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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 : 2/11/2020 | 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
SRHS Architecture receives Diamondbacks grant
October 24, 2019

The Shadow Ridge High School Architecture Program was awarded a $2,500 STEM grant by the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation School Challenge program, funded by Chase Bank.  The charitable grants have helped schools from across the state with innovative programs such as vocational activities for special education students, digital sculpting for animation art classes, community gardens, after school fitness classes, and much more. Through the School Challenge program, the D-backs have provided more than 200 schools with grants for an overall monetary commitment of more than $950,000 since the program launched in 2012.

The grant will be used to purchase TrackerPro software including head movement tracking cameras and headsets that will allow all students, including those with special needs, the ability to design and draw architectural floor plans, foundation plans, exterior elevations, and related drawings with movements of their head and eyes. These special tracking cameras utilize a small metallic dot attached to glasses, a hat, or a person's forehead to move the cursor on the computer monitor to access drawings commands. This technology will now afford students with physical challenges to pursue a career in architectural design drafting.

The Architecture Program at Shadow Ridge High School includes the Drafting and Design Technologies classes, which are designed to prepare students to apply technical skills via computer assisted design and drafting to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional engineering designs. This program is one of the many Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities which allows students to achieve academic excellence through authentic, hands-on, career focused learning.
Posted : 11/8/2019 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon students attend leadership training
October 2, 2019Willow Canyon SkillsUSA students & Advisor

Six students from Willow Canyon High School traveled to Washington, D.C. for the SkillsUSA Washington Leadership Training Institute.  The Wildcats joined more than 500 students to learn about leadership and talk to Congress about the benefits of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and show how the SkillsUSA journeys have prepared them to be college- and career-ready.

Arianna Peterson, Malachi Delgado, Brandon Smithey, Ekemini MbekAnako, Jaxon Magee and Zydes Diggs were chosen to attend the event as part of the Willow Canyon High School SkillsUSA Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO). Students spent the beginning part of the week preparing for their congressional visit, learning leadership skills, and visiting museums. 

The four-day conference, held annually by SkillsUSA, provides students an opportunity to grow in their professionalism, communication, and leadership skills, which they applied during their legislative visits. The group spoke with Representative Paul Gosar and shared how their CTE Programs transformed their high school experience. Rep. Gosar was very generous with his time and encouraged the students to get involved in local politics and find answers to national issues. 

As part of the event, students were given the opportunity to earn their National Statesman Award. The Statesman is a SkillsUSA honor given to students who demonstrate SkillsUSA knowledge and civic awareness, along with an understanding of the SkillsUSA framework and how to articulate their personal experiences in CTE. All six Willow students competed and earned this recognition. 

“Students were thankful for the amazing opportunity to develop their communication and leadership skills while helping to encourage funding for their programs, Alyson Titkemeyer, Willow Canyon teacher and CTE advisor. 

Willow Canyon High School currently offers CTE Television Production, CTE Graphic Design and CTE Coding classes. Students can also get involved with SkillsUSA, a CTSO that helps develop students leadership and career and technical experience.
Posted : 11/8/2019 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon Named SkillsUSA National Model of Excellence
June 24, 2019

DYSART SCHOOLS — Willow Canyon High School was named a Model of Excellence by SkillsUSA for 2019. This is the highest award bestowed by SkillsUSA to recognize schools for exceptional integration and application of personal, workplace, and technical skills in their chapter activities. Willow Canyon is one of only 24 schools across the country given the honor this year.

“Our Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers do an amazing job creating extraordinary experiences for our students,” said Principal Adam Schwartz. “Through our CTE program, students have relevant learning experiences, and they are building relationships with each other and our faculty.”

Willow Canyon's SkillsUSA chapter is co-curricular and includes students from the Graphic Design, TV Media and Software Development programs, which are led by Stacy Green, Amy McTague, and Alyson Titkemeyer.  As a SkillsUSA Model of Excellence school, students will participate in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., June 24-28. Activities will include finalist interviews and an awards dinner at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

“The Models of Excellence program represents the very best in chapter achievement and community involvement,” said Timothy W. Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. “These students represent our future workforce and reflect the future of their communities. This is a tremendous honor for each school and validates these outstanding SkillsUSA programs as some of the best in the nation.”

The Chapter Excellence Program is provided in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor and Crescent Tools, a premier hand-tool brand from Apex Tool Group. The program promotes the intentional learning of personal skills, workplace skills and technical skills grounded in academics. Achievement is measured by the effectiveness of students’ efforts in implementing essential workplace skills including personal responsibility, integrity, work ethic and organization in chapter activities.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics.

Media inquires can be referred to:
Dysart Unified School District: Renee Ryon, 623-876-7196, [email protected]
SkillsUSA: Jane Short or Karen Kitzel, 703-777-8810, [email protected] or [email protected]
Posted : 8/26/2019 | Direct Link
DHS students earn HOSA gold 
 DHS students earn HOSA gold Dysart High School recently attended the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) International Leadership Conference on June 19-22, 2019, in Orlando, Florida. The HOSA International Leadership Conference is an annual conference for future medical professionals, that consists of several competitive events, sessions, and workshops.
Dysart High School HOSA received the Outstanding Chapter Award, as well as National Service Project Recognition at the conference. Three students received the Barbara James Service Award for their commitment to community service in health. Mackenzie Mitchell received Gold, and Katelyn Marr and Luis Figueroa received Bronze. In addition, Lane Vazquez-Luna received mastery level recognition in Healthcare Issues Exam, and Mario Hernandez was an event finalist in Physical Therapy. 
HOSA is a student-led Career and Technical Student Organization( CTSO) whose mission is to promote career opportunities in the healthcare industry. HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, and collegiate students interested in a career in health care. HOSA helps build the confidence of students by providing opportunities and responsibilities that lead to realistic choices of careers and successful employment in the healthcare field.

