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DECA chapters excel at Region 8 Conference 
DECA chapters excel at Region 8 Conference The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapters from Dysart Unified School District’s four high schools competed in the Region 8 Career Development Competition in Phoenix this past month. The competition allows students to compete in various business and marketing events and are aligned with national curriculum standards and industry validated.

Shadow Ridge High School found success in several events and took home a total of 33 medals including 15 test medals, 13 first place medals, and five overall first place recognitions. “It is a great opportunity for students to practice or experience competing for the first time before the state conference,” says Shadow Ridge advisor, Ms. Fussell. 

Willow Canyon High School received  their best test scores in recent years, with eight test medals, six role play medals, and three overall medals. 

Dysart High School received nine  medals. Dysart High School DECA advisor Ms. Palombo says of the event, “This event is great for new members as this is the only time they get to really identify how a role play event functions and to experience it for the first time.”

Valley Vista High School received six  medals total, including two role play medals and three  overall medals. “This is usually the first competition of the season and for our new members this event gives them an idea of what competition is like, what to expect, and how to prepare,” says Valley Vista advisor, Ms. Urban. 

The students will represent their school at the DECA State Career Development Competition later this month and compete against over 2,000 students from across the valley.

DECA is a premier student organization that supports the development of marketing and management skills in career areas such as hospitality, finance, sales and service, business administration, and entrepreneurship.  DECA is one of the many Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities offered to prepare students for the academic and vocational skills necessary to successfully enter the workforce. Learn more at
Posted : 2/11 | Direct Link
Spiritline teams qualify for Nationals
Spiritline teams qualify for NationalsAll four Dysart Unified School District cheer and pom teams competed at the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Spiritline State Championships on February 1, 2020 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Willow Canyon High School received first place in Division II Pom, and third place in Division II All Girl Group Stunt. 

Shadow Ridge High School received second place in Division I-III Small Coed Cheer.

Valley Vista High School  took second place in Division I-III Partner Stunt, and fourth place in Division I-III Small Coed Cheer. 

Dysart High School received second place in Division I-III Large Coed Cheer. 

The talented student athletes from all four schools will compete on the national stage February 14-16, 2020, in Anaheim, California at the USA Spirit Nationals. 
Posted : 2/7 | Direct Link
SRO Klarkowski named Difference Maker
SRO KlarkowskiWendy Klarkowski, Shadow Ridge High School, School Resource Officer (SRO) was honored with the Difference Maker Award at the Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life Conference hosted at Grand Canyon University on January 21st .  Officer Klarkowski was recognized for her invaluable impact on youth in the City of Surprise and surrounding communities.  

Klarkowski became the Shadow Ridge High School SRO in 2012. Since that time she has been impacting the lives of the youth in the City of Surprise and around the entire Valley. In 2018, Officer Klarkowski partnered with her fellow SRO’s to create a juvenile diversion program in the City of Surprise. This program is intended to keep low-level juvenile offenders out of the criminal justice system, but still hold them accountable for their offenses. In 2018, following the Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life Conference, Officer Klarkowski partnered with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to educate youth and parents around the Valley about the dangers associated with Vaping. Officer Klarkowski attended safety events throughout the Valley, including an Escape the Vape event at Valley Vista High School, putting her vaping device display out for all attendees to see and educating  them regarding the inherent risks and dangers of vaping. Since then, Officer Klarkowski has attended national and state conferences to educate her law enforcement partners about the dangers and trends associated with youth vaping.  

“We are deeply grateful to you, Officer Klarkowski, for all you are doing to Speak Up, Stand Up and Save Lives,” said a spokesperson from the event.

