A Few Trevor Browne Students are Excused from School in the First Week for a Memory that will Last a lifetime
A few Trevor Browne students are excused from school in the first week for a memory that will last a lifetime. Four Bruin baseball players and coach Deston Cummings will be playing in Major League Baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) World Series in Minnesota. Allen Heguertty, Pablo Hernandez, Leo Sotelo, and Ernesto Heguertty of Browne, will join two players from Alhambra and one from Cesar Chavez, along with Chavez Coach Sergio Acosta. The Phoenix team won the regional, July 22 in California to earn the trip, the second time in two years that a Phoenix team has gone to the World Series. Hosted by the Minnesota Twins, the players will have the opportunity to play at least one game at the Twins’ Target Field. They will also participate in community service projects while in Minnesota.
Trevor Browne was selected as Phoenix Union’s School of the Year for the Arts at the Opening of Schools Convocation
Trevor Browne was selected as Phoenix Union’s School of the Year for the Arts at the Opening of Schools Convocation, July 31. TGB has the largest choir program in the state, with 400 students. Its bands had a terrific year. Marching band had a top ten finish at the Arizona Marching Band State Festival and the jazz band qualified for the Arizona State Jazz competition in April, Outstanding soloist awards were given to three students at the Arizona Band & Orchestra Directors Association Area Jazz Festival. Browne also had the most Phoenix Union students selected for All-Region Band and Choir.
The school has one of the largest Visual Arts departments in the District, with 750 students enrolled for the upcoming year. The theatre department has added a second teacher, and now has a theatre technology CTE class. Dance numbers have increased so much this year that the school is adding a second dance teacher for the first time. Trevor Browne and a sister school were awarded a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, working with a professional dance theatre producing Sister Moses, the Story of Harriet Tubman. The school’s Classroom Teacher of the Year is dance teacher Samantha Brown.
Assistant principal for instruction Stephanie Streeter is the Phoenix Union Administrator of the Year
Assistant principal for instruction Stephanie Streeter is the Phoenix Union Administrator of the Year. She was honored at the July 31 Opening of Schools Convocation. She has been described as the true embodiment of a servant leader by her colleagues. Now in her 10th year with Phoenix Union, one teacher says she is in her “Book of Greats.” She embodies and exudes the passion and knowledge that is necessary to be a great leader. She consistently empowers teachers, staff and students daily to become their best self. Streeter approaches each in-service, meeting, professional development and conference as an opportunity to model professionalism, instructional practices and strategies for her staff. As an evaluator, she helps teachers fine tune their instruction. The many staff members who gladly volunteer their time for her during prep periods, after school and preparing for testing, reciprocate her devotion to the staff. Streeter also displays compassion and is called the “campus healer.” She is the first to deal with a campus tragedy, loss of life or life event with sincerity. She makes hospital visits, attends funerals, weddings and celebrates birthdays. Many of her colleagues in the same positions around the district look to her for knowledge and leadership, according to her principal.
The Academies at South Law Magnet program manager and teacher Matthew Smith is the winner of the 2018 John J. Ross Memorial Award for Excellence in Law-Related Education. The award, created by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, recognizes exceptional contributions of Arizona educators in further understanding the role of law in our democratic society.
According to the foundation, “Smith is continually utilizing law-related education with his students. His unwavering commitment to the Foundation’s Mock Trial program is displayed in his classes’ consistent high placings in regional and state level tournaments.”
Smith has been at South for 15 years, including the last six as Instructional Leader and Program Manager for the Law Magnet. He teaches Government and the Law, The Supreme Court, Business and the Law and Trial Procedures 1-8. Besides mock trial success, South has excelled in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project national competition every year. Over 500 urban high school students participate in the project nationally, studying constitutional law with law-school students and culminating with a moot court competition. South students have had at least one national semi-finalist for 10 years in a row and two national champions in that competition. No other high school in the U.S. can claim that.
The John J. Ross Memorial Fund was created to honor the memory of John J. Ross, a senior partner in the Phoenix law firm of Brown & Bain for more than twenty years. In his memory, the fund’s contributions support awards for teacher excellence in law related education.
