Thank You for Visiting the PUHSD Communications Weekly News Blog
The Communications Department posts weekly school and district news items on the Phoenix Union website. These items also are submitted to The Arizona Republic for a feature called “Around Our Schools" and are sent to other publications around the Valley. Occasionally, it gives the local media story ideas that highlight Phoenix Union. 
This is an opportunity to recognize student and staff accomplishments and events and announce upcoming school activities in which the community would be interested. If you have a news item to share, please use the following News By You form to send us the information.
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  • North: Two Phoenix Union Schools Raced in the 14th Annual Dragon Boat Festival at Tempe Town Lake, March 25

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    It’s not an AIA sport, but two Phoenix Union schools raced in the 14th Annual Dragon Boat Festival at Tempe Town Lake, March 25.   North, under the direction of teacher Rita Lopez has been doing this for seven years.   Maryvale, coached by science teacher Jennifer Cho, joined in the fun this year in the first-ever high school division.  Battling a strong headwind and current, Maryvale came in second, a half second ahead of North.  Both teams practiced two times prior to racing, and lost to a California team that trains year-round. 

    In dragon boat racing, you can have up to 20 rowers, 10 on each side, a drummer and a steersman. 

    “The drummer is at the front of the boat and keeps the pace/beat similar to the heart of the dragon and the steer is in the rear,” Cho said.

    The Arizona Dragon Boat Association waived the race fee of $300 to help promote the high school division.  

    “We are hopeful that the division will grow with PUHSD spearheading,” Lopez said.

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  • Cesar Chavez: Manuel Alcantar has been Named The New Football Coach for Cesar Chavez

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Manuel Alcantar has been named the new football coach for Cesar Chavez.  He comes to the Champions from Dysart, where he was the head coach for four years.  He took the Demons to the state playoffs for the first time in 21 years in 2015, and in the past two years his teams went 7-4 and 9-2.  He replaces Jim Rattay who was at the school for nine seasons.  Chavez was 6-4 last year in the regular season, winning six consecutive games and the Metro Region and, before losing in the first round of the playoffs. 

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  • Metro Tech Weightlifting Coach and Math Teacher Dina Medina Spent her Spring Break Winning The United States American Open National Championship

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Metro Tech weightlifting coach and math teacher Dina Medina spent her spring break winning the United States American Open National Championship, division.  Medina placed first in the Masters age 40-44 69-kilogram division. She had a 139 kg total (307 lbs.), 62 kg snatch (136 lbs.)/77 clean & jerk (170 lbs.)

    “Dina is officially one of the strongest women America and a true role model to our students,” said Metro teacher and weightlifting coach Mario Malaby


    Culinary Arts student Daylon Bennett shined in the Careers in Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), last month, winning a cash award from C-CAP as well an industry award, which means he has a job upon graduation.  His teacher is Chef Dean Wilberscheid

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  • Students From Franklin Police and Fire High School Earned Their Basic Wildland Firefighting Certification

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Students from Franklin Police and Fire High School earned their Basic Wildland Firefighting Certification by completing their wildland field day training, March 24. The students completed 8 weeks of intense classroom and field work to earn their certification. They are now one step closer to becoming employed as firefighters. A diploma ceremony will take place at Franklin, March 30.  from 5-7 p.m. to honor the students for their hard work and accomplishments.

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  • Eight Central Students were Awarded Students Inspiring Students Scholarships to Grand Canyon University

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Eight Central students were awarded Students Inspiring Students Scholarships to Grand Canyon University.  The students had to complete 100 hours of study time in the GCU Learning Lounge.  These students will give back and be tutors to future high school students looking to earn a Students Inspiring Students scholarship.  Other criteria for the scholarship were demonstration of financial need,   university admissible, and demonstrate university preparedness. This is a neighborhood scholarship given to community schools in the GCU vicinity.   The students are Angel Lopez, Kiara Greenfield, Christina Olivas, Edgar Arellano, Keilen Costilla, Marixa Hernandez, Edward Arellano and Adrian Dominguez.   They were visited March 29 by GCU representatives.

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  • Camelback: Joseph Grant Gave His Wish Away to His High School in The Form of a New Shade Structure with Outdoor Seating

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Make-A-Wish Arizona wanted to grant Camelback student Joseph Grant a wish, but Joseph had another idea.  He gave his wish away to his high school in the form of a new shade structure with outdoor seating.  Joseph presented his wish, called “Joseph’s Hangout,” to his fellow students, March 24 at two assemblies.


    Joseph, who has a life-threatening heart condition that required a transplant, has been working on his wish for more than two years, deciding how to leave his legacy to a school that has been amazingly supportive during his illness.  He approached then-principal Dr. Quintin Boyce, and with the help of the school, District facilities personnel, and local builders, the wish came true, with construction taking place during spring break.


    McCarthy Construction, SunShades Arizona donated a large percentage of the wish, in one of the largest undertakings this year for Make-A-Wish Arizona.


    “I first hooked up with Make-A-Wish my sophomore year, and when they wanted to know what my wish was.   I wanted to hold off, and then I said, let’s do something for my school,” Grant said.   “There are a lot of kids here, and they like to congregate outside the cafeteria, and there was no place to sit, and a space like this was very much needed.”


    “They wanted to call it Joseph’s Corner, but Hangout sounded better.  It has a ring to it.  I like the way it sounds,” he said.


    Joseph worked with the companies, and the school to create a plan and color scheme that complements the school colors-orange and blue.