More than 3,500 Valley youth including students from Dysart, Shadow Ridge, Valley Vista and Willow Canyon high schools, came together for the fourth year in a row at the "Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life” event to empower youth.  
Posted : 1/28 | Direct Link
Governing Board recognized by ASBA
ASBA AwardThe Dysart Unified School District Governing Board has been recognized for earning the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) Total Board Boardsmanship Award. The award is granted to a board when at least a quorum of members has attained the level of a Certificate of Boardsmanship, with the remainder of the board having earned the Certificate of Orientation to Boardsmanship following the attendance of ASBA’s New Board Member Orientation. The following Governing Board members were recognized: Dawn Densmore, Jay Leonard, Christine A.K. Pritchard, Traci Sawyer-Sinkbeil, and Jennifer Tanner.
Posted : 1/10 | Direct Link
WCHS students excel on Cambridge exams
WCHS Cambridge awardsFour students from Willow Canyon High School received Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards from the Cambridge Program for their performance on the exams. Orion Evans earned the Top in Country award for earning the highest score in the United States for Literature. Tristan Alvarado, Orion Evans, Augusto Palo, and Emily Poling received the Cambridge Scholar Award with Merit for earning high marks on exams from June 2019.  The Merit award recognizes the extraordinary performance of students who excelled on the international examinations by earning a “B” or higher in at least three separate subjects. 

The Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards are a group of awards issued by Cambridge Assessment International Education who recognize exceptional learner achievement in Cambridge examinations around the world. “These awards also recognize the exceptional commitment your larger school community and parents place on quality education,” said Mark Cavone, North America Regional Director at Cambridge Assessment International. 

“We are very proud of the hard work that our students and our teachers have put forth to earn such recognition,” said Dr. Adam Schwartz, principal at Willow Canyon High School.
The Cambridge program encourages student-centered learning and hands-on application of skills. Students who complete the lower division, 9th-10th grade, Cambridge Curriculum are set for success in a dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or Career and Technical Education pathways for college and career advancements. 

By passing the Cambridge Board Examinations, students are eligible for the Grand Canyon Diploma that allows students early entry into college courses and can be used for admission to select colleges and universities. The Cambridge program is offered at Dysart and Willow Canyon High Schools and at Marley Park Elementary School
Posted : 12/18/2019 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge student hosts blanket drive
Canyon Ridge student hosts blanket driveFor the past four years, Canyon Ridge School student Ollie McNeil has coordinated Buddy Blankets, an effort to collect blankets for those in need.  This school year, with support from both the Canyon Ridge and Kingswood Elementary School communities, Ollie collected more than 550 blankets and exceeded the initial goal of 500.
Ollie was struck by the idea when his mom was tucking him into bed at night. “I was originally inspired to start Buddy Blankets after talking to my mom and learning that some people don’t have a home to sleep in at night, or even one blanket to keep them warm.”   He thought he could provide a gift of comfort and warmth to those in need.  The inaugural drive provided 150 blankets and the effort has grown each and every year. “To see how it’s grown with the support and encouragement of the adults Ollie has reached out to is just amazing,” said Ollie’s mom and Canyon Ridge teacher, Brooke McNeil.
To drum up support, a friendly competition was proposed this year. The school that collected the most blankets provided school spirit gear to the losing principal to wear on spirit Friday. Kingswood collected 358 blankets and Canyon Ridge came in at 297 total. Jill Hoppe, Canyon Ridge principal, and Ollie had to represent the Kingswood Knights donned in purple at morning drop off on December 13.  
Ollie was recognized for his selfless efforts with a Dysart Extraordinary pin presented by Dr. Quinn Kellis, Dysart Unified School District superintendent on Friday, December 13. Superintendent Kellis honors individuals who demonstrate extraordinary acts of kindness to others by passing out the pins. “Hundreds of people will be warmer this holiday season because of Ollie’s work,” said Kellis. 
With additional community support through donations bins at the City of Surprise Police Department and AZ Ice Peoria, where Ollie plays hockey, a total of 875 blankets were collected this year. The blankets were distributed among local charities that work with the Surprise Police Department.  “Each year, I am inspired to start another blanket drive knowing that each blanket we collect keeps one more person warm at night,” said Ollie.
Posted : 12/17/2019 | Direct Link
SRHS DECA visit Washington, D.C. 
SRHS DECA visit Washington, D.C. Shadow Ridge High School Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) students recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for the DECA Ultimate Power Trip Conference. This conference gives students across the country the opportunity to expand their leadership skills, network, gain knowledge in college and career readiness, and compete in events. Cole Callister, finished in first place in his role-play event with a score of 99%.

