renee.”

She is survived by her husband Alan Grier, daughter Jessica and her husband Justin, son Zack and his wife AnneMarie, mother Georgia and her husband Jerry, brother Mike and his wife Kate, four grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

She is preceded by her father Carl Moore.

Interment will be in Spokane, Washington.

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People show up in droves for the Maricopa High School graduation ceremonies, filling parking lots quickly around the campus.

This year, graduation is Thursday starting at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. To avoid traffic and parking congestion, Maricopa Unified School District is offering a shuttle service from two of its schools to the football field.

Parking will be available at Butterfield Elementary, 43800 W. Honeycutt Road, and Saddleback Elementary, 18600 N. Porter Road, starting at 6 p.m. Parking signs will be posted. Shuttles are scheduled for every 20 minutes.

Jiselle Diaz
Jiselle Diaz

By Jiselle Diaz

Teenagers find it difficult to feel empowered.

According to one study, 57 percent of teens have experienced persistent feelings of sadness, rage and hopelessness. This adds to a misconception I notice among teens of this generation; some think being angry about an issue means they are empowered.

This mindset is saying anger is power, and that is not true. It can seem quite difficult to grow as a teen in such a time like this. However, it’s not impossible.

Let’s get personal. My name is Jiselle Diaz and I am Miss City of Maricopa’s Outstanding Teen 2019. I recently became a member of Be Awesome Youth Coalition. My platform is “Be the Lighthouse: Teen Empowerment,” which is about empowering teens through leadership, service and kindness.

During my first two years of high school my family was going through extensive changes, causing me to behave in a reclusive, depressive way due to similar feelings of rage and sadness. I did not want to make new friends or try new things, and I experienced constant anxiety attacks.

I was invited to join Link Crew, where I learned mentorship skills and I helped prepare and guide 16 freshmen for high school. This program gave me the inspiration to develop my platform. I partnered with Be Awesome because everything they stand for fits with my cause perfectly.

Leadership is a skill all teens should learn. Serving others and being kind is always the right thing to do. It is so important to be involved in your community because of how empowering it is. Fortunately, it’s easy to do that in Maricopa.

My favorite ways of getting involved in the community have been musically performing and being a titleholder in the Miss City of Maricopa Scholarship Organization where I’m given the opportunity to serve my community. I highly encourage you to get involved.

Stay connected. Stay positive. As teens, we need to develop relationships and friendships. We should get involved, meet new people, and have fun with it! Life’s too short to not have fun. Shine your light, be empowered, and be awesome, teens.

Jiselle Diaz is the reigning Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen.


5 Ways to Get Involved
1) Get an internship. They provide great experience and look awesome on college resumes.
2) Join a church youth group. Get to know other people just like you and make lifelong friends.
3) Volunteer at your local food bank, host a clothing drive, etc. Help those in need and make a difference.|
4) Get involved in an organization in your community/school. (Hint, hint: Be Awesome!)
5) Start your own organization or club. This is an amazing way to spread a message and gather others around something you believe in.

This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

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Only one of 22 eateries inspected by Pinal County health personnel did not receive a perfect score.

WingStop received a ding over batches of fries that did not cool fast enough after being cooked. According to code, cooked food should be cooled from 135 degrees F to 70 degrees within two hours. Fries inspected were no cooler than 78 degrees after two hours. Affected batches of fries were discarded and the inspector reviewed the cooling process with staff.

EXCELLENT [No violations found]
Central Arizona College – Café
Central Arizona College – Culinary
Children’s Learning Adventure
Dunkin Donuts
Helen’s at Copper Sky
Helen’s at Pacana Park
Helen’s Kitchen
IHOP Restaurant
Jack in the Box
Legacy Traditional School
Maricopa Head Start
Maricopa High School
Maricopa High School – Culinary
Papa Murphy’s Pizza
Province Community Association – Clubhouse
Sequoia Pathway Academy – K-6
Sequoia Pathway Academy – Secondary
Taco Bell
Tacos ‘n’ More

SATISFACTORY [Violations corrected during inspection]

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]

UNACCEPTABLE [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]

This item appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Among Maricopa high schoolers graduating this week are Nina Sarappo of Sequoia Pathway, Nancy Saldana of Maricopa High School, Britney Garcia-Coyolt of SPA and Nathan Wallin of MHS. Photo by Victor Moreno

The Class of 2019 at Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway Academy is filled with many goal-oriented, career-minded individuals. Learn about just a few of them as they prepare for graduation. 

Jonathan Aguilar. Photo by Victor Moreno

Jonathan Aguilar
An MHS senior, Aguilar has been a student-athlete and taken college-level classes to prepare for his next step. “My high school career has gone by so fast, and I have accomplished a lot.”
Years in Maricopa: 8
Originally from: Downey, California
Career goal: Civil engineering
Self-made advantage: I have taken dual-enrollment classes the past couple of years.
Work/internship/volunteerism: I work at The Duke golf course and I volunteer with Link Crew at Maricopa High School.
High school achievement: My greatest achievement would be having good grades throughout high school and playing varsity sports (golf and baseball).
After graduation: I plan on attending Arizona State’s Ira A. Fulton’s Engineering School and study civil engineering and minor in finance.

Chandler Chang. Photo by Victor Moreno

Chandler Chang
The MHS valedictorian has been out front leading the band and taking tough classes to set himself up for a full-ride scholarship. “It’s an ongoing sense of fulfillment, every moment of every day. I have a whole community supporting me and encouraging me to succeed and excel. It’s like the entire student body and staff is with me in my highest moments, and even my lowest moments. I have made a name for myself and have built a legacy that will endure. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Years in Maricopa: 14
Originally from: Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Career goal: Mathematics/chemical engineering
Work/internships/volunteerism: Drum major of MHS marching band, Junior States of America, National Honor Society, part-time employee at McDonald’s
Self-made advantage: I have received the Flinn Scholarship, which provides me with a four-year, full-ride scholarship to ASU as well as professional connections and mentorship. At MHS, I have taken the most rigorous mathematics and science courses available, earning college credit through AP courses.
High school achievement: Becoming a student role model for MHS
After graduation: I plan to attend ASU to major in mathematics and chemical engineering and explore various research opportunities and internships. While I will always be on the academic grind, I also want to take time to have fun, socialize and enjoy my youth while I still have it.

Brian Forkum Jr. Photo by Victor Moreno

Brian Forkum Jr.
A member of National Honor Society at MHS, Forkum has already been involved academically with Northern Arizona University while staying in touch with his roots.
Years in Maricopa: 12
Originally from: Born in Mesa, but I grew up here. I call this place home.
Career goal: Become tenured professor in history and philosophy
Self-made advantage: I attended college at NAU for three summers through the Nizhoni (Navajo for “Beautiful”) Academy. I also interact with teachers and try to understand how they chose their careers and why.
Work/internship/volunteerism: I was an intern for Dr. Cindy Browder at NAU. I volunteer a lot in Maricopa, especially as an NHS member.
High school achievement: Personal growth, from a quiet freshman to a comfortable and self-assured senior.
After graduation: Continue studying, explore the world, meet new people and help others when I can.