South Mountain was named the Special Achievement School of the Year at the Opening of Schools Convocation
South Mountain was named the Special Achievement School of the Year at the Opening of Schools Convocation, for marked improvement in several areas. Its four-year graduation rate jumped almost 10 percent in one year, and over 21 percent in five year to 87.8 percent. Its annual dropout rate dropped to 2.1 percent last year, one of the lowest in the district, a 75 percent drop from the year before, and significantly better than the 8.5 percent five years ago. This school also had the largest enrollment gain from the previous year…124 students, or 6 percent.
The Academies at South opened with its largest freshmen class in years- 669 9th graders were enrolled on the first day. The school features four academies for Science & Technology, Public & Social Service; Aerospace & Engineering and Media, Arts & Design. Construction continues on the campus, creating the four distinct academies, and portable buildings have been brought in to accommodate some of the classrooms while the main classroom building continues renovation. However, the front plaza, which provides a dramatic entrance and curb appeal, has been completed.
George Cardenas was selected Phoenix Union’s 2018 Classroom Teacher of the Year. He teaches science and engineering but always assists students in other classes and activities. He has been with Phoenix Union since 2011, and is an alumnus of Carl Hayden High School. Said one colleague, he comes to every after school activity with a smile and asking “what can I do to help.” He has taken on the role of coordinating speakers to come to the school to talk to students about career pathways. Said a colleague, he consistently puts the students first and is always trying to find new opportunities for them to embark on. Whether it is tutoring or playing video games with students, he is often the last one at school, so that kids have a safe place to hang out. Cardenas was a member of the first cohort for the Exemplary Educator Achievement Model evaluation. He implemented the Engineering EPICS program with ASU, which recently awarded him with a Pioneer Award for leading his students through pitch funding, designing and building projects and connecting with industry professionals. He started the robotics program at his school, and in its first year, the Pythons advanced to the International Robotics competition after winning Rookie of the Year Awards at two regional competitions. He then coordinated a fundraising effort in just a few weeks to get the team to Houston.
North's sabelle Lukau was honored as the female Student of the Year at the District’s Opening of Schools Convocation
Isabelle Lukau was honored as the female Student of the Year at the District’s Opening of Schools Convocation. Last school year, she was also named the City of Phoenix’ Outstanding Young Woman of the Year. She will attend Notre Dame this fall on a full-ride scholarship, and study biochemistry. Ultimately, she wants to become a doctor and return to her native country of Angola working with Doctors without Borders.
North High School was named the Phoenix Union School of the Year for Post-Secondary Achievement at the Opening of Schools Convocation
North High School was named the Phoenix Union School of the Year for Post-Secondary Achievement at the Opening of Schools Convocation. This school has one of the top three graduation rates in the District at 88.7%. Over the past 4 years, its dropout rate has decreased by more than 2%, and is the lowest dropout rate for a comprehensive campus. 61% of its seniors completed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.) 64% of its seniors enroll in college at any time during the first year after high school. North’s graduating class earned 16 million dollars in scholarships. Our School of the Year for Post-Secondary Achievement is North High School.
Former Maryvale wrestler and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo is continuing his winning ways in another sport. He won the men’s flyweight championship in the UFC 227 Mixed Martial Arts, upsetting defending champion Demetrious Johnson, Saturday in Los Angeles. Cejudo lost to Johnson two years ago, and the former champ was undefeated in his division, holding the belt for an unprecedented six years. Cejudo now wants a shot at bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, moving up in weight class.
"America's all about winners," Cejudo said after the fight "I want to fight the [champion] at 135 pounds. I deserve it. [I was] Olympic champion, now UFC champion. Now give me the belt at 135 pounds."
Carrie Deahl is a 2018 High School Teacher of Excellence, awarded by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE.) Deahl is a member of the Arizona English Teachers Association and one of 16 high school teachers nationwide awarded this year.
Established in 2001 by the NCTE Secondary Section, this award recognizes and celebrates high school classroom teachers who demonstrate excellent practices and contributions in the classroom.
Deahl will be recognized as a recipient of the NCTE High School Teacher of Excellence Award at the Secondary Section Luncheon on Saturday, November 17, during the 2018 NCTE Annual Convention in Houston, Texas.
Deahl has taught for 18 years at PUHSD, including the last 10 at Maryvale. She teaches three classes of freshman English, one sophomore English class and creative writing. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, earning her certification in 2013.