    Joseph’s gift did come with some anxiety.  The seating area replaced the bell tower.  During the assembly he was a little defensive.  He hoped students wouldn’t remember him as “Oh no, that’s the bell tower kid,” he said.


    But on the plaque that will designate the space, his true message is recorded: Selflessness is all the heart needs.


    Twenty-four Camelback students performed with GRAMMY Nominated Country Recording Artist Eric Church, March 28, during his tour stop at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.    Church is a strong supporter of public music education and he’s inviting a high school choir local to each tour stop to join him.


    The GRAMMY Foundation contacted band director Jaime Johnston, who had been nominated by the organization a few years ago as a music instructor of the year.  


    The students, selected from members of the performing arts department- band, choir, and guitar   arrived at the arena at  4p.m., had a dress rehearsal with Church on stage to figure out exactly what they had to do in the performance.   They had a catered dinner and enjoyed the back stage experience and a dressing room just for them.


     They performed the opening song, "A mistress named music".


    “I am so excited for these thriving performing arts students to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. They got to see behind the scenes and the inner workings of a touring, award winning musician,” Johnston said.

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  • Bostrom: Marquis Bundy, Visited The School on March 27 to Donate $1500

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Marquis Bundy, a member of the Arizona Cardinals active roster and son of Bostrom Assistant Principal Lisa Bundy, visited the school, March 27 to donate $1500 to the school’s student government.  Bundy began his high school career at Cesar Chavez, then transferred to Boulder Creek, and played at the Univ. of New Mexico.  He started on the Cardinals practice squad last year, but was placed on the active roster for the final seven games, and suited up for one game.  The 6-4, 215 lb. wide receiver remains on the roster this year, and will be participating in the team’s off-season workouts, (OTAs-organized team activities) this spring.   The funds will help Bostrom STUGO pay for prom and a senior field day.

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  • Betty Fairfax Track and Field Athletes Competed in The 77th Annual Chandler Rotary Track Meet

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Betty Fairfax Track and Field athletes competed in the 77th Annual Chandler Rotary Track meet, March 24-25.  This is one of the top five high school meets in the country, with several states and 125 schools attending.    Two Fairfax athletes were invited to the Elite session Saturday night, and both medaled.   Shamar Moreland won the long jump competition.  He and a Chandler High long jumper both went 23-3, but in the tiebreaker, their second best jump, Moreland won by one inch.  Moreland also placed 4th in the 300 hurdles.  Destiny Henry placed 3rd in the javelin.


    Betty Fairfax alumnus Kurtis Walls is going to play pro football in the Czech Republic.  Following a record-setting career at Valley City State University in North Dakota, where he threw for 8,675 yards and 87 touchdowns in four seasons, Walls will play for the Prague Lions of the top division Czech League of American Football. 


    The Third Annual Stampede Football Family Golf Benefit will be held Saturday, April 29 at Southern Ridge Golf Club in Laveen. The four-person scramble with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start generates funds for the football program.   Sponsorships are available, or a $70 donation per golfer.  There will be gift bags and shirts, a BBQ lunch, raffle and prizes.  For more information, contact Stampede Booster at, or Coach Dylan Winemiller at

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  • Alhambra: Charles Santay Began Studying Programming in The Fall

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Charles Santay, a sophomore at Alhambra High School, began studying programming in the fall in his computer science class.  After he learned of the Media Center's 3D printer and its possibilities in creating 3D printed models, he began to explore the idea of building a fully functional 3D-printed quadcopter.   Santay began studying, researching, testing, and building in November.  After months of work, Santay achieved first flight on the Grand Canyon University campus.


    Along the way, Santay taught himself a variety of skills to bring his idea to life: CAD design, 3D printing, electronics, power supply mechanics, guidance systems, R.F. communications, control software, and a host of other skills.


    "I have gone through a lot of crashes and a lot of parts, but Mr. Brink (Alhambra's Librarian and overseer of AHS's Media Center) has helped with replacement print parts to me keep going, I have a whole box of damaged propellers...I've crashed a lot." 


    At Alhambra's annual Science Fair / Sustainability Expo March 23, Santay amazed his classmates by demonstrating his ability to achieve flight as well as answer a variety of questions on the building process and very technical aspects of his project.


    “After hearing him talk at length of his learning, it is apparent Charles has learned a great deal on many topics over the course of the quadcopter's development. Charles plans on continuing his learning,” social studies teacher Clayton Jones said.  


     "My next project is going to be a much smaller and faster design for racing, I am working on ideas for a first-person, real time, camera feed as part of the guidance system," Santay said.

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  • Phoenix Union-Wilson College Prep is the District’s newest school

    Posted by Communications at 3/29/2017

    Phoenix Union-Wilson College Prep, the District’s newest school, will hold an Open House, Wednesday, April 5 from 4-7 p.m. at the school, located at 3005 E. Fillmore Street.  The school will be enrolling ninth graders for next year at the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) school, the first of its kind in the world designed to provide AVID Secondary College Readiness to all students.  For more information, contact Principal Keoni Dang at 602 703-9821, or go to


    March is National Athletic Training Month.  Athletic Trainers are highly qualified, multi-faceted allied health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.  Athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician as appropriate under licensure in Arizona.    Only 37% of public high schools nationally have a full-time athletic trainer to focus on the healthcare of their student-athlete population, but Phoenix Union is fortunate to have 11 athletic trainers, one at each comprehensive high school, to provide service to our thousands of student athletes day in and day out.   

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