Winner triumphs in “tense” situation

Eighth grader Anna Zeng was “pronoun-ced” the the winner after working through the preliminary, regional and semi-final rounds of the Electronic Grammar Usage Mechanics Proficiency Program (EGUMPP) Grammar Bowl State Finals at Grand Canyon University on April 14.

The Arizona EGUMPP Grammar Bowl is a test and on-stage competition for 8th and 9th graders focusing on grammar concepts and terminologies. Students work through the phases of the competition, first scoring at least a 90 percent on a mastery test, then taking an online test and finally taking a timed written test to qualify for finals. Out of 500 students who start at the preliminaries phase, only 24 make it to finals.

Of the 24 finalists, seven were from BASIS schools at Oro Valley and Chandler. BASIS School, Inc. is a non-profit organization that has charter schools throughout Arizona. Zeng is from BASIS Oro Valley.

Anna Zeng and Farhan Rahman with (from left to right) former Senator John Hupenthal, Robert Safran (creator of EGUMPP) and Senator Rich Crandall. Photo courtesy of BASIS Schools, Inc.

“[Anna] displayed grace under pressure,” says BASIS Oro Valley English teacher and Grammar Bowl advisor Susie Lantz in a press release.

Having to answer more questions than many other competitors because of a random choosing for a reduction round, Zeng still won first place prizes of a $5,000 college scholarship, a trip for four to Washington D.C., and a new iPad.

Runner up, 8th grader Farhan Rahman, is from BASIS Chandler.

“We are very proud of Farhan,” says BASIS Chandler English teacher and Grammar Bowl advisor Cyndi O’Brien in a press release. “He worked hard to prepare for the finals and is already planning to compete again next year.”

Farhan and his family. Photo courtesy of BASIS Schools, Inc.


Barefoot shoe drive

Islands Elementary School students in Gilbert participated in the TOMS shoes  “One Day Without Shoes” event with a shoe drive that product 300 pairs of shoes for UMOM, a Phoenix homeless shelter for families.

To get them started on the correct foot they went without shoes for a day in their classrooms to focus their attention on what it is like to go without shoes as many children around the world do, risking disease, infection and injury.

Healthy career outlook

photo: Fritz Henle, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, 1942

Thinking of a career change or better yet, want to suggest a career to your aimless high school student or high school senior suffering from acute senior-itis?

The photo above was taken in 1942 depicting a nursing student assisting during an appendectomy. They needed for nurses for the war effort was great so they had students doing as much work in the hospitals as possible to send graduate nurses to the armed forces.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Registered Nurses (RNs)  currently have an excellent job outlook. The number of RN jobs is expected to increase 26 percent between 2010 and 2020. A lot faster than the projected 14 percent for all occupations.

With the 2010 median pay of $64,690 for RNs, nursing seems like a good bet as the demographic behemoth known as the Baby Boomers age and need more care.

Eight of the Maricopa Community Colleges offer nursing degrees as well as private schools and for-profit schools. Here’s an interesting tidbit, all 30 of the nursing students at Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses the first time they took it. And it’s the third year in a row they’ve done so.

Phoenix Suns name scholarship recipients

Sixteen high school seniors from throughout Arizona have been named winners in the Phoenix Suns Charities’ SunStudents Scholarship program.

Taylor Sanders of Desert Ridge High School was named winner of the Kevin Johnson Scholar Award and will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Each of the 15 other students will receive a $2,000 scholarship. The funds can be used to defray educational expenses at any college or university they choose.

The announcement was made at halftime during Monday night’s Suns-Trail Blazers game at US Airways Center.

This season marks the ninth year the Kevin Johnson award has been presented. The scholarship, named for the Suns’ former All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson, was created in recognition of Johnson’s retirement and honors the spirit of learning and community service espoused by Johnson during his tenure with the Phoenix Suns.