CTSO'S  are organizations specifically for students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs (CTE). These organizations engage students through focus on CTE application activities such as developing and practicing leadership roles and applying specific occupational and academic content knowledge as an integral part of the instructional program.
Posted : 7/2/2019 | Direct Link
Shadow Ridge wins big in solar-powered go-kart race
May 3, 2019

Shadow Ridge High School engineering students took first place in the Speed and Endurance categories of the Racing the Sun solar-powered go-kart competition on April 27. Seventeen go-karts from Arizona high schools participated in the race.

“We had a great group of motivated seniors who worked hard to build a competitive kart.  It was very satisfying to see the kart perform well and to see the excitement of the students as they raced to victory,” said team coach and engineering teacher, Eric Bennett.

Shadow Ridge competed in the Maker Kart category, where they built the kart from the ground up. They had to develop the design, and have it approved before they fabricated the kart to ensure it complied with all competition rules and protocols.

The Shadow Ridge team had nine students on the team this year. Students built the kart with help from a local fabrication company, Bravo Tango, for welding, and parts from a bicycle shop, Build-A-Bike. They also received sponsorships from UofA Tech Parks and Tucson Electric Power to help pay for the entry fees and parts.

The competition was put on by the University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona. The Racing the Sun program starts in August, and is designed to introduce students to STEM career pathways. Teams work with industry mentors, participate in a career day and take field trips to high tech companies. As they work on their go-karts, they have the opportunity to solve real-world problems, and apply physics, engineering, math and other critical-thinking skills.
Posted : 6/18/2019 | Direct Link
VVHS counselor recognized with Career Guidance Award
April 16, 2019

VVHS counselor recognized with Career Guidance Award
Lori Luzier, counselor at Valley Vista High School, was recently awarded the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Region Five Career Guidance Award. This award recognizes school counselors and career development professionals who have demonstrated commitment to connecting students with opportunities for success, shown innovation in career exploration and development, and have advocated for CTE as a viable option for all students.

ACTE Region Five is comprised of 17 states and five territories, and recognizes educational professionals in eight different categories. With the regional recognition, Ms. Luzier is now eligible for the national level award.

ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance, and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities, in an effort to provide all students with high quality CTE programs that position them for career success.
Posted : 6/18/2019 | Direct Link
SRHS students earn SkillsUSA accolades
March 28, 2019

Shadow Ridge High School Computer Animation students recently competed in the SkillsUSA Region 5 3D Animation and Visualization competition, held at Thunderbird High School in Phoenix. During this competition, teams of two students each worked together to design, model, and render an animation based on a set of parameters. The students were tasked with creating a 20-30 second advertisement for an eco-friendly product, in which Shadow Ridge students took home honors in first, second, and third place. The students honored include:

First place: Hannah Redwood and Sean Enouen
Second place: Brelynne Montee and Ethan Tri
Third place: Anthony Salamanca and Cooper Bolton

The students will now move onto the SkillsUSA State competition held at the Phoenix Convention Center, April 12-13, 2019.

SkillsUSA provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development by building and reinforcing self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. SkillsUSA emphasizes total quality at work: high ethical standards, superior work skills, lifelong education and pride in dignity of work.

Computer Animation is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program offered at Shadow Ridge and Valley Vista High Schools, that utilizes state of the art digital animation and visual effects software and provides students the opportunity to explore career options and opportunities in the digital animation field. CTE programs prepare students to enter the workforce with the academic and vocational skills needed to compete successfully in the job market. To learn more about CTE programs offered in the Dysart Unified School District, visit
Posted : 6/18/2019 | Direct Link
DECA students honored at state conference
March 11, 2019

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) students from all four Dysart Unified School District high schools were recently honored at the DECA State Career Development Conference, held in Phoenix.

The DECA State Career Development Conference competition allows students to compete in various business and marketing events and industry validated and aligned with national curriculum standards. The following DECA chapters were recognized for their achievements.

Shadow Ridge High School
Chapter Awards: Elite Chapter Award
First Place: Cole Callister, Logan Casey, Brody Fussell, Karolina Gierlach, Ryan McDaniel, Sloane McFarland, Julianne Meyer, Kiara Nelson, Shane Rath, Serenity Senft, Katey Smith, Tanner Smith, Aidan Volkman, and Caitlin Walton
International Qualifiers: Lydia Brown, Zoe Classen, Meghan Crisan, Bryson Fussell, Michael Link, Melody Mauro, Jamie Springer, Cole Summers, and Yvonne Reyes.
Valley Vista High School
Chapter Awards: Gold Level Diamond Award, and Elite Chapter Award
First Place Overall: Caroline Dors.
First Place: Jordan DeLaro and Hailey Amos.
Second Place Overall: Serena Rodarte.
Willow Canyon High School
Gio Miranda was a finalist, and Josh Tunac was a medalist for Top 10% in testing.
Dysart High School
Chapter Awards: Silver Diamond Club Award, Elite Highest Chapter Award, and Chapter Affiliate Award
First Place: Kourkis Shamaoon and Blake Dryer.
Finalist Gold Medal: Vincent Randol, Kourkis Shamaoon and