Along with attending the conference, students had the chance to visit and tour Washington, D.C. historical landmarks such as the White House, the Washington Monument, the United States Capitol, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

In addition to attending the DECA Power Trip Conference, students also recently participated in the DECA 2019-2020 Virtual Business Challenge (VBC). This competitive event tasks students with completing rigorous online simulations in an effort to challenge their skills in the areas of accounting, fashion, hotel management, personal finance, restaurant management, retail management, and sports marketing. Shadow Ridge students Brody Fussell, Shane Rath, and Ryan McDaniel, ranked in the top two in the Western Region for the team VBC Restaurant event, and have qualified for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) taking place in the Spring, in Nashville, Tennessee. 

DECA is one of many Career and Technical Education opportunities at Shadow Ridge and is a premier student organization that supports the development of marketing and management skills. DECA provides recognition and leadership activities directly related to attainment of specific occupational and leadership skills.
Posted : 12/11/2019 | Direct Link
Dysart recognizes All District Football Team
Dysart recognizes All District Football TeamThe Dysart Unified School District held their annual All District Football Team Award presentation to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary student athletes who displayed excellence in the 2019 season. 

First Team, Second Team, and All Academic Team athletes were selected from Valley Vista, Shadow Ridge, Dysart, and Willow Canyon High Schools.

First Team 
Offensive Line 
Isaiah Mercado, Shadow Ridge; Kindric Picklesimer, Willow Canyon; Jaden Lay, Valley Vista; Jack Chappelle, Shadow Ridge; Abel Aguirre, Dysart

Tight End 
Andrew Shahan, Shadow Ridge

Kaiden Lansford, Shadow Ridge

Running Back 
Michael Clark, Shadow Ridge; Aiden Cunningham, Valley Vista

Darvon Hubbard, Willow Canyon

Wide Receiver
Liam Kelleher, Valley Vista; Makai Obregon, Valley Vista; Zachary Sutton, Shadow Ridge

Defensive Line 
DaryOn Lee, Valley Vista; Jaelin McCullen, Valley Vista; Joseph Semien, Willow Canyon

Casey Lowe, Shadow Ridge; Trevor Kinnee, Willow Canyon; Trenton Foster, Valley Vista; Joseph Schindewolf, Dysart

Defensive Back 
Makai Obregon, Valley Vista; Jonathan HagEstad, Willow Canyon; Houston Mitton, Shadow Ridge; Ruben Falcon, Dysart

Jeremiah Ruiz, Valley Vista

Special Teams
Josh Hubbs, Willow Canyon
Josh Hubbs, Willow Canyon
Henry Brown, Valley Vista

Second Team 
Offensive Line 
Michael Lyon, Shadow Ridge; Garrett Sutliffe, Valley Vista; Christopher Stoica, Shadow Ridge; Kevin Urbina, Dysart; Greg Gregory-Bey, Dysart

Tight End 
Carson Allcock, Valley Vista

Burt DeLay, Valley Vista

Running Back 
Jacob Thurman, Shadow Ridge; Henry Brown, Valley Vista

Ezekiel Alfonso, Valley Vista

Wide Receiver 
Prince Zombo, Dysart; Daunte Williams, Willow Canyon; Isaac Yates, Shadow Ridge

Defensive Line
Israel Nolasco, Dysart; Carson McNutt, Shadow Ridge; Austin Mather, Dysart; Dylan Jones, Shadow Ridge

Vernon Thompson, Valley Vista; Hayden Ortiz, Shadow Ridge; Josiah Meek, Willow Canyon; Anthony Salamanca, Shadow Ridge

Defensive Back 
Trenton Givens, Valley Vista; Tommy Thompson, Valley Vista; Isaac Yates, Shadow Ridge; Zachary Sutton, Shadow Ridge

Josiah Gardner, Willow Canyon

Special Teams
Angel Balderrama, Valley Vista
Gabriel Silvas, Dysart 
Jonathan HagEstad, Willow Canyon

All Academic 
Makai Obregon, Valley Vista; Christopher Stoica, Shadow Ridge; Jesus Izaguirre, Dysart; Jonathan HagEstad, Willow Canyon; Hugo Soto, Willow Canyon; Joseph Schindewolf, Dysart; Jayden Jackson, Shadow Ridge; Aiden Cunningham, Valley Vista

Honorable Mention
Justin Hernandez, Shadow Ridge; Andrew Sullivan, Valley Vista

Players of the Year
Andrew Rumary, Valley Vista; Josh Cano, Shadow Ridge

Photo Gallery

Posted : 12/6/2019 | Direct Link
Dysart Recognizes All District Girls Volleyball Team
Dysart Recognizes All District Girls Volleyball TeamThe Dysart Unified School District held their annual All District Girls Volleyball Team Award presentation to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary student athletes who displayed excellence in the 2019 season. 