“Phoenix Suns Charities’ scholarship committee was overwhelmed by the number of impressive applications we received this year,” said Robin Milne, executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities, in a press release. “The 16 recipients have not only displayed stellar academic efforts, but have dedicated countless hours to community service.”

More than 300 applicants from across the state were judged on their community involvement, scholastic performance, letters of recommendation and essays on overcoming adversity.

The 2012 Phoenix Suns Charities SunStudents Scholarship recipients are:

Taylor Sanders
Desert Ridge High School, Kevin Johnson Scholarship winner

Aaron Wodka
Nogales High School

Abigail Mucklow
Northwest Christian High School

Adelynn Shafer
Sahuaro High School

Brandon Shaw
Basha High School

Christina Wood
Marcos de Niza

Cole Waldren
Pinnacle High School

Dominic Hayden
Pinnacle High School

Dustin Jed Tanada
Williams Field High School

Kimberly Mitchell
Sunnyslope High School

Meera Kumar
Horizon High School

Meghan Kuebler
Florence High School

Natalie Jones
St. David High School

Nicholas Jakob
Notre Dame Prep Academy

Stephen Smith
Centennial High School

Victoria Ton
Hamilton High School

Phoenix Suns Charities makes grants to non-profit organizations that serve children and youth in the areas of education, health and human services, the arts, sports and recreation, and rehabilitation. In the 24 years since its inception, Phoenix Suns Charities has donated more than 12 million dollars to worthy Arizona organizations and individuals.

Teens practice job skills

Junior Achievement Arizona (JAAZ) teaches high school kids the ins and outs of getting a job through its “JA You’re Hired!” curriculum. Students work for weeks on interviewing techniques, resume writing, ethics, problem solving and interpersonal communications. Then they try out their new skills in front of business people.

This year, 350 students from 20 Valley high schools met at the Tempe Center for the Arts to conduct mock interviews and try their hands, and minds, at creative marketing and perfected elevator pitches.

JA You’re Hired”  is an annual workshop and competition designed to teach high school kids about business in a real-life format.

Not entirely real life, maybe. Look at the photo above, provided by JAAZ. These are Alhambra High School students competing in the “Creative Marketing Challenge, in which they create and market a product to a panel of judges using unconventional items,” according to a press release. Well, yes, rolling pins rarely come in to play in the workplace but it’s good students are learning to work with new business technology.

After the psycho-educational eval, then what?

An event Tuesday at Lexis Preparatory School in Scottsdale offers insights about the process of psycho-educational evaluation.

Psychologists Andrea Mowatt, EdS from Tampa Day School  and Janet Chao, EdD from The Melmed Center will discuss the components of a psycho-educational evaluation, the implications of the report and what the next steps are. The discussion takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, and is open to the public. Lexis Preparatory is located at 12753 N. Scottsdale Rd., behind the Jewish Community Center Campus.

Lexis Prep’s Laura Henry (curriculum coordinator) and Alison Mozias (school counselor) will discuss how educational recommendations are implemented at the school.

Lexis Preparatory School educates students with ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety and other mild to moderate learning disabilities.

To RSVP call: 480-391-3901 or email Gordana Lazic.

International Languages Expo for Youth

The International School of Arizona (ISA)
and the ASU Preparatory Academy
are having their 6th Annual International Languages Expo for Youth on Saturday, April 14, from10am-1pm at ASU Prep at 735 E. Fillmore St. in downtown Phoenix.

ISA offers three immersion language tracks: French, Spanish, and German. ASU Preparatory Academy offers K-12 charter schools on or near ASU campuses.

At the expo students will recite poetry and rhymes in a variety of languages and children’s foreign language vendors from throughout the Valley will have booths to distribute information about their programs.

Arizona author, Stella Pope-Duarte will speak about the impact of language. She won an American Book Award, and was nominated for a Pulitzer, for her 2009 book, If I Die in Juárez (University of Arizona Press, 2008).

The expo, which is a free event, will also feature a guest speaker, children’s story time and foreign language book fair.

They are also having a canned food drive to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank.