Tags Articles tagged with "MHS"


by -
Vinnie Latona (left) with MHS instructor Brad Chamberlain.

A career and technical student who graduated from Maricopa High School in May won one of the nation’s highest awards at the 2019 SkillsUSA Championships, held in Louisville, Kentucky, June 26-27.

Vinnie Latona was awarded the high school gold medal in Internetworking. Learn more about Vinnie and top-10 finisher Braydon Sanders, also from Maricopa, in the upcoming August issue of InMaricopa magazine. Both are heading to college after thriving in Brad Chamberlain’s MHS Cisco Academy.

More than 6,500 students competed at the national showcase of career and technical education. The SkillsUSA Championships is the largest skill competition in the world and covers 1.4 million square feet, equivalent to 20 football fields or 25 acres.

Participants earned places in the national competition by winning their categories in state championships. Students demonstrated their technical skills, workplace skills and personal skills in 103 hands-on competitions including robotics, automotive technology, drafting, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking. Industry leaders from 600 businesses, corporations, trade associations and unions planned and evaluated the contestants against their standards for entry-level workers.

More than 1,100 industry judges and technical committee members participated this year. A total of 1,122 gold, silver and bronze medals were presented to students.

Rams carry in items collected earlier this year for the Family Advocacy Center. Photo by Kyle Norby

The Maricopa High School football team delivered items collected during a May 18 Soap Scrimmage to the Maricopa Family Advocacy Center on Thursday. Several players and head coach Brandon Harris carried in toiletry and food items, which were the admission fee to the scrimmage, and then received a tour of the facility. Maricopa FAC is a new facility for victims of assault, abuse and domestic violence to receive initial treatment and speak to law enforcement in a safe environment.

by -
Jacob Keel, MHS junior, fields the ball at 1st base while David Pankenier checks the speed of the oncoming throw. Photo by Victor Moreno

Monday night, the Maricopa High School baseball team was the beneficiary of a local MLB scout and college recruiter, Maricopa resident David Pankenier.

Pankenier worked with the boys playing summer baseball, after accepting the invitation of new MHS baseball head coach Brad Vericker. The athletes participating spanned grades 7-12.

During the session, Pankenier recorded measurements and statistics related to athleticism testing, defensive testing by position, hitting assessment and a pitching assessment. He recorded the data to assimilate and provide athletes and parents results for each player, so they have quantifiable measurements to see how the athlete compares to athletes being recruited to play at the next level – college and beyond.

“The drills were cool because he can measure the velocity when we throw the ball from the outfield to the plate, and for pitching he can provide a lot of good info – more than just the mph,” said Jackson Lindseth, MHS senior.

Pankenier has a lengthy resume in the baseball world. He is currently the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. He is also a professional scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Scouting Career
2002-present: Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks
2004 co-coordinator for the Northern League Tryouts & Draft
2005 Graduate from Major League Baseball Scout School
2012-present: West Coast Scout Prospect Wire Baseball

David Parks, MHS sophomore, throws to first after fielding a ball to measure accuracy and velocity of throw. Photo by Victor Moreno


Modular buildings wait in the sun in the parking lot at Maricopa High School to be used as overflow classrooms in the coming school year. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

With the excessive heat advisory ending tonight, the weekend outlook for Maricopa still includes triple digits and lot and lots of sun, according to the National Weather Service.

Today is partly sunny and hot with an expected high of 113 and winds reaching 15 mph. Tonight will likely be mostly cloudy with gradual clearing and a low around 71. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph.

Friday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 105 and continued breezy conditions. The nighttime low will be around 69.

Saturday is expected to be sunny with a high near 104. The overnight low will be around 71.

Sunday is also likely to be sunny with a high near 105. The night temperature will drop to around 70.

The pattern will continue into next week with daily temps expected in the low 100s.


Autumn Fausz. Submitted photo

By Bernadette Russoniello

Maricopa High School seniors received honors and recognition for academic, athletic and private scholarships totaling more than $8 million at the May 7 Senior Honors Night. Autumn Fausz, like many other 2019 graduates, earned a full-ride, university scholarship.

Fausz graduated as an AFJROTC cadet and leader. She has been a JROTC cadet since her freshman year, following in the footsteps of her father and brother. She will attend Northern Arizona University pursuing a major in criminology/forensic science with a minor in forestry. Her career goals involve working as a Game and Fish Warden or a national park ranger, “anything where I’m out in the woods.” Fausz grew up in wooded areas of North Carolina and fell in love with the forest.

Fausz moved to Maricopa mid-sophomore year to be closer to extended family after losing her father Wayne Fausz in a car accident. U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Wayne Fausz led the Wolf Pack battalion of the 82nd Airborne. The Fausz family was involved in a head-on collision caused by a sleeping driver. Her father passed away in flight to the hospital; Autumn and her brother were also critically injured in the crash.

The Marine Gunnery Sgt. John David Fry Scholarship provides post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to children and surviving spouses of service members who died in the line of duty or while on active duty after Sept.10, 2001. Autumn learned of the scholarship through her mother and applied early this fall. The scholarship covers the full cost of attendance at any U.S. university. Autumn selected NAU.

Fausz was also recognized at the AFJROTC Awards Ceremony for the Bri Barnes Community Service Scholarship presented by Jim and Alice Shoaf of the Maricopa Pantry. The award honors the AFJROTC cadet who made the biggest impact and commitment to community service. Autumn was selected because she leads the Community Service team for AFJROTC and led the community-wide canned food drive for the Maricopa Pantry. Additionally, Autumn frequently volunteers at Feed My Starving Children to pack food boxes for children in need.

Although Fausz and her family have been through a lot over the past nine years, she attests “we are definitely stronger from the experience.” She expresses gratitude to her parents, Natasha Faust and Gary Hysop, for the support and love they provide, for always pushing her to do her best. “Although no one can replace my dad, I never imagined someone could fill that role in my life, to be a father figure.”

Fausz is ready for adulthood, ready to move forward, and looking forward to her life at Northern Arizona University.

Bernadette Russoniello is the career and college coordinator at Maricopa High School.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

by -
Chandler Chang, May 23, 2019, Maricopa High School.

Maricopa High School graduate Chandler Chang delivered this valedictorian address to the Class of 2019 during graduation May 23. A Flinn Scholarship recipient, he has lived in Maricopa 14 years.

By Chandler Chang

Hello, Class of 2019. It is my absolute honor to be speaking here tonight to such a talented group of individuals.

I’m valedictorian and I don’t know how to drive, I’m so bad at cooking I’ll burn water, and I wrote this speech at midnight the day after I was supposed to submit it. If grades were an absolute indicator of success and potential, none of that should be true!

My name is Chandler Chang, but if you only know me from the media, then you might know me as Chandler “Change.” I’ve even received college letters with the same error. Yes, that’s a typo, please don’t make it again.

Before I go any further, I would like to thank everyone whose support made tonight possible. I would personally like to thank my family, friends and teachers for inspiring me to achieve the success I have found myself in today. On behalf of the class of 2019, I would like to thank all parents, teachers, staff, administration, school board members. Your support has empowered us to become the determined young men and women we are now. I’m sure it wasn’t easy putting up with us for four years, or if you’re the parents, a mild seventeen to eighteen years.

Preparing this speech has been a harrowing task. Just a few weeks ago I had no idea what I wanted to say, so I looked to my fellow Flinn Scholars for advice. Actually, allow me to rephrase that. I was desperate for ideas because my speech had to be submitted the next day, so I spammed our group chat. Anyways, here’s what they had to say. Keep in mind these are supposedly the brightest minds in the state.

“Just say ‘peace out y’all’ and sit down.” Too late for that. Someone suggested to “spill everyone’s tea.” I’ve been informed that it means to reveal everyone’s secrets. And lastly, “chug a bottle of apple cider and shout ‘Feel the Burn 2020!’” I’m not even going to pretend like I considered that one.

So, I’m back at square one, and when I reflected on our high school experience and the struggles we have all shared, I found the message I need you all to hear. High school has emphasized the importance of your grades, about presenting colleges this nice three-course meal of grades, test scores and, if they like dessert, extracurricular activities. Our teachers constantly encourage us to avoid this perspective that your grade is a measure of your success, but societal pressures always seem to prevail. It emphasizes grades so much that we pull all-nighters to study for a test or outright skip school to avoid taking the test. It promotes the idea that your grades are a measure of your worth.


Your high school transcript only tells 10 percent of your story, if that. It doesn’t mention that while you were in school you were working two jobs and trying to support your family financially. It doesn’t mention that you have hundreds of volunteer hours at food banks, local churches or rescue shelters. It doesn’t mention that you’re an amazing, kindhearted person with a contagious smile – Dauvian I’m looking at you! Those kinds of things define who you are, your character, not a test score and not a column of letters on a page.

It’s a grim reality that society values that test score and column of letters more than those things. I think the system of awarding scholarships based exclusively on GPA, SAT scores and ACT scores is flawed, but colleges nationwide promote this. Even when such a system tells you otherwise, I urge you all to remember that your grades are not your labels.

I’m valedictorian and I don’t know how to drive, I’m so bad at cooking I’ll burn water, and I wrote this speech at midnight the day after I was supposed to submit it. If grades were an absolute indicator of success and potential, none of that should be true!

I know this advice might come across as condescending coming from the valedictorian, Flinn Scholar, etc., and I don’t want it to. If you feel that way, that means my message hasn’t reached you yet. At the end of the day, I’m someone who enjoys the company of his friends, someone who wants a well-paid and fulfilling job, but doesn’t have the clearest idea of how to obtain that; someone who wants happiness, someone who gets absolutely stressed out over testing and public events such as tonight. I just happen to do well in a classroom setting, and if you don’t, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you put forth your best effort.

I’m not here to devalue the concept of grades. If good grades and a college education are what you need to be successful, then absolutely go for it. I encourage you to do so. That being said, that can’t show every amazing quality you have. To those of us who are not college-bound, I’m sure we envy that you have a plan for life that doesn’t involve another four years of this, but now with massive student loan debt. To those of us that are college-bound, take what I said to heart, and remember, C’s get degrees! I mean, you are not defined by your grades.

Congratulations Class of 2019! I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

This address appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Jonathan Pulver had a close call but worked hard to graduate with his classmates. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Sprinkled among the hundreds of Maricopa High School students who graduated May 23 were those who completed their coursework through the school’s Ram Academy.

This was the second full year for the credit-recovery program.

I worked and worked and worked.

“If it hadn’t been for Ram Academy, my son wouldn’t have graduated,” Ray Pulver said.

Students have various reasons for falling behind on their school credits. For Jonathan Pulver, 17, it was a matter of transfer. He had attended district and charter schools growing up and spent his freshman year and half of his sophomore year in homeschool. He enrolled in MHS mid-year, but the homeschool credits did not transfer.

His grade point average had been 3.5 as a sophomore and 3.0 as a junior, but his credits still trailed.

After his junior year, it became clear he was 13.5 credits behind his classmates, the equivalent of a year and a half, which seemed almost insurmountable at the time. When other options failed, his best chance of graduating with his friends appeared to be Ram Academy.

“I was not happy to be there,” Jonathan Pulver said. “Then I realized I could get through classes pretty quickly. I finished my first class in two weeks.”

“Jonathan completed not only his senior year at Ram Academy but also made up his freshman and sophomore year credits all in one year,” Ray Pulver said.

An Eagle scout who is the oldest of five Pulver children, he completed 24 classes through Ram Academy and three more through Brigham Young University Independent Studies. Without the BYU classes, he still would have been short of credits. He said he completed his final course the day before graduation.

It took a combined effort of teachers and parents to keep him motivated.

“I worked and worked and worked,” Jonathan said. “The teachers were great. They would tell me, ‘You can do it,’ and ‘Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.’”

A typical day was spending 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. working on online classes at home and 2-8 p.m. on campus. When he lost focus and discipline, teachers and Assistant Principal Steve Ybarra were there to clamp down.

“I have great teachers at the Ram Academy who are seasoned, connect with students and care about them as individuals,” Ybarra said. “I have an assistant who treats the students as her own children, and we hold them accountable, we place them on contracts as needed but allow them to earn back any freedoms they have lost.”

Jonathan Pulver said there was some knowledge overlap from homeschool classes in biology and some math that aided his crusade. His mother Rachel helped at home, and his father helped with math classes after work.