Britney Garcia-Coyolt. Photo by Victor Moreno

Britney Garcia-Coyolt
Valedictorian of the Sequoia Pathway Class of 2019, Britney has had a very busy high school experience including earning certification in Medical Office Management. “I remember completing my exam and anxiously waiting for my results to come in and as soon as I saw my results I was completely ecstatic and so proud because all the hard work that had paid off.”
Years in Maricopa: 17
Originally from: Maricopa
Career goal: Interventional radiologist
Work/internships/volunteerism: Two Internships at Sun Life Family Health Center
Self-made advantage: I currently attend Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology and I am in the Medical Assistant Program. CAVIT was a stepping stone to be able to get into the medical field and to be able to expand my knowledge. Thanks to that I have been able to complete two internships at the Sun Life Family Health Center here in Maricopa and I completely loved it. I am also currently dual-enrolled with CAC so that I can get ahead on some of my basic classes.
High school achievement: Personally, receiving my Medical Office Management Certification was the greatest accomplishment that I received during high school that I worked really hard for.
After graduation: I hope to be able to continue my education at ASU.

Alexis Jackson. Photo by Victor Moreno

Alexis Jackson
The salutatorian of the MHS graduates, Alexis has taken advantage of opportunities for medical training while staying involved in campus politics. “I am extremely blessed and thankful for the support from my friends and family who helped me obtain these achievements, I am eager to see what my career path and future hold.”
Years in Maricopa: 16
Originally from: Mesa, Arizona
Career goal: Nurse practitioner
Self-made advantage: While taking steps towards reaching my end goal of becoming a nurse practitioner, Maricopa High School has provided me with a Sports Medicine program and Athletic Training internship where I have gained insight into the medical field.
Work/internships/volunteerism: National Honor Society member, Student Body president, Student Council experience for nine years, athletic training internship, microbiologist (water quality) intern, ALA Girls’ State attendee, civil engineering job shadow
High school achievement: Earning the Wildcat Excellence scholarship that has paid all my tuition costs at the University of Arizona, as well as getting involved in my community through Student Council.
After graduation: I intend to major in nursing at the University of Arizona.

Brianna N. McVey. Photo by Victor Moreno

Brianna N. McVey
A relative newbie at MHS, Bree has interned with Maricopa Police Department to prepare for her chosen field and was also sent to Girls State. “I was proud to know that I was given such an amazing opportunity.”
Years in Maricopa: 2.5
Originally from: Born in California but lived in Peoria, Arizona.
Career goal: Work for the FBI or be a detective
Self-made advantage: Interning at Maricopa Police Department
Work/internships/volunteerism: I have worked with CopaCloset at MHS and local food banks, I am a captain in the JROTC program, a link leader and an MPD high school intern.
High school achievement: One of my biggest accomplishments is going to Girls State last summer.
After graduation: I am attending University of Arizona to study criminology.

Connor Paine. Photo by Victor Moreno

Connor Paine
With a goal of being a doctor, Connor is also an MHS student-athlete who wrestled his senior year and made it to state. “I was ecstatic because I had worked so hard for months to make it there and I had finally met that goal.”
Years in Maricopa: 7
Originally from: Champaign, Illinois
Career goal: Pediatrician
Self-made advantage: I have begun studying anatomy and physiology to gain a basic understanding of the human body before attending the University of Arizona, majoring in pre-physiology.
Work/internships/volunteerism: Two years at Barro’s Pizza as a cook and two years of volunteering through NHS for various community events
High school achievement: My greatest accomplishment in high school is qualifying for the AIA Division 2 State Wrestling Tournament my senior year.
After graduation: Attending the University of Arizona and majoring in pre-physiology. After college, I plan to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.

Nina Sarappo. Photo by Victor Moreno

Nina Sarappo
Sequoia Pathway’s salutatorian, Nina ingratiated herself with people working in political fields and took dual-enrollment classes starting as a freshman. “My reaction to finding out that I am salutatorian was rewarding myself by eating a whole box of Strawberry Pop-tarts.”
Years in Maricopa: 9
Originally from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Career goal: Politics
Work/internships/volunteerism: I was treasurer for National Honor Society in 11th grade and our small group organized several volunteer and community-oriented activities. As a senior, I participated in the City of Maricopa internship program which granted me experience in local government.
Self-made advantage: Reading about political philosophy and history helped me shape my own beliefs about what needs to be changed in American government. Although certain ideas are subject to change or evolve, they certainly fuel my own passion to take a political career seriously. Throughout high school, I developed excellent connections with individuals involved in political predictions and reporting.
High school achievement: My greatest accomplishment in high school is graduating second in my class. I have been a dual-enrollment student with Central Arizona College since ninth grade, taking college classes along with high school curriculum and during the summers. Responsibilities and problems outside of the classroom did not hinder my dedication to education and schoolwork. Also, I was low-carb for three months: That was impressive.
After graduation: I will be attending Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University as a philosophy (morality, politics and law) major. I am eager to learn about the subjects that interest me at a higher level and refine my critical thinking and argumentative skills to prepare me for my career aspirations as a politician. Outside of school, I want to travel to Europe, specifically Albania, to reconnect with my heritage.

Nancy Saldana. Photo by Victor Moreno

Nancy Denise Saldana
Chairing the Youth Council, she pushed herself to be involved in school activities and the community at large. “It became my greatest accomplishment because ever since then every opportunity to be involved to serve, to show school spirit I took it and through that I gained close relationships with the community, staff and gained amazing friendships. It really gave me a reason to smile at school everyday.”
Years In Maricopa: I’ve lived in Maricopa for 7 years and love it
Originally from: Baja California, Mexico
Career Goal: My goal is to be happy in what I do everyday. I love being involved and talking to people so that’s why I’ve chosen to further my education in mass communications.
Work/internships/volunteerism: I’ve been a member of the Maricopa Youth City Council and Currently work as a respite and habilitation provider.
High school achievement: This last year I just made the decision to make it the best year it can be.
Self-made advantage: I’ve taken every opportunity around school or the city to use skills I would need in my future career such as promoting events, reaching out to others and have found local internships.
After Graduation: Straight out of high school I plan to serve a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then attend a university to further my career in mass communications and media.

Kimberly Vega-Sanchez. Photo by Victor Moreno

Kimberly Vega-Sanchez
A member of the National Honor Society at MHS, Kimberly has turned her hard work in the classroom into scholarships. “It makes me proud to think that I’ve managed to work a busy schedule, get schoolwork done and volunteer in my free time while keeping my grades up.”
Years in Maricopa: 12 years
From: California
Career goal: Corporate lawyer
Work/internships/volunteerism: I’ve worked at Panda Express this past year and volunteer with the school’s National Honor Society.
High school achievement: Apart from the scholarships and awards, I would have to say my greatest accomplishment in high school has been having the ability to balance it all throughout these four years and seeing how my hard work has paid off.
After graduation: I’ll be attending ASU this fall to study at the W.P. Carey School of business. This will provide me the opportunity to receive internships, expand my connections, and learn the versatile fundamentals of business and legal expertise to help gain the knowledge needed to become a corporate lawyer.