Carl Hayden Basketball Coach Argie Rhymes received the National High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Award
Carl Hayden Basketball Coach Argie Rhymes received the National High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Award by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) in June at its annual conference in Sioux Falls, SD. He was nominated from Region 8 of the National Coaches Association that consists of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Hawaii and Utah, and selected over seven other regional nominees.
Rhymes, who graduated from Phoenix Union High School and began his coaching career there, has coached his entire career at PUHSD, amassing over 700 wins in five decades. He has been head coach at Carl Hayden since 1982, and won state championships in 1986, 1987, 1993 and 1997. Now 71, he has coached sons and grandsons for the Falcons. Last year, his grandsons Isaiah and T.J. Rhymes played for him.
Rhymes is in the Arizona High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the Phoenix Union Sports Hall of Fame.
Other recent PUHSD coaches recognized as Coaches of the Year by the NHSACA are Dave Silcox, Tennis, 2015; Royce Youree, Basketball, 2012, Robert Schuster, Track and Field, 2003.
Three wrestlers, including the first Cesar Chavez girl to earn a wrestling scholarship, are headed to wrestling programs in college. Robert Dominguez, Mkayla Black and Camilo Hernandez recently signed their national letters of intent. Dominguez was a four-time varsity starter for the champions and three-time state qualifier. He will attend Midway in Kentucky. Black is a second-year wrestler but in her two seasons was undefeated when facing a female opponent and won a girls state twice. She will sign with Waldorf in Iowa, and compete in the women’s program under head coach Tyreece Gilder who is a Chavez alumnus and the first state champ in team history. Hernandez is headed to the Bay Area to wrestle for Menlo College. He was a two-time state qualifier, three-year varsity starter, and finished 6th in Division 1 (2018).
Central’s Global Studies program will welcome students and a teacher-chaperone from its sister-school in Himeji, Japan
Central’s Global Studies program will welcome students and a teacher-chaperone from its sister-school in Himeji, Japan. The Kotogaoka High School students will visit Central on August 22, hosted by Central families. The students will tour Arizona. There will be other visits this year from China, Costa Rica and France, and Central’s magnet students will have the opportunity to travel to those countries, as well.
amelback Montessori College Prep was named the Small School of the Year for Academics at the Opening of Schools Convocation
Camelback Montessori College Prep was named the Small School of the Year for Academics at the Opening of Schools Convocation, July 31. This small school has a graduation rate of 100%, with a dropout rate of 0%. Its ACT scores and AzMERIT scores are above the district average and competitive with state and national levels. This micro-school is in its sixth year, and remains the only Montessori high school program in Arizona.
Betty Fairfax won the (large) School of the Year for Academics at the Opening of Schools Convocation
Betty Fairfax won the (large) School of the Year for Academics at the Opening of Schools Convocation. Fairfax increased scores on five out of six AzMERIT tests, including an increase of 22% on the AZMERIT Algebra I exam. It also had the highest graduation rate of any comprehensive campus in the district, reduced its dropout rate and had one of the highest percentages of students meeting the Arizona Board of Regents requirements in the District.
Aimee Johanning is Phoenix Union’s Support Staff Employee of the Year. She was honored at the Opening of Schools Convocation, July 31. A graduate of Betty Fairfax, she was an administrative assistant for the assistant principal for student opportunities last year at her alma mater, and now will perform similar duties at Central High School. Starting her fifth year in the District, she took the District’s Vision 2020 to heart, helping implement “new systems and processes for increased effectiveness and improved efficiency.” She helped rebrand and restructure the Fairfax athletic office, strengthening its brand to serve students, handle parent concerns and promote a professional atmosphere. She helped introduced and implemented the Register My Athlete program, streamlining athlete clearances, insurance, access to student grades and entering data for NCAA and NAIA eligibility criteria. Johanning assisted coaches, student athletes and parents, navigating the new program and setting up computer workstations. She went above-and-beyond her own job duties, running two offices on campus when the school’s bookstore manager and assistant went out on leave.
Four Bioscience students attended the World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC) in Hilo, Hawaii this summer. These students were engaged in a yearlong research experience with ASU’s QESST solar energy research lab. Edmund Dong, Hai Lam, Jawed Nur and Alyssa Cortez were members of two larger student research teams and were chosen to represent their teams and share their work at the Hawaii Conference.