Another chance to get on track is a motivating factor for many Ram Academy students.

“Some have left us, but many times they return to allow us to guide and help them get their high school diplomas,” Ybarra said.

Pulver found students got out of Ram Academy what they put into it.

“I like the teachers because if I respected them I would get respect back,” he said.

Superintendent Tracey Lopeman said the credit-recovery program is part of MUSD’s options “offering multiple paths to graduation” for those struggling in traditional school settings.

“The flexibility of Ram Academy offers non-traditional learners the options and support they need to earn their diplomas,” Lopeman said. “It is truly a second chance at a bright future, and I’m thrilled with the program’s success.”

For Pulver, who turns 18 in July, that diploma put him right back on track with his future. The grandson of a dentist, he said he intends to study dentistry at BYU-Idaho after serving a mission for his church.

“We thank Ram Academy for making it possible,” his father said.


by -

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

by -
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 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.

by -

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.

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 brussoniello@musd20.org.

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 Scholarships.com – 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.

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

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.

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

by -
Doug Moulton (left) and Antonio Gonzales are both finalists in this year's ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa students are among the honorees at the statewide High School Musical Theatre Awards, to be presented May 25 at 7 p.m. at ASU Gammage.

Taryn Story

Nominated finalists from Maricopa High School’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” include Antonio Gonzales as best male lead, Douglas Moulton as best supporting male, Taryn Story as best dancer and MHS Tech Theatre for best sound and best sets/props.

Gonzales, a senior who played Tevye in the production, is also a state officer for the Arizona Chapter of the International Thespian Society. Moulton, a junior, played Lazar Wolf and is also a choir member. Story, a senior, is a Theatre Company cabinet member and a member of the National Honor Society. The musical was under the direction of instructor Alexandra Stahl. Kevin Piquette leads tech theatre.

Judges watched nominated fall and spring musical productions across Arizona to decide the finalists.

Awards night includes nominated performances of musical numbers or medleys by the state’s best high school theater departments. Winners of best male lead and best female lead earn a trip to New York City for the national Jimmy Awards.

Previous MHS students have claimed prizes at the ASU Gammage awards, including best male vocalist (Carlos O. Venegas) and best supporting male (Nikolas Mase).

MHS Tech Theatre was nominated for the sets/props.

MUSD dance students perform May 10 and May 11.

Think you can dance? These kids can.

What: MHS Dance Show
When: May 10-11, 7 p.m.
Where: MHS Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: $7/adults, $5/students, children and seniors 65+
Info: 520-568-8100

Maricopa High School dance students present their spring dance recital May 10-11.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” contains 31 pieces, with 23 of the numbers choreographed by students. Like the children’s book series, dance director Alexandra Biggs has allowed them complete artistic freedom in their choice of songs, costumes and genres.

“It’s been amazing as a director to watch them work and explore their artistic voices,” she said. “They’ve been working so hard, and I am beyond proud of them.”

The student choreographers are mainly members of the school’s Dance Performance Company, with five from Biggs’ Intermediate Dance 2 class.

“We have everything from jazz, contemporary, modern, hip-hop, musical theater and ballet included in this year’s show,” Biggs said. “New to this show are several solo pieces, which are being performed and choreographed by the students. We also have brand new costumes for all of our large class pieces.”

The box office opens at 6 p.m., and showtime is 7 p.m. The shows are often sellouts.

Senior Tylen Coleman was the first surprise for Maricopa High School at the state championships with a record-setting discus throw Saturday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Two unexpected finishes put gold medals in the hands of two Maricopa High School athletes while a third won silver and bronze at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division II Track & Field Championships Saturday in Mesa.

Senior Tylen Riley-Coleman, who had already been on the medal stand earlier in the week with a fourth-place finish in shot put, pulled off a massive upset in the discus. His second-flight throw of 172-08 was more than 20 feet farther than his previous best of 150-09 and more than three inches farther than his closest competitor in the finals.

“I don’t know where that came from,” said Coleman, who had yelled in elation after hearing the measurement. “I’m just blessed.”

In the first round of competition Saturday, he had been more than thrilled with a throw of 163 feet, which came between two fouled attempts. But the second-round throw catapulted him to the top of the medal stand, an unfamiliar position for the football star.