Nathan Wallin. Photo by Victor Moreno

Nathan Wallin
As president of Junior State of America at MHS, Nathan became organizer and leader for community events, including political forums, for which he was awarded by the vice mayor. “I was so surprised to see myself up there with such amazing young leaders from our community but felt very gratified to be seen as a good member to our community and was able to tell people how thankful I was to be here and to listen to their stories and passions.”
Years in Maricopa: 8
Originally from: Spokane, Washington
Career goal: Traveling nurse
Work/internships/volunteering: I work at Copper Sky as a lifeguard and swim instructor.
Self-made advantage: I’ve done very good in high school in order to receive the top 10-percent scholarship for CAC, giving two free years of college, which is just enough to get me into nursing school.
High school achievement: Being one of the recipients of the first MLK Youth Dreamer Award presented to me by Henry Wade.
After graduation: I plan on expanding my knowledge of the world by meeting and talking to as many people as I can while attending CAC in the fall to purse a degree in nursing.

The MHS graduation ceremony is scheduled for May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium. Valedictorian is Chandler Chang, and salutatorian is Alexis Jackson. The SPA ceremony is May 22 at 7 p.m. in its gymnasium. Valedictorian is Britney Garcia-Coyolt, and salutatorian is Nina Sarappo.

This article appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Bernadette Russoniello

Upcoming College and Career Ready Events at MHS
Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Bootcamp, May 28-29, 8 a.m.-noon at MHS Library
Standing out in the Admissions Process, June 4-5, 8 a.m.-noon at MHS Library
Events are appropriate for all high school students, grades 9-12. For more information, contact Bernadette Russoniello at

By Bernadette Russoniello

Bernadette Russoniello

Applying for scholarships could be a full-time job for high school students. Yet most students are unaware and unprepared for the work required.

Daily, I hear comments from students such as, “Miss, I spent like four hours working on applying, and I found nothing,” “It’s only a thousand dollars, it’s not worth the work” and “I wish I would’ve started sooner!”

Simply by earning all A’s and B’s, students manage to earn at least $27 for every hour they are in high school through university academic scholarships. Students need to invest time up front in building a scholarship application portfolio and a researched action plan to maximize their chances at earning monies.

What’s a scholarship portfolio? I encourage students to start a digital portfolio of all elements typically required for applications. At MHS, we use Google Apps for Education, so starting a folder in their Google Drive is the first step. Gather and develop basic elements required for most scholarships: three letters of recommendation, an updated resume, a list of awards and honors, personal statements including reflections on your career and college goals, a personal narrative describing yourself and an updated high school transcript.

Tips on letters of recommendation. Ask well before you need one. I have students asking regularly for letters the day before they are due. Ask in advance, and make sure to give a five- to 10-day window. After the first week, gentle reminders are appreciated to ensure you receive your letter on time. Additionally, providing your recommender your resume and personal narrative helps them include points about you they may not know. And most importantly, pick people who are strong writers and know you well – specific examples and personal anecdotes are what readers look for, not a regurgitation of the resume.

Standing out. Admissions and scholarship readers read literally hundreds, if not thousands, of applications. The applicant must stand out in the process, either through their voice, their story or their accomplishments. Accomplishments are the toughest; all students applying are in clubs, get great grades and serve as campus leaders. What do you do that makes you different?

Where to start? I’m a fan of – but not the “Free Search” (unless you love spam and third-party emails). I show students how to use the “Directory” feature to search by category and due date. Students need to develop an action plan that allows them to list scholarships, links, application needs and due dates.


This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Murray Siegel
Murray Siegel

By Murray Siegel

What was your reaction when you learned about the scandal involving wealthy parents spending obscene money to secure their child’s admission into an elite university? Were you outraged that this was so unfair, especially if you have a child nearing college age? Perhaps you saw this as another example of the arrogance of the affluent.

My response was despite their wealth these folks are stupid, since these elite universities really do not offer a better undergraduate education, so why spend the money? Yes, Harvard, Yale and Stanford are fine colleges to obtain graduate or professional degrees, but my experience indicates for undergraduates there are much better schools.

What gives me the right to make this statement? For many years during my teaching career, I taught and coached at various high schools and became involved in hundreds of college searches. I generally followed up with my students to get feedback about their college experiences. Of greater importance, from 1985 through 1998, I conducted summer teacher workshops on college campuses from Boston to Honolulu. At each college, I would search out students and faculty to gain an assessment of that school as a possible college for my high school students.

During the summer of 1987, I conducted a workshop at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. My contacts with students and faculty demonstrated that TU offers a fabulous undergraduate environment. Upon my recommendation, five of my former students received degrees from TU. One is a Slavic linguist for the Defense Language Institute, one leads a city’s drama program, one is a urologist, one holds two doctorate degrees and is a professor at The Sorbonne in Paris, and the fifth is a bilingual economist working for a nonprofit. All reported great academic and social experiences at this college.

Based on my research, I can recommend several private universities in lieu of elite schools. Emory and Agnes Scott (Decatur, Georgia), Furman (Greenville, South Carolina) Davidson (Davidson, North Carolina), Rice (Houston, Texas) and Harvey Mudd (Claremont, California). Some state universities I recommend are Georgia Tech (Atlanta), Clemson (Clemson, South Carolina), University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Virginia), Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia), Auburn (Auburn, Alabama) and Texas A&M (College Station, Texas) These are not the only quality colleges out there; they are ones which I have the most familiarity.

I did not mention in-state schools since I always prefer students go out-of-state if at all possible. Staying in Arizona, U of A, ASU and NAU each offers exceptional academic programs.

If you are experiencing or approaching the college search, please disregard the elites and focus on a school that meets your child’s needs.

Murray Siegel, Ph.D., has 44 years of experience teaching mathematics. He is in his fourth year as a volunteer at Butterfield E.S.

This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Graduation for the class of Maricopa High School Class of 2019 is set for May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium. The valedictorian is Chandler Chang, and the salutatorian is Alexis Jackson.



MHS seniors not pictured:


Allen, JennaRae

Almanza, Nina

Anderson, Emily

Anguiano, Samantha

Antonio, Meladine

Arellano, Emily

Armenta Valenzuela, Joel

Beaumont, Shane

Benally, Dewayne

Cacpal, Alden

Carlyle, Mariah

Carrigan, Reilly

Castro Ramirez, Jose

Ceja, Gerardo

Chavis, Destinee

Diaz, Jorge

Downes, Keishaun

Dusenberry, Cheyenne

Edens, Julia

Enos, Elaina

Flores, Kayla

Forsyth-Ortiz, Shaylee

Fountaine, Arionna

Garcia, D’Andre

Garcia, Davin

Garcia, Doria

Garcia, Jalen

Garcia, Sean

Garcia, Serina

Gastelum, Jesus

Glover, Henry

Guerrero, Matthew

Guidry, Jada

Guillory, Camille

Guzman Bedoya, Luis

Hennigar, Paige

Hill, LeeAnthony

Huddleston, Jordan

Hughes, Nathaniel

Inscore, Tyler

Isaacs, Charles

Johnson, Jayla

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Jada

Jurado, Anthony

Justin, Earl

Kelly, Mackenzie

Keyack, Chloe

Khliu, Danny

Koenig, Christian

Lopez, Bethany

Luna Garcia, Karina

Maldonado, Elijah

Maldonado, Madison

Mariscal Torres, Edgar

Martinez, Albert

Mason, Sarah

Maxwell, Brendan

McAfee, Essence

McWilliams, Kassandra

Melendez, Cesario

Mendes-Castillejo, Anthony

Mullenix, Hunter

Muniz, Gabriel

Narcia, Aiyana

Narcia, Isaiah

Nieto, Alex

Ortega, Mario

Ortiz, Alberto

Partridge, Isaiah

Pearson, Stefon

Pepper, Averi

Perry, Bryce

Platero, Adela

Ramirez, David

Riley-Coleman, Tylen

Rios, Chelsea

Roberts, Fransico

Robinaugh, Warner

Rodriguez, Antonio

Ruiz, Angela

Salazar, Gabriel

Salter, Isaiah

Samayoa, Evan

Sanchez, Michael

Santana, Emily

Sauceda, Clarissa

Sauro, Seth

Schlueter, Broc

Serrano, Meyah

Sessler, Daylyn

Shaw, Ramia

Smith, Destry

Stanley, Chy’Anne

Swapshire, Angelica

Tapia, Brian

Thibault, Damon

Thomas, Dallas

Thomas Jr., Theodore

Tuggle, Maurtel

Tyler, Terrance

Vargas-Zavala, Lazaro

Vasquez, Xzavier

Vasquez Jimenez, Linda

Villegas, Leonardo

Viser, Zachary

Ward, Isiah

Williams, Aaron

Wright, Zhyia

Yarrito, Kye

Yarrito, Sensi


RUF MMA 32 FITE Night is May 18 at Copper Sky amphitheater. Gates open at 5 p.m. and fight time is 7 p.m.

In the main event, fighting at 170, journeyman Jeff Horlacher from Globe will face South Tucson’s Raymond “The Truth” Pina. The co-main event has heavyweight world champion Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez defending his title against Maricopa’s “Dale Sopi.” Both pros have been actively fighting in bare-knuckle events and have fought on other boxing shows as well.

In other featured pro fights, Andres “The Punicher” Ponce will battle Yuma’s Joe Gustina, who just fought at M1 Global last month at 145. Also on the pro card, Brazilian Raphael Montini will be taking on Las Vegas’ Vladimir Martinez in a bantamweight showdown.

Other notable matchups include Casa Grande’s Joseph Rivas vs. Nick Lewis. Aaron Hernandez will be making his debut against Robert Shepardson at 125.

The evening will have 16 total fights, with three titles on the line. Tickets are on sale at

Firefighters soak a brush fire near Honeycutt and Murphy, across the road from the Volkswagen testing track. Photo by Jim Headley

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department is putting out a brush fire near the corner of Honeycutt and Murphy roads at Tortosa.

The fire was reported around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday with some witnesses saying juveniles may have started the fire in an empty field. Maricopa Police also responded to the scene to investigate and control any traffic issues.

The fire was fueled by dry grasses and brush on the empty lot, sending smoke high over the development, but did not appear to threaten homes or roadways.

Maricopa Police charged two juveniles with reckless burning in connection with the fire.

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By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

 Central Arizona College recognized the accomplishments of its graduates during a district commencement ceremony May 10 at the Signal Peak Campus.

Two student speakers, Ashley Keepers of Tonapah and Kaira Cortez of San Tan Valley, were nominated and selected by the college community to address their peers.

Keepers is the first female student to receive a certificate in the structural welding program. She was president of the American Welding Society student chapter and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

Cortez worked in student services at the San Tan Campus. She was involved with National Society of Leadership and Success, Book Connections Club, DREAMers Club, Campus Activities Board and the Honors Program. Additionally, she served as an officer in Phi Theta Kappa, and this year, was district president of the CAC Student Government Association.

Faculty senate president Clark Vangilder presented the candidates to the CAC Governing Board, which conferred the degrees and certificates. President Dr. Jackie Elliott along with governing board members congratulated graduates as they crossed the stage.

An official list of CAC graduates will be released once the degrees and certificates have been confirmed. Preliminary statistics show there are 768 graduates for the 2018-19 academic year with a total of 807 degrees and certificates being awarded.

The oldest person to be awarded a degree or certificate this year is 67 and the youngest is 17. Ten students graduated from CAC before graduating from high school since their ceremonies are not until later in May. The number of male graduates is 276 while the number of female graduates is 492.  The total number of degrees and certificates awarded by Central Arizona College in its 49 years is 26,173 given to 18,768 individuals.

Previously held Student Awards of Excellence at the Maricopa campus recognized students for their outstanding academic and co-curricular achievements. Faculty of the Year were also named at each campus.

Academic Excellence, Elaine Cluff
All-Arizona Academic Team, Kelly L Myszewski
Distinguished Phi Theta Kappa Officer, Dylan Martin
Faculty of the Year, Christine Cook
Most Engaged Student, Rebekka Harris
Outstanding Math Student of the Year, Kenya Payne
Outstanding Part-Time Student, Angela Macias
Outstanding Returning Student, Abel Castañeda
Outstanding Student in Biological Sciences, Amber Dearstyne
Outstanding Student in Physical Sciences, Mitchell Allen
Tutor of the Year, Peggy Rider

The CAC chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success (NSLS) held its spring induction and awards ceremony April 23, marking the end of the Society’s inaugural year at CAC.

CAC’s Chapter of the NSLS was established in August 2018. In its first year on campus, 302 students joined. Ninety-one students completed the program in the fall and another fifty-nine were added as inducted members this spring. New inductees received a Certificate of Leadership Training honoring their achievement and lifetime membership in the NSLS.

The NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership society with 950,000 members representing 700 universities and colleges nationwide. In addition to honoring excellence, the NSLS provides a systematic program for members to build their leadership skills through participation on their campus.

Newly inducted members receiving their leadership certificate:
Adrianna Chambers, Maricopa
Yasmin Santa Cruz, Maricopa

Members receiving Advanced Leader certification:
Yuliana Toledo Avila, Stanfield
Ashley Dobbs, Maricopa


Sponsored Content

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College (CAC) is proud and honored to serve veterans, their spouses and dependents, as well as active military personnel.

CAC accepts all tuition assistance (TA) provided by the Department of Defense for all branches of the US Armed Forces for active duty service members. The College is approved by Arizona’s State Approving Agency (SAA) to administer the VA Education Benefits’ program and the College accepts all VA Education Chapter Benefits for Veterans, their spouse and dependent(s).

The V.A.L.O.R. (Veteran and Loved Ones Relief Scholarship) is available for Central Arizona College veteran students and their spouses and dependents. This scholarship is awarded annually and may be used to cover tuition and/or book expenses. Applicants must be a veteran, or the spouse or child of a veteran, up to the age of 26. Additionally, they must be a resident of Pinal County and pursuing a degree or certificate.

For further general inquires or assistance, please contact CAC’s Veteran Services Specialist and VA School Certifying Official (SCO), Elizabeth Barrett at or 520.494.5517. She is located in Room M115A at the Signal Peak Campus in Coolidge.

Adrian Basil, with 2-year old son Devon, was voted Best Mom in Maricopa for 2019 and received prizes from community businesses. Devon is the youngest of four children.

With 26 Maricopa mothers nominated by their family and friends and more than 2,000 votes cast at, Best Mom in Maricopa 2019 went to Adrian Basil, just in time for Mother’s Day.

The single mother of four children spanning more than 20 years, she is an equipment mechanic/technician and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

“I was shocked, actually,” Basil said. “It was nice just being nominated. I didn’t expect to win.”

Friend Kimber Shelton nominated her for the online contest.

“She is such a strong woman and an absolutely loving and amazing mother who does anything and everything she can for her children,” Shelton said.

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Basil had already started a family when she followed her dream of joining the Air Force.

“I always wanted to, but I started out so young having kids that I wasn’t able to because I had them,” she said. “And then my brother helped take care of them. I was out here, and he was out here, so I was able to go to basic training.”

The military providing training that has landed her a career working on aerospace systems. Her oldest son, who is 23, still lives in Maricopa with friends. Her 21-year-old daughter recently moved to Florida. Still at home are a 14-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

“One of her children recently began battling some serious health issues that have led to hospital stays and continued treatment,” Shelton said. “This, of course, has taken such a toll on Adrian as a mother seeing her child struggle and wanting to do all she can to meet every need and get the best care possible. Even with help from loved ones, I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to see your child struggle in such a way all the while trying to maintain daily needs and a stable and healthy environment for the rest of the family.”

As the first-place winner, Basil received a bouquet, a tumbler, a $50 Fry’s gift card, Gucci sunglasses from Maricopa Eye Care and a “Hot Lap” on the track at Apex Motor Club.

Eva Bolden was second in the online voting. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The second-place winner was Eva Bolden, who is raising seven kids. She was nominated by fiancé Isaiah Jernigan: “She does it all work, cook, clean, shop. She is patient and caring; that’s what makes her a good mother. She keeps our family happy on top of everything and shows everyone she meets unconditional love.” Bolden received a bouquet, a tumbler, a $50 Fry’s gift card and a family portrait photoshoot with photographer Victor Moreno.

Kelsey Mitchell was third in the voting from among 26 nominees. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The third-place winner was Kelsey Mitchell, the mother of four in a blended family, who has done it alone for seven months while husband Brian completed basic training for the Air National Guard. She was nominated by friend Shauna Perez: “Kelsey volunteers countless hours at the kids’ schools, leads worship at church, and runs a family boutique online. All of this while managing the demands of motherhood.” Mitchell received a bouquet, a tumbler and a $50 Fry’s gift card.

Learn about all the amazing Best Mom nominees at

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School Performance Company performed its spring dance concert, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” Friday night and will take the stage again tonight at the Performing Arts Center. The students pack 31 pieces into two hours, featuring choreography by the students and artistic director Alexandra Biggs. Dancers are from the MHS Performance Company as well as Dance I and Dance II students.

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Rancho El Dorado resident Joe Boyce passed away Thursday at the age of 80.

To the champion of our hearts, our beloved husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather, Joseph Olen Boyce at the age of 80 years left our world to be with the angels above, in his home in Maricopa on May 9, 2019, surrounded by his loving family.

Joe was born in Phoenix on July 29, 1938 to Ruby White, and was a lifelong resident of Arizona. He was preceded in death by his daughter Cindy Jo Boyce, granddaughter Erica Renee Boyce and his brother Harvey Lee Thomison.

He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years Carm, and his two sons, Frank (Romy) and Curtis (Rita). He is also survived by his nine grandchildren, Michael (Nikki), Porscha, Joey (Samantha), Heather (Casey), Brooke (Jeremy), J.R., Patrick (Breanna), Colton and Austin, along with 16 great-grandchildren.

A visitation will be held on Tuesday, May 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. with a Rosary at 6 p.m. at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, in Phoenix. Interment will take place on Wednesday, May 15, at noon at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, 2033 N. 48th St., in Phoenix. Condolences may be expressed at

Photos by Jim Headley

Thursday evening, May 9, the Native American Parent Advisory presented the eighth annual Family Night Celebration at Maricopa High School. The event honors Native American graduates from the 2019 class at MHS. The event was filled with stories and dancing, including performances by The Yellow Bird Dancers and the Red Mountain Performers. At the end, graduates were presented with hand-made stoles.

Photo by Jim Headley

A violent traffic crash on White and Parker Road has reportedly killed two people south of Maricopa.

The incident, being investigated by Ak-Chin first responders with support from Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies, has closed the road from Peters and Nall Road to Louis Johnson Road.

Two lifeline helicopters were also deployed to the scene.

The crash is being described as a single-vehicle rollover of an extended-cab pickup. Two people are reported deceased and two others injured. Names have not been publicly released.


Family thanks all who helped in 'two-year ordeal'

Kathryn Sinkevitch was convicted of murder Tuesday after a day of jury deliberations.

Despite defense attorney Bret Huggins claims, prosecutors do not believe there are grounds to appeal the conviction of  Kathryn Sinkevitch.

“We are pleased with the jury’s verdict because it is entirely consistent with the evidence presented at trial,” Pinal County Attorney’s Office Major Crimes Bureau Chief Shawn Jensvold said after  Sinkevitch was found guilty of first-degree murder this week.

Immediately after the verdict on Tuesday, Sinkevitch’s counsel made it clear they intend to appeal.

A jury convicted 34-year-old Sinkevitch in the 2016 death of Michael Agerter in Maricopa. Jensvold and Deputy County Attorney David Ahl led the prosecution.

“The evidence, which was both direct and circumstantial, pointed directly to Sinkevitch, and there is no reason to suspect that anyone else killed Michael,” Jensvold said.

The Agerter family released a statement through the Pinal County Attorney’s Office:

“On behalf of Mike’s friends and family, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to everyone involved in achieving this verdict. From the first officer on site that continuously talked to Mike even though it was clear he was gone, through the ranks to Detective [Michael] Dennison, Deputy County Attorneys David Ahl and Shawn Jensvold, we thank you. The behind-the-scenes effort, work and support given by Paralegal Christine Forbes and Victim Advocate Sonia Campos were incredibly invaluable to our family throughout this two-year ordeal. The team spent countless hours away from their families so ours would finally attain peace. Also, to the jurors who were tasked with making the painful decision of enacting justice for Mike. He took every legal precaution to protect himself and was trying to do the same for his child. Domestic violence knows no boundaries. Mike’s attempt to protect the child he never met escalated her aggression towards him, ultimately leading to his death.”

On Dec. 16, 2016, the City of Maricopa Police Department received multiple 911 calls of shots fired at a home on Sagebrush Trail in Rancho El Dorado. When police arrived on scene they discovered 31-year-old Agerter shot in the head and back. Agerter was seated in his car, parked in his garage.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police soon discovered Agerter was on the phone with his younger sister at the time he was murdered.

Agerter had a home surveillance system at his residence. After watching some recorded footage, detectives saw what appeared to be a female subject walking quickly from a white minivan parked diagonally across the street from Agerter’s house just after he pulled into his garage.

The subject was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and shoes, gloves and carrying papers in one hand with a bag draped over her shoulder. The subject was outside the views of the cameras briefly, then reappeared and scurried back across the street to the white minivan and sped away. Police ran a background check on Agerter and discovered that he had been in several legal disputes with Sinkevitch.

Agerter and Sinkevitch were romantically involved until they broke up in March 2016. In April 2016, Agerter was granted an order of protection in Maricopa County Superior Court against Sinkevitch. Records show Agerter made efforts to conceal his new address from Sinkevitch. Police also discovered Agerter filed a motion to establish paternity and requested parenting time with his and Sinkevitch’s son, who was born in October.

Agerter never saw his son before he was murdered, and the paternity results later confirmed he was the boy’s father.

During the investigation, police tracked Sinkevitch to a residence belonging to her friend and co-worker. Sinkevitch’s gray Mitsubishi Mirage and her co-worker’s white Chrysler Town and Country were parked outside the residence.

The van appeared identical to the van seen on Agerter’s home surveillance system.

Sinkevitch’s co-worker denied driving to Maricopa during the afternoon of Agerter’s murder. Sinkevitch claimed she was at work all day. However, upon reviewing workplace surveillance video, detectives discovered Sinkevitch had left in the middle of the day.

Police confirmed Sinkevitch had ample time to drive to Agerter’s house, commit the murder and return to work. Police arrested Sinkevitch in Avondale on Dec. 21, 2016, after receiving a tip. Witnesses told police Sinkevitch owned a handgun, but a gun was never located.

“We agree with defense counsel’s assessment that the defendant received a fair trial. As reflected by the fact that they deliberated over two days before returning a verdict, it is clear that the jurors took their responsibilities very seriously. However, we disagree that any legal errors were committed during the trial that are likely to result in the defendant’s conviction being overturned on appeal,” Jensvold said.

Sinkevitch will be sentenced on June 6, at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse. With capital punishment off the table, at that time she will receive a natural life sentence.

Chandler Chang, valedictorian of MHS Class of 2019, was honored for earning the coveted Flinn Scholarship. Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School seniors earned more than $8 million in scholarships this year, according to Principal Brian Winter, an all-time record.

The effort to obtain scholarships, he said, makes the Class of 2019 “the most successful class in the history of Maricopa High School.” The seniors also had the most applications for out-of-state scholarships and the most acceptances.

Tuesday was Senior Honors Night at the school, celebrating those going on to higher education and the military service and those who achieved academic excellence this year. Some students received several scholarships from various educational entities.

Northern Arizona University offered MHS students over a million dollars in scholarships. From Arizona State University, it was over $700,000, while University of Arizona offered $464,000. Thirty community awards were also handed out

ASU Merit Scholarships:
Elijah Baxter, Kolby Bowen, Angelo Bravo, Jacquelyn Bui, Lexie Bunn, Yazmin Calleros, Chandler Chang, Jacquelyn Cooter, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Aidyn Curtis, James Cutajar, Bailey Davis, Lucas Dial, Devyn Dutra, Kourtney Erick, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Antonio Gonzales, Kassidy Hamlett, Vincent Latona, Aries Lewis, Alexandra Mask, Stefon Nelson, Kassidy Rigby, Dorian Ronquillo-Jocom, Braydon Sanders, Kalen Scott, Kiana Smith, Eric Soto, Taryn Story, Luke Stroschein, Kimberly Vega Sanchez

Grand Canyon University Merit Scholarships:
Jonathan Aguilar, Kayla Boich, Destinee Chavis, Imari Cornick,Hunter Crawford-Finn, James Cutajar, Bailey Davis, Alexia Esquivel, Mackenzie Ford, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Chantel Holguin, Morgan Lee, Kjirsten Lemon, Keith Malouff, Zachary March, Essence McAfee, James McGalliard, Emma Lee Morano, Hannah Panter, Joseph Rice, Nikki Watson

NAU Merit Scholarships:
Jose Arroyo Toledo, Kolby Bowen, Cameryn Buck, Lexie Bunn, Aleyna Call, Chandler Chang, Destinee Chavis, Shannon Coutre, Jeremy Coyle, Hunter Crawford-Finn, Madison Creamer, Bailey Davis, Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Kourtney Erick, Brian Forkum, Isaiah French, Tanesha Joan Freytes Colon, Antonio Gonzales, Ana Hoopes, John Aidan Jaeger, Thomas Keel, Vincent Latona, Haley Martinez, James McGalliard, Jake Meyer, Lyn Muriuki, Yanishka Quinones, Rebekah Riggs, Deon Robinson, Braydon Sanders, Lillian Shakespeare Largo, Kiana Smith, Ashley Tuke, Kimberly Vega Sanchez, Rachael Zavitka

U of A Merit Scholarships:
Kolby Bowen, Chandler Chang, Shannon Coutre, Jeremy Coyl, Kourtney Erick, Alexia Esquivel, Alexis Jackson, Hayley Mase, Emma Lee Morano, Alexander Odell, Connor Paine, Hannah Panter, Alayja Reynolds, Rebekah Riggs, Dorian Ronquillo-Jocom, Eric Soto, Rachael Zavitka

Central Arizona College Merit Scholarships:
Laura Azzolini, Jennifer Bailin, Kolby Bowen, Jacquelyn Bui, Chandler Chang, Alyssa Coleman, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Madison Creamer, Aidyn Curtis, Bailey Davis, Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Alexia Esquivel, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Jesus Gomez, David Henderson, Briley Hoffman, Ana Hoopes, Alexis Jackson, Vincent Latona, Kjirsten Lemon, Marisa Lopez, Bianca Luna, Hayley Mase, Alexandra Mask, Emma Lee Morano, Skylar Nelson, Jennifer Nguyen, Connor Paine, Hannah Panter, Alayjah Reynolds, Rebekah Riggs, Braydon Sanders, Eric Soto, Taryn Story, Luke Stroschein, Ashley Tuke, Ciara Valenzuela, Nathan Wallin

Individual Awards:
Jonathan Aguilar – Park University
Evelyn Bates – American Musical and Drama Academy
Kayla Boich – Winona State University track and field
Lexi Bunn – Seattle University
Emahni Burns – Nevada State and University of Las Vegas
Jacob Cowing – University of Texas, El Paso athletics
Alana Daniels – Johnson and Wales University, Careers through Culinary Arts, American Culinary Federation award
Autumn Fausz – Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry Scholarship
Mackenzie Ford – Dixie State western undergraduate exchange
Brian Forkum – University of Minnesota, Fort Lewis College
Emily Goncalves – American, PEO, Aspiring Women Leaders and Summer Workshop, Cottey College
Evan Grace – Desert Financial, Cesar Chavez Memorial, United Nations National Community Service award, ASU Michaels Scholarship
Alexia Griego – Benedictine University, St. Benedict award
Daisy Guzman – Scottsdale Community College athletics, Mometric scholarship
Jaime Hernandez – Gateway Community College athletics
Dauvian Jackson – Southern Virginia University academics
Bakari Jackson – Clark Universtiy, Arizona Christian University, Southwestern College
Thomas Keel – Western New Mexico University
Dreama King – Chancellor and Women of Excellence, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Isaiah Hawkins – Crown College
Andres Martinez – University of Advancing Technology
Abe Nadelen – University of Advancing Technology
Stefon Nelson – South Dakota School of Mines
Alex Odell – William Woods University
Connor Paine – Case Western University, Southern Methodist University
Braydon Sanders – Cornell College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Illinois Institute of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, Penn State, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of Tampa, Coe College, Colorado School of Mines, Utah State University
Lillian Shakespeare-Largo – Caesar Chavez Memorial
David Skelton – Northland Pioneer College
Taryn Story – American Musical and Drama Academy
Ethan Strait – Bowling scholarships
Logan Taylor – Colorado State University, Benedictine University, Tabor College, Cisco College

Community Awards:
Flinn Scholarship – Chandler Chang
Rotary International Student of the Month – Jonathan Aguilar, Chandler Chang, Katelyn Dayley, Tyler Griego, Briley Hoffman, Briana McVey, Jennifer Nguyen, Nathan Wallin
Rotary International SOTM Scholarships – Jonathan Aguilar, Katelyn Dayley, Nathan Wallin
Rotary Interact Club Service Recognition – Katelyn Dayley, Nancy Saldana, Dauvian Jackson, Chet Mooney, Jennifer Bailin, Blesha Romo
Friends of the Maricopa Public Library – Evan Grace, Lillian Shakespeare-Largo
Maricopa Trailblazers 4-H – Emily Goncalves, Alex Odell
Pinal County Federal Credit Union – Amy Beeman
Maricopa City Youth Council – Katelyn Dayley, Nancy Saldana
Maricopa Blue Star Mothers Excellence in Service – Evan Grace
Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award – Mahonri Santos
2018 Girls State Delegates – Alexis Jackson, Briana McVey
U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Recognition – Braydon Sanders
U.S. Marine Corps Outstanding Musician – Jose Arroyo Toledo
U.S. Marine Corps Athlete Awards – Thomas Keel, Blesha Romo

Military enlistment:
Arizona Army National Guard – Mario Gastelum, Dreama King, Jakob March
U.S. Army – Joseph Baca, Greg Crabajales, Alex Lopez, Mahonri Santos
U.S. Air Force – Elijah Baxter, Michael Hildick
U.S. Marine Corps – Terrill Blunt, Jeremy Coyle, Andrew Mase, Daniel Rojas
U.S. Navy – Fox Cottrell, Faith Jirsa, Janae Johnson, Taylor Nanstiel, Willow Starek

Athletic Awards:
Female Athlete of the Year – Mackenzie Ford
Male Athlete of the Year – Jacob Cowing
Female Academic Athlete of the Year – Hayley Mase
Male Academic Athlete of the Year – Connor Paine
Outstanding Senior Girls’ Soccer – Shannon Coutre
Outstanding Senior Boys’ Soccer – Nick Perez, Jaime Hernandez, Chris Mendez
Outstanding Senior Softball – Daisy Guzman, Chantel Holguin
Outstanding Senior Football – Jacob Cowing, Tylen Coleman, Stefon Nelson, Logan Taylor, Thomas “Trey” Keel, Isaiah Hawkins
Krystin “P-nut” Diehl Memorial Scholarship – Daisy Guzman

MHS Awards and Honors
AP Studio Art Portfolio – Chloe Keyack, Essence McAfee, Lyn Muriuki, Kassidy Rigby, Kiana Smith, Toni Zepeda
SkillsUSA – Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Tyler Griego, Vincent Latona, Braydon Sanders, Ethan Strait, Brandon Watson
Journalism – Amy Beeman, Madison Creamer, Ana Hoopes, Sarah Skrnich
Link Crew – Jonathan Aguilar, Alondra Araujo, Grace Becking, Amy Beeman, Miranda Cason, Rubby Chavez, Anneliese Coleman, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Simon Crawford, Katelyn Dayley, Katrina Eldridge, Emily Goncalves, Alexia Griego, Jamie Hall, Kassidy Hamlett, Chantel Holguin, John Aidan Jaeger, Kyler Jonas, Hailey Martinez, Alexandra Mask, Briana McVey, Daisy Mercado, Asa Miller, Chet Mooney, Jennifer Nguyen, Ashton Nuzum, Hannah Panter, Sophia Pineira, Edwin Romero, Alicia Rubio Perez, Rachael Zavitka
Student Council – A’Janae Avington, Italy Brookshire, Dalia Cisneros Connell, Anneliese Coleman, Bailey Davis, Mackenzie Ford, Alexis Jackson, John Aidan Jaeger, Chet Mooney, Jennifer Nguyen

National Honor Society:
Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Hunter Crawford-Finn, Madison Creamer, Aidyn Curtis, Bailey Davis, Alexia Esquivel, Brian Forkum, Briley Hoffman, Tanesha Joan Freytes, Emily Goncalves, Alexis Jackson, Vincent Latona, Alexandra Mask, Emma Morano, Jennifer Nguyen, Alex Odell, Connor Paine, Rebekah Riggs, Lilian Shakespeare-Largo, Taryn Story, Luke Stroschein, Ashley Tuke, Kimberly Vega-Sanchez

Department Honors:
Career and Technical Education Student of the Year – Alex Odell (Air Force JROTC), Elijah Baxter (Automotive Technologies), Brandon Watson (Computer Maintenance), Alana Daniels (Culinary Arts), Katelyn Dayley (Graphic Design), Jacquelyn Cooter (Marketing), Vincent Latona (Networking), Dominique Cannon (Sports Medicine), Jennifer Nguyen (Technical Theater)
Fine Arts Student of the Year – Kassidy Rigby (studio artist), Giselle Sanchez (dance performer), Antonio Gonzales (drama), Chandler Chang (John Philip Sousa Band Award), Isaiah French (National School Orchestra Award)
Academic Student of the Year – Amy Beeman (English Language Arts), Chandler Chang (Mathematics), Tanesha Joan Freytes (Spanish), Lucas Dial (German), Alayja Reynolds (Science), Briley Hoffman (Social Studies)
Ram Academy Attitude, Attendance and Achievement – Elias Rubio
Advanced Placement Student of the Year – Emma Morano
Perfect Attendance – Alden Cacpal, Nathaniel Hughes, Madison Maldonado

Honor Roll – Jonathan Aguilar, Isaac Barrett, Amy Beeman, Kelsey Blatz, Lexie Bunn, Yazmin Calleros, Destinee Chavis, Jacquelyn Cooter, Imari Cornick, Fox Cottrell, Hunter Crawford-Finn, Broderik DiPasquale, Devin Fiala, Tanesha Joan Freytes, Tanesha Lee Freytes, Jason Garcia, Daisy Guzman, Hannah Heinrich, Danika Jacobsen, John Aidan Jaeger, Jaquan Joubert, Tyler Kerley, Dreama King, Jordan Lincoln, Bethany Lopez, Keith Malouff, Essence McAfee, Chet Mooney, Taylor Nanstiel, Ashton Nuzum, Yasmin Ortiz, Nicholas Perez, Sophia Pineira, Kassidy Rigby, Jasmine Rios, Deon Robinson, Dorian Ronquillo-Jocom, Alicia Rubio Perez, Kalen Scott, Mohamad Sibai Franco, David Skelton, Trevor Thompson, Niki Watson, Rachael Zavitka

Academic Achievement – Jose Arroyo Toledo, Kayla Boich, Elise Brown Thunder, Jeremy Coyle, Hannah Crean, James Cutajar, Alana Daniels, Kourtney Erick, Isaiah French, Emily Goncalves, Quenten Gordon, Jaime Hernandez, Keilani Hlebasko, Dauvian Jackson, Aries Lewis, Haley Martinez, Jake Meyer, Lyn Muriuki, Stefon Nelson, Blesh Romo, Sarah Skrnich, Luke Stroschein, Kimberly Vega-Sanchez

Academic Excellence – Laura Azzolini, Jennifer Bailin, Kolby Bowen, Angelo Bravo, Cameryn Buck, Jacquelyn Bui, Chandler Chang, Alyssa Coleman, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Madison Creamer, Aidyn Curtis, Bailey Davis, Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Alexia Esquivel, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Jesus Gomez, Antonio Gonzales, Gabriela Gutierrez, Kassidy Hamlett, David Henderson, Briley Hoffman, Ana Hoopes, Alexis Jackson, Vincent Latona, Kjirsten Lemon, Marisa Lopez, Bianca Luna, Hayley Mase, Alexandra Mask, Julia Mazurek, Emma Lee Morano, Skylar Nelson, Jennifer Nguyen, Cierra Norman, Alexander Odell, David Onquit, Connor Paine, Hannah Panter, Alayja Reynolds, Rebekah Riggs, Braydon Sanders, Lillian Shakespeare-Largo, Eric Soto, Taryn Story, Ashley Tuke, Ciara Valenzuela, Nathan Wallin

AP Scholars:
AP Scholar – Logan Nordhoff
AP Scholar with Honor – Chandler Chang

National Merit Scholarship
Commended – Chandler Chang

Maricopa Pantry is hosting a Family Fun Day on Saturday. Photo by Victor Moreno

By Michelle Trujillo

Maricopa Pantry, a local nonprofit food bank, will throw its inaugural “Family Fun Day” this weekend.

Music, a bounce house, dunk tank, food and beverages, as well as vendor tables will be available to attendees to peruse on Saturday, May 11, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event, sponsored by Mountain View Community Church, will take place at the church located a few miles southwest of Maricopa at 50881 W. Papago Road.

Jim Shoaf has operated the food bank since 2016 and said money raised at the event will help volunteers provide more food to the community. Funds raised will also help the organization begin a maintenance schedule on the food bank’s equipment and assist in getting refrigeration units running.

Maricopa Pantry provides not only food to local families in need, Shoaf said, but other commodities and essential needs.

“We do what we do because of our love for God and mankind,” Shoaf added.

The food bank operates most Saturdays at the church and at the Maricopa Unified School District Administration Building, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

For food bank schedule updates, like the Maricopa Pantry Facebook Page.

Jiselle Diaz, 17, has been singing for public events since age 9 and will represent the city of Maricopa in the Miss Arizona Outstanding Teen pageant. Photo by Kyle Norby

By Fran Lyons

Jiselle Diaz is her name.

She is 17 years old and has already made herself known locally through her musical talent, community service and vision for the world to become a kinder place to live. She has her sights set on making this vision a reality.

It all began in Maricopa, said Diaz, a Rancho El Dorado resident.

“I have to credit my hometown; it’s where my music career began,” she said. “The many community performances I have done in my town have shaped me and given me the experience I have today.”

Her first performance, at age 9, was singing the National Anthem for a Veterans Day event at Legacy School. Since then, Jiselle has captured audiences with her voice at many local and regional events.

As a naturally gifted singer and musician, her performances are filled with energy and love for her music. Her affinity for Selena is palpable, but she’s just as comfortable singing American standards. Family folklore has it that Linda Ronstadt is a distant cousin. Jiselle attributes her musical success to her supportive coaches and family.

“We just knew there was something about Jiselle,” Jeff Diaz said about his daughter. “She was a star from the day she was born. When she was 4 years old she started singing, and we recognized she really had some pipes.”

Jiselle Diaz performing at Maricopa’s Great American 4th.

In 2016, she won her first pageant at the age of 14. She was crowned Miss Pinal County Outstanding Teen. In 2018, she won her second pageant, Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen. This June, she will compete at the Miss Arizona event and, if she wins, represent Arizona in the Miss America Outstanding Teen scholarship program.

“Being in pageants has taught me how to be well-rounded, perseverant and determined,” she said. “I learned how to work hard and be resilient. I have grown and continue to grow immensely, motivated by passion, drive and a strong work ethic.”

Behind the scenes, however, there is much more than pageant life for this multi-faceted young woman. While beauty, talent, poise and intelligence shine through her personality and spirit, she is preparing to do the work she feels called to do. That is the work of service.

Jiselle Diaz in full Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen regalia. Photo by Kyle Norby

Establishing a career in music, Diaz aspires to become a recording artist in the Christian, country or Spanish genres. In tandem, she is also developing her platform evolving from “Be the Lighthouse.” It is called “The Three Pillars – Leadership, Service, Kindness.”

“I also love applying the idea of ‘act locally, think globally,’” she said.

Her platform through high school has been mentoring other teens to feel empowered when dealing with peer pressure. She has worked with Girl Scouts and Be Awesome Youth Coalition.

“Our home is filled with love and acceptance for each other and creativity. We, as parents, aim to instill the core values of commitment and integrity in our children,” mom Alexandra Diaz said. “We have poured our love and dedication into Jiselle and her brother, Jacob.”

Family life and faith are foundational elements for Jiselle and anchor her positive attitude and empowered action in the community.

“Obviously, my parents are my primary role models,” Diaz said, “and Maricopa will always be my hometown.”

She plans to compete in the Be Awesome Talent Show scheduled for June 1. She is also planning a video about Maricopa’s history and how the community is growing by leaps and bounds.

After graduation Jiselle plans to attend Grand Canyon University majoring in Worship Arts. She wants to become a worship leader at her church. Of course, her music will accompany her faithfully wherever she goes.

This story appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Kyle Norby

Eddie Money. Submitted photo

: Eddie Money and Starship
When: May 26, showtime 6 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m.
Where: The Events Center at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino
How much: Starting at $44.50
Ages: All

Eddie Money and Starship, featuring Mickey Thomas, will be bringing their iconic sounds to the Events Center at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino for one can’t-miss event on Sunday, May 26. The Events Center, which opened in early 2019, seats 2,000 people and is part of the Casino’s multi-million dollar renovation.

Money (born Edward Joseph Mahoney) burst onto the scene with his eponymous debut album in 1977. Fans immediately fell in love with Money’s sound, and the album, which went double platinum, featured hits like “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.”

His talents have earned him spots on multiple lists, including the Billboard Top 100 for “Take Me Home Tonight,” the Top 40 for “Walk on Water” and Top 10 for “I’ll Get By,” in addition to winning him multiple platinum awards. Money’s award-winning combination of rock and pop is made possible by his ability to play multiple instruments, including the saxophone, harmonica, keyboard and guitar.

Starship, featuring Mickey Thomas, has been entertaining fans for more than two decades. The rockers are best known for various No. 1 hits, including “We Built This City” and “Sara.” Although the band has switched out multiple members over the years, they have maintained their iconic sound, which has won them spots on the Billboard Hot 100 in addition to platinum awards. With Mickey Thomas, the band has continued to release singles in recent years, including “Get Out Again” and “My Woman.”


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Photo by Jim Headley

The most expensive home sold in Maricopa from March 16 through April 15 was a lakeside, two-story home that is just 6 years old. It sold for $42,000 more than its previous sale price in 2014. With five bedrooms and a three-car garage, its original asking price was $349,900. It was on the market more than three months.

  1. 40946 W. Desert Fairways Drive, The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado

Sold: March 27
Purchase price: $342,000
Square footage: 3,656
Price per square foot: $93.54
Days on market: 95
Builder: Unknown
Year built: 2013
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4
Community: The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado
Features: Easy access to fishing lake, oversized kitchen, full master suite, upstairs loft, granite countertops
Listing Agent: Kelly Cook, Keller Williams Arizona Realty
Selling Agent: Ninos Lazar, Investar Real Estate Specialist

  1. 43995 W. Adobe Circle, Cobblestone Farms ………………………… $325,000
  2. 20450 N. Lauren Road, Homestead North ……………………………. $305,000
  3. 40840 W. Wade Drive, The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado ………… $305,000
  4. 19343 N. Ventana Lane, Glennwilde …………………………………….. $303,000

    This item appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.