First Team, Second Team, and All Academic Team athletes were selected from Valley Vista, Shadow Ridge, Dysart, and Willow Canyon High Schools.

First Team 
Aliyah Moore, Valley Vista; Alina Nunez, Valley Vista; Abby Allen, Shadow Ridge; Elana Vargas, Willow Canyon; Neeley Eves, Shadow Ridge; Kailin Katena, Valley Vista; Anabelle Gregory, Shadow Ridge; Charlize Ziehmer, Shadow Ridge.

Second Team
Maliyah Spencer, Willow Canyon; Madeline Davis, Shadow Ridge; Rylee Brown, Valley Vista; Kirstane Lopez-Draeger, Dysart; Gloria Moye, Shadow Ridge; Hailey Neumann, Dysart; Madilyn Heinle, Valley Vista; Maddox Richtmyre, Willow Canyon.

All Academic 
Hailey Neumann, Dysart; Aliyah Moore, Valley Vista; Kristy Salazar, Shadow Ridge; Tristen Turlington, Willow Canyon; Madeline Stein, Willow Canyon; Mikayla Cook, Shadow Ridge; Jordan Deal, Valley Vista; Hope Sumner, Dysart.

The All District Teams showcase the continued growth of athletics in the Dysart District, as teams exceed expectations. In the 2019 season, Valley Vista won the 6A Southwest Region, and Shadow Ridge followed in second place, qualifying both teams for the state playoffs.
Posted : 12/4/2019 | Direct Link
High School students honored at Thespian Festival
Valley Vista Theater TroupeThespian groups from all four high schools in the Dysart Unified School District attended the Arizona State Thespian Festival held at the Phoenix Convention Center on November 15th and 16th.  The event featured numerous productions presented by high schools throughout the state. Students also participated in a variety of workshops led by theater professionals from around the country.  

Dysart High School brought 15 students to the festival who learned valuable skills through workshops and collaborated with other Thespians from around the Valley. The Demons competed in the One Act competition with the production, “Acme Studios,” a comedy involving a radio studio from the 1940’s. Dysart earned three Superior recognitions and were in the top ten of all of the One Act productions. 

Shadow Ridge High School theater students were among 47 schools competing in the Thespian Festival. The Stallions received a Straight Superior recognition and the highest score of the festival.  Additionally, the group was named Chapter Select and are invited to take their One Act, “Anatomy of Gray,” to the International Thespian Festival in Bloomington, Indiana this summer. Along with the Superior One Act, the Stallions were recognized as a Gold Honor Troupe for the third year in a row and ranked as a State Superior rated program. These accolades are based off of school involvement, community engagement and service, and scores received through One Act and Individual Event competitions throughout the year.

Valley Vista students from the Intermediate/Advanced acting class traveled to the Thespian Festival and competed in the One Act competition, attended workshops, and participated in the interview and scholarship portion of the event.  The Monsoon received an Excellent recognition in the One Act competition and were ranked a Silver Honor Troupe for the amount of productions, events, competitions, and activities the students participated in last year. Additionally, Sofia Rios, was able to present her Technical Theater portfolio to potential colleges and universities, and was called back for interviews at several post- secondary schools. 

Willow Canyon thespians presented their One Act entitled, “I Don’t Want to Talk About It,” and received a Superior rating from all three judges.  Additionally, the Wildcats took third place in the state.

Arizona Thespians is a group of teachers, students, and professionals who are dedicated to promoting theater education in our schools and community through teamwork, diversity, gratitude, and accountability. Arizona Thespians are affiliated with the International Thespian Society and the Educational Theater Association. Over the last three and a half decades, Arizona Thespians have provided services to over 70,000 adolescents and thousands of educators.
Posted : 11/26/2019 | Direct Link
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