“I don’t know what to do with myself,” he said.

Even in practice, he said, he had not gone beyond 150 feet with the discus. In fact, shot put has usually been his stronger event. Parker Bays of Ironwood Ridge had been a heavy favorite but finished third.

By scoring a personal best in the discus, Coleman set another school record. He also holds the MHS record in shot at 52-9.

At any other time, MHS senior Logan Taylor’s result in the hurdling events would not have been surprising, but Saturday was not like any other time.

Taylor, the school record-holder in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, had finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in those events in last season’s state championships. His goal was gold this year.

That seemed to get scuttled this week when he opened a gash on his right knee that required 20 stitches. His family and head coach Corey Nelson left it to him to decide if he would compete in the state meet.

Taylor is known for challenging himself and did so again in the 110-meter hurdles, shouting out as he crossed the finish line in front. Main rival Jadon Pearson of Williams Field had crashed out midway through the event and did not finish.

“I wanted to run my best race,” Taylor said. “It was probably going to be the last one, so I wanted to make sure it was good. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

It was also one of his better times, in 14.64, just off his best of 14.56.

The knee, however, did not hold up through his effort in the 300-meter hurdles. Though he leaped out to an early lead, he struggled down the stretch to finish sixth in 41.07 (his top time is 39.09). His father helped him off the ground at the finish line and to the trainer’s tent for treatment.

Meanwhile, MHS’s sprint master Jacob Cowing, who earned gold last year as part of the Rams 4×100-meter relay team, had his hands full with Trayvion White of Sahuaro. In the 100-meter dash finals Saturday, Cowing matched White stride for stride but finished second at 10.78 behind White’s 10.73.

In the 200-meter dash, White, Jacob Samford and Cowing all finished within a fraction of a second. White won in 21.65, while Cowing came third in 21.95. After picking up his medal, he had his right thigh wrapped in ice.

Overall, Maricopa’s boys’ team scored 27 points in the state meet, a top five finish.

The girls’ team did not score points but had two make a good showing Saturday. Senior Kayla Boich was 12th in the high jump finals at 5-00. Sophomore Shakira Gillespie finished 15th in the long jump at 15-10.5.

by -
Chantel Holguin. Photo by Victor Moreno

Seven Maricopa High School softball players were honored in voting for the 5A San Tan all-region team.

Senior Chantel Holguin and sophomore Karyn Meier were named First Team. Holguin batted .554, fifth in the region. She was Top 10 in the region in runs scored with 29 and in slugging percentage at .800. She was second in stolen bases with 13. Meier batted .473, was Top 10 in slugging at .784, runs scored with 27 and in stolen bases with 12. She also had 22 runs batted in.

Sophomore Evone Santiago and junior Kayla Occhiline were named Second Team. Santiago pitched two no-hitters and was third in the San Tan in wins with seven. She was third in strikeouts with 65. Her ERA of 3.57 was also third in the region. Occhiline batted .433. She knocked in 16 runs and scored eight.

Receiving honorable mention were senior Daisy Guzman, junior Kielee Keys-Carillo and junior Kiana Miller-Gomez.

The Rams were 10-12 overall.

by -
Tylen Riley-Coleman. Photo by Victor Moreno


Tylen Riley-Coleman, a senior at Maricopa High School, finished fourth in the shot put finals at the Arizona Interscholastic Association state championships Wednesday.

Coleman threw the shot 50-10.5 against his Division II competition. He also finished 10th in the javelin with a throw of 149-07.

Coleman will compete Saturday in the discus finals.

Other Rams competing in state finals Wednesday were junior Katherine Gores, who finished 11th in the girls’ javelin with a throw of 95-10, junior Steel Lewis, 10th in boys’ pole vault in 11-09, and senior Logan Taylor, 13th in boys’ high jump at 5-10.

Athletes also competed in preliminary heats of several events to earn places in Saturday’s finals.

Jacob Cowing. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Senior Jacob Cowing was third fastest in both the 100-meter dash (10.89) and the 200 (21.93) to qualify for the finals, where he will meet top rival Trayvion White of Sahuaro.