The first team, consisting of Dong, Lam, Lee Chiffelle and Nancy Twishime graduated this past spring and will attend ASU. Their research topic was on building a low-cost device to measure the brightness of the sky, or solar irradiance. This device aids in measuring the efficiency of solar panels. Low cost, simple methods of measuring cell efficiency are a current challenge in the solar energy engineering community.
The other team, includes Diego Ruiz, a sophomore at Metro Tech. Their presentation was on their yearlong work called “The City of Solar: A Community Proposal.” Their objective is to bring solar energy and shade to City of Phoenix parks in the Alhambra district of the city. In addition to supplying energy to our communities, solar panels can also provide much needed shade structures in city parks. The team met with several local officials and experts over the course of the past year.
In addition, a third QESST student team also competed in the high school competition. This team competed remotely, as they were not able to attend in person. Three of the student team members are incoming Bioscience freshmen. They are Maryan Robledo, Elizabeth Pham, and Faith Thompson. Their project focus was on using solar energy to aid in water filtration system in poor and remote areas, such as Haiti. This was also a yearlong project, started in their 8th grade year.
“Both groups were extremely professional and very impressive at the conference, as they interacted with professional solar energy engineers and researchers. The City of Solar group also won 1st place in their category of the high school competition,” science teacher Milton Johnson said. “They will also continue to work with the QESST group this coming school year and beyond to find solar solutions to empower their neighborhood community.”
“Bioscience is very thankful to be able to work closely with ASU’s QESST solar energy lab as a way to get our students involved in sustainable, authentic and meaningful community-based research experiences.”
Cesar Parra Castro was named the male Student of the Year for Phoenix Union. He was honored at the Opening of Schools Convocation, in which he attended with his family. Castro had a 4.8 grade point average at Bioscience, and earned a prestigious Gates Scholarship, (one of 300 out of 28,000 applicants) and a Questbridge Scholarship. He will attend Notre Dame this fall. His interests include engineering, computer science and the environment.
The 2018-19 Opening of Schools Convocation was the best ever, at Grand Canyon University Arena, July 31. Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson gave an inspirational keynote address around the theme of “UnitED.”
Student performances were the Trevor Browne Jazz Band, under the direction of Mike Rebb serving as the show band. Jose Ruelas, Central High’s resident Charro, thrilled the crowd with his Floreo rope performance. Gifted and Talented Academy sophomore Michael Webster’s guitar rendition of our National Anthem was stirring, and the Carl Hayden Color Guard was perfect.
The Phoenix Union Employees of the Year were announced- Coding Academy’s Science teacher George Cardenas is Classroom Teacher of the Year: administrative assistant Aimee Johanning, of Fairfax (and now Central) is the Support Staff Employee of the Year, and Trevor Browne Assistant Principal Stephanie Streeter is Administrator of the Year.
Students of the Year were Isabelle Lukau of North High and Cesar Parra Castro of Bioscience. Coincidentally, both are headed to Notre Dame this fall.
School of the Year Awards went to Camelback Montessori- Small School Student Achievement; Betty Fairfax- Large School Student Achievement; North- Post Secondary Achievement; South Mountain, Special Recognition and Trevor Browne, for Arts.
Maryvale teachers will get a well-deserved, end of the year treat when the Million Dollar Teacher Project recognizes educators with a prize package, food and appreciation at Peter Piper Pizza, May 22. The Feel like a Million Dollars celebrates schools where students and staff vote, and one teacher will be awarded the Green Owl prize package, valued at over $1,000. The Million Dollar Teacher Project began in 2016 by Lloyd Hopkins, who worked in the Alhambra School District. His organization supports teachers and education by increased recognition, compensation and support and where every student is taught by a highly trained, qualified, understanding and engaged teacher.
Maryvale put on its first-ever Career and Technical Education (CTE) Expo, May 11. The expo was a Disney-themed fashion show with original designs and creations by Amanda Jacob’s Fashion 3-4 students. The fashion show was a CTE collaborative effort with four different CTE programs contributing. The lights and music were designed and run by students in Patrick Shanahan’s Technical Theatre class, the food for the V.I.P. section was created and served by Adrian Lamos’ Culinary students, and the event was documented by Jacob Dunklee’s Video Journalism class. The expo, which was sold out, was a great display of CTE real world application.
As memorable as it was for 41 Phoenix Union students who attended the 2018 DECA International Career Development Conference in Atlanta last month, it was a rush of memories for Steve Johnson, the DECA advisor from Maryvale who was recognized with a "Years of Service to DECA" award for 40 years, during the closing awards session. He is retiring this year.
Johnson, a Minnesota native, began his teaching career in 1976 and for the last 25 years he has been at Maryvale, where he has taught Marketing Education, supervised on-the-job training (Cooperative Ed), General Business, Keyboarding, Typing, Consumer Math, and CTE 1 to freshman.
He has also coached football, freshmen and JV basketball, softball, cross country and track. Johnson has also coordinated the Maryvale Student of the Month program the last 20 years.
Central Bobcat JROTC Battalion Commander Competed in the National Archery in Schools program in Kentucky
Central Bobcat JROTC Battalion Commander, Cadet Amelia “Bingo” Bingochea competed in the National Archery in Schools program in Kentucky. There was over 15,000 Archers in the competition. Bingochea scored a 283 out of 300 to rank 304th out of 5,589 girls. In the High School Division, she was 198th of 2393 archers, and 46th out of 446 in the 12th grade division.
It is another big year for Bioscience seniors securing top scholarships. Here is the list of students and selected schools so far.
Flinn Scholars: Elizabeth “Lee” Chiffelle & Nancy Twishime (ASU)
QuestBridge Scholars: Kevin Hernandez (Stanford), Edwin Lozano (Brown University), & Cesar Parra Castro, (Univ. of Notre Dame)
Gates Scholar: Cesar Parra Castro
Anthony Aragon Orozco – Hope College, a Colleges That Change Lives school
Francesca “Frankie” Ark – American University
Mikaela Bassil – University of Denver
Dulce Garipey – Wellesley College
Tabitha Hacker – Bowdoin College
Isabella Horning – University of Portland
Jasmin Lopez Gomez – Colgate University (Student Body President)
Genesis Mendoza – Lewis & Clark College
Alejandra Ocampo – Ohio Wesleyan University
Emma Offenberg – Stanford University
Lis San Emeterio – Either Lewis & Clark College or Mount Holyoke College
Alisa Sass – University of Missouri
Qing Zhang – Either Tufts University or the University of Virginia
Ma'Kayla Dickerson, a two-time track and field state champion the week before, tried a seven-event heptathlon at Valley Christian in Chandler, May 10-11. She won the 100 hurdles, high jump, 200-meters, long jump and 800 meters, and scored 4573 points, the fourth best high school score in the nation, according to her Fairfax coaches John Sholongo and Lydia Edwards. Six Fairfax girls competed in the The AIA-sanctioned event.
Betty Fairfax is the Phoenix Union Athletic Program of the Year, announced at the All-Phoenix Union Sports Awards Ceremony May 16 at Central High School. The event celebrates athletes, coaches, athletic directors and athletic programs. It was the second year in a row the Laveen school was the top athletic program in the district.
Fairfax won five team region titles, and qualified for the state playoffs in football, boys and girls basketball, boys volleyball, softball and boys tennis. In individual sports, golfer Iman Abraham qualified for state. boys tennis players took 1st and 2nd place in singles, first in doubles, and the girls took first in singles and first and second in doubles at the Phoenix Union Tennis tournament. Fairfax was the only team to qualify for the tennis state playoffs. In track and field, the girls team led by Ma’kayla Dickerson who won state titles in 300 hurdles and high jump, and two 2nd place finishes, finished sixth in the state, and the boys team’s Carmayne White tied for second in the high jump and finished fifth in the longjump. PUHSD Coaches of the Year were Mike Lopez, Volleyball; Rachel Gonzalez, Softball and Jerry Fiedler, Boys Tennis. Girls Basketball coach John Trujillo was named 5A Union Region Coach of the Year. Kevin Belcher was named Athletic Director of the Year.
There were standing ovations for the Inspirational Student-Athletes- Wrestler Luis Higuera of Cesar Chavez, and volleyball and softball player Bailey Duncan of Linda Abril and Central and the Joseph Grant Community Outreach award winner. The Joseph Grant Community Outreach Award is named for a Camelback athlete who passed away last year, but donated his Make-A-Wish gift to the school in the form of a shaded seating area, called “Joseph’s Hangout.” His mother, Dawn Grant presented the award to Santiago Mancilla Perez, a swimmer from Central High School.
The second annual All-Phoenix Union Sports Awards Ceremony was held May 16, at Central High School, celebrating over 100 athletes, coaches, and athletic programs. The event featured all 11 schools that offer interscholastic athletics in PUHSD. Student recognitions included Male and Female Players of the Year for each team and individual sport, All-Academic Male and Female Athletes of the Year from each school and First Team All-Phoenix Union selections for each team sport.
The Male and Female Athletes of the Year were announced. South Mountain’s Raelynn Fair, a track athlete and Carl Hayden’s Fidel De Los Rios, track and cross country, receive scholarships from the Phoenix Union Foundation for Education. Coach of the Year was North Swim coach David Smithers, who started the Mustang program 22 years ago. Sportsmanship of the Year went to Alhambra, Athletic Director of the Year was Betty Fairfax’s Kevin Belcher. The Athletic Program of the Year, for the second year in a row, is Betty Fairfax.
Phoenix Union High School District is hosting a Job Fair for all PUHSD Seniors on Monday, May 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Metro Tech High School at 1900 West Thomas Road. Seniors should register to attend at www.PhoenixUnion.org/SeniorJobFair, dress professionally and bring copies of resumes. Parking and a shuttle bus is available at Phoenix College.
Among the companies represented are Sundt Construction, Marriott International, City of Phoenix Courts, Wells Fargo, State Farm, Rummel Construction and Foothills fire Protection. The Senior Job Fair is sponsored by the City of Phoenix, Department of Economic Security, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, Phoenix Union and the Valley of the Sun United Way.
Graduation Ceremonies for 16 Phoenix Union Schools and Over 5,000 Graduates, Will Take Place May 23 and 24
Graduation ceremonies for 16 Phoenix Union schools and over 5,000 graduates, will take place May 23 and 24 in two locations. Eleven large schools will hold commencement exercises in the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum over two days, while five small schools will have graduations at Phoenix College’s Bulpitt Auditorium, May 23. The large school lineup is: Wednesday, May 23- Carl Hayden, 10:30 a.m.; Cesar Chavez, 1 p.m.; Maryvale, 3:30 p.m.; Trevor Browne, 6 p.m.; Alhambra, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24- Metro Tech, 8 a.m.; Central, 10:30 a.m.; Camelback, 1 p.m.; North, 3:30 p.m.; South Mountain, 6 p.m. and Betty Fairfax, 8:30 p.m. The small school lineup, May 23 at Phoenix College is Desiderata, 11:30 a.m.; Franklin Police and Fire, 1:30 p.m.; Linda Abril Education Academy, 3:30 p.m.; Bioscience, 5:30 p.m. and Bostrom, 7:30 p.m.
South Mountain’s 4 x100-meter Relay Team Finished Second in the Division II Girls State Track and Field Championships
South Mountain’s 4 x100-meter relay team finished second in the Division II Girls State Track and Field Championships, May 5. Individually, Autumn Boyd was 7th and Alaijah Huckaby, 8th in the 100-meters. Boyd placed 7th in the 200-meters and Ta’kia Shivers was 7th in the javelin. South finished 13th in the team standings.
South Mountain High School’s Communication Arts Magnet Program Received Both the Arizona Group of the Year Award and the Western Regional Group of the Year Award from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
At its first ever Student Showcase, South Mountain High School’s Communication Arts Magnet program received both the Arizona Group of the Year Award and the Western Regional Group of the Year Award from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Two students from the South Mountain High School’s Communication Arts Magnet program contributed over 225 hours last summer through the NRCS Earth Team Volunteer program. Tiyee La Mar and Blanca Ramos assisted in the development of three outreach videos as well as recorded video for five additional videos. The videos they helped develop will be used to connect with communities who can benefit from the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program that is currently improving those structures nearing the end of their design life. In addition, they developed a video on the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) that can be use to help communities protect life and property after a catastrophe such as a wildfire.