Taylor was sixth-fastest in the boys’ 300-meter hurdles prelims in 40.16 to qualify for the finals. He will also compete in the 110-meter hurdles finals after running 15.58 to finish eighth-fastest.

Other MHS athletes who represented MHS Wednesday at the state meet were Amante Williams, 15th in the boys’ 400-meter dash (51.07), Tayler Riley-Coleman, 23rd in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles (17.28), the girls 4×100-meter relay team (14th in 50.82) and 4×400-meter relay team (12th in 4:13.29).

Saturday, for Maricopa, competition begins at 11:30 a.m. with the boys’ discus throw. Afternoon finals include 110-meter hurdles, 100-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash. The Arizona State Track & Field Championship are at Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Ave.


Student singers from Maricopa Unified School District’s high school and middle schools presented a great display of their talent Tuesday in a vocal concert in the MHS Performing Arts Center. Also on display were the skills of the music teachers in arranging, accompanying and even choreographing. The communal choir of beginners from Desert Wind Middle School was directed by Andrea Jenkins. Tanya Hobt led the Maricopa Wells Middle School choir. Austin Showen directed and arranged most of the songs performed by the strong Maricopa High School choirs. MHS also honored 10 graduating seniors.

Want to hear some great live music? Love to see student performers? Come on out to the MUSD Music-a-Thon V from 3-8 p.m. on May 4.

“The Music-a-Thon is an event we look forward to every year that showcases all the hard work the students put forth,” Tanya Hobt, music director at Maricopa Wells Middle School, said. “We are very fortunate to have such talented students that work tirelessly all year for this event. The music programs in the Maricopa Unified School District continue to grow every year, and we love to perform and share the music with our wonderful community.”

Music-a-Thon is a yearly event that features all of the bands and orchestra from Grades 6-12 in MUSD. This event will feature over 300 students in seven bands and three orchestras, and combined performances from Desert Wind Middle School, Maricopa Wells Middle School, and Maricopa High School.

Roger Wagner, director of instrumental music at Desert Wind Middle School, said, “We are in our fifth year of this event and it has become a must see for music fans and our community. The beauty and power of our students performers in combined Band and Orchestra cannot be matched.”

The conclusion of this year’s concert will be the Maricopa High School Fight Song, Rams Fall in Line, conducted by Maricopa Unified School District’s own superintendent, Dr. Tracey Lopeman.

“We’re excited to show what MUSD Music can do, as well as invite our yearly special guest to see our programs and conduct our students,” said Ivan Pour, director of instrumental music at Maricopa High School.


by -
Blesha Romo was the team leader for MHS tennis this season. Photo by Victor Moreno

Maricopa High School girls’ tennis posted a winning record this season, and senior leader Blesha Romo played her way to the second round of the state championships.

Romo had a 12-1 singles record this season. She was 22-5 overall, playing 14 doubles matches. In Round 1 of the state singles bracket Friday, she defeated Samantha Mendoza of Sunnyside, 7-6 6-3. She lost to the No. 3 seed, Savanna Kollock of Desert Mountain, who went on to today’s title match.

The Rams were 9-5 in team play this season, finishing second in Division I Yuma. They were ranked 34th in Division I.

Junior Breanna Fitch had a 21-7 overall record, including 11-3 in singles. Freshman Molly Auer was 10-10, sophomore Layla Barker was 11-11, and sophomore Kaitlyn Crean was 12-14.

Meanwhile the boys’ team was 3-11 overall. Sophomore Filippo Giacometti was 7-21, and senior Ethan Strait was 9-15. Junior Noah Panter and sophomores Beer Beukers and Hunter Collins were each 6-22. Senior Elijah Baxter was 6-18.


by -

Maricopa High School baseball players were honored in all-region voting for 5A San Tan.

Senior Jose Leyva was named Second Team as a catcher. Leyva batted .276 with 16 hits, eight runs, six runs batted in, a double and a triple. He was also a pitcher and was in the region top 10 in strikeouts with 41. His record was 2-3 with an earned run average of 5.47.

Seniors Nico Bandin, Devin Fiala and Trey Keel and sophomores Jacob Keel, Johnathan Leyva and Isaiah Peters were all named Honorable Mention.

Maricopa finished the season 7-16 (0-10).

Cameron Pehrson of Campo Verde was named Region Player of the Year after leading 5A San Tan in batting average, home runs, RBI, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Casteel’s Matt Perisho was named the San Tan region’s Coach of the Year. Casteel and Campo Verde suffered upsets in the first round of the state championship bracket.

by -
Senior Logan Taylor is one of the premier hurdlers in the state.

As the track & field regular season closes, Maricopa High School senior Jacob Cowing has the fastest time recorded this season for the 200-meter dash in Division II.

He won the event in 21.63 (a school record) Friday at the Southeast Valley Championship in Queen Creek. He also won the 100-meter dash at that meet in a school-record 10.71. That is the second-fastest time reported in the division.

Cowing was also a member of the 4×400-meter relay that finished second in 3:31.45. The relay team includes Spencer Gay, Logan Taylor and Amonte Williams.

Taylor, too, has continued to be a standout with remarkable consistency in his specialty events, the hurdles. His time of 14.51 in the 110-meter hurdles set March 8 in the Becky Matthews Open remains the second-fastest time in the division this year. It was also a school record. Friday, he finished third at Queen Creek in 14.73.

In the 300-meter hurdles, Taylor set another school record April 12 at the Hohokam Invitational, where he placed third in 39.09. He matched that time Friday while finishing second, and it is the second-fastest time recorded this season in Division II.

But there’s more. Taylor added the high jump late in the season. He leaped 6-2 at the Hohokam to finish fourth. That jump is among the top 10 in the division. He finished second on Friday with a jump of 6-0. After mulling college offers, Taylor said he has chosen to attend Brigham Young University to participate in both football and track.

Fellow senior Tylen Riley-Coleman hit a personal best in the shot put April 6 at the Greenway Invitational, where he put the shot 52-9 to win that event and improve on the school record. That is a top-10 distance this season in the division. Friday, he finished second with a throw of 52-2.

Coleman achieved a personal best in the discus at the beginning of the season, throwing 150-9.75 at the Aztec Invite March 2. That is seventh-best in the division all year and a school record. Friday, he finished third with a throw of 146-7. He also took a school record in the javelin back on March 2 with 158-11.

The Maricopa boys’ team finished fifth in the Southeast Valley Championship, the final tune-up for the state championships, which start May 1.

Other Rams with top-10 finishes in Queen Creek were senior Amonte Williams, who was third in the 400-meter run with a personal record 51.17; senior Alec Kramarczyk, who set a personal record in the 1600 meters by finishing ninth in 4:42.78; and junior Steel Lewis, who was ninth in the pole vault at 11-07 (personal record).

Maricopa’s 4×200-meter relay team has the sixth-fastest time this season in Division II after running 1:36.80 in the Hohokam. That team is comprised of Mister Chavis, Roberto Esqueda, Marcus Brown and Abel Rodriquez.

Also Friday at Queen Creek, the Maricopa girls’ team finished eighth in the Southeast Valley Championship. Junior Zanaa Ramirez won the 800-meter run in 2:29.63, a personal record. She was ninth in the 400 meters.

The 4×400 team of Kayla Boich, Shakira Gillespie, Ebony Griffin and Zanaa Ramirez was second in a division top-10 time of 4:12.48. The 4×100 relay team of Destinee Chavis, Boich, Griffin and Gillespie was fifth.

Boich finished second in the high jump at 4-10. Freshman Lauren Grist was sixth with 4-04. Gillespie, a sophomore, was fifth in the long jump with a personal-best 16-04. Junior Rylin Balgaard was eighth in the triple jump at 32-04.

The state meet will be May 1 and May 4 at Mesa Community College. Competition for Division II starts Wednesday at 11 a.m. with field events in the morning and running events in the afternoon. Saturday, all divisions will compete in their respective finals starting at 10:45 a.m.

Maricopa artists invited to participate

The inaugural Art for the Heart Festival is set for May 4 on the Great Lawn at Copper Sky.

If You Go
: Art for the Heart Festival
When: May 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
How much: Free to attend; $60 to exhibit
Info: 520-568-8100, ext. 4136 

Hoping to fill the void left by the dissolution of Art on the Veranda and Maricopa Arts Festival, a Maricopa High School program is coordinating the community art show. Graphic Design teacher Maria Pour said they want to have as many Maricopa artists as possible participating.

The coordination is in the hands of SkillsUSA students. That program mandates they be involved in creating and running a project that benefits a nonprofit, and the usual approach is to host a clothing drive or a food drive.

“But we wanted something that relates to us, to graphics and art,” Pour said.

So, the young organizers are putting their skills to use in ways that have “real-world application,” she said. Art for the Heart invites artists from all media to display and sell their works at the festival. Pour said 75 percent of proceeds will go to the American Heart Association, the rest to cover overhead.

A 10-by-10-foot booth space is $60, and artists can bring their own tables. Painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, textiles and more are welcome from artists of all ages.

MHS had participated in Art on the Veranda, and Pour understood the challenges involved hosting a community art event. She has 15 students helping to staff Art for the Heart, from creating the plan to designing the logo or handing out water.

The additional challenge is participation, both by artists and art-lovers. Previous organizers have provided her with names of area artists, and she also seeks to reach out to Ak-Chin and Gila River artists.

by -
NGE Level 2 national placers (from left): Nathaly Zavala, Geric Kramarczyk, Destinee Chavis, Regan Elsberry, Abigail Poland, McKay Jones, Elizabeth Barba, Lucas Dial, Cobe Nadelen, Drake Cole, Omar Perez, Skylar Nelson and Grace Njue. Submitted photo

Twelve Maricopa High School students earned national honors on the 2019 Level 2 National German Exam (NGE).

Senior Skylar Nelson and sophomore Abigail Poland earned gold medals, scoring in the top 10 percent nationally. Senior Cobe Nadelen and sophomores Geric Kramarczyk and Regan Elsberry earned silver medals, and seniors Drake Cole and Lucas Dial earned bronze medals. Senior Destinee Chavis, junior Grace Njue, and sophomores Elizabeth Barba, Omar Perez, and Nathaly Zavala earned honorable mentions.

“This year’s NGE was more difficult than last year’s, as evidenced by the significantly lower national average score on this year’s exam. Yet, we still had twelve national placers to last year’s eleven in spite of that,” said McKay Jones, German teacher at MHS. “The big news is that we had two national finalists this year, and one of them won a study trip!”

Abigail Poland was awarded an all‐expense‐paid summer study trip to Germany. Abigail was selected as a national winner after scoring in the 97th percentile nationally on the NGE. As a gold medalist, she was eligible to apply for the trip, which included essays in German and English. Students from each state were selected from these applications to be interviewed in German, and candidates were then selected from the interview process to be sent to the national committee of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG).  Abigail was one of forty‐four outstanding German students selected from across the US to receive the award.

The study trip includes round‐trip air transportation to Germany from New York, a homestay in a host family, a two-week international seminar, and excursions to places of cultural and historical significance. The study trip, now in its 60th year, is made possible through a grant from the Federal Republic of Germany.

Another student at MHS, Skylar Nelson, was also a national finalist.

Dr. Simone Seym (University of Arizona), MHS teacher McKay Jones and student Abigail Poland, who received an all‐expense‐paid summer study trip to Germany

by -

Maricopa High School varsity baseball finished a difficult 7-16 season Thursday at home with a 6-3 loss to Gilbert under a full moon. That tapped a nine-game losing streak triggered by struggles at the plate. Nonetheless, despite a bug infestation, the game was a time to celebrate the Rams’ seniors, who threw out the first pitch to their parents to start the game and were further recognized after the game with a special ceremony.

At season’s end junior Austin Rapp’s .367 batting average, garnered in a little more than half of the games on the schedule, led the team. Sophomore Jacob Keel batted .300 and led the team in runs batted in and home runs.

Senior Nico Bandin batted .289 and was the team leader in hits. He also stole four bases. Senior Jose Leyva batted .291, had 16 hits and five RBI. Senior Devin Fiala and sophomore Johnathan Leyva led the team in doubles with six each. Sophomore Isaiah Peters was the team leader in stolen bases with six.

Senior Christian Johnson had the Rams’ best earned run average at 3.37. He also had three saves. Jose Leyva struck out 41 batters, and Trey Keel struck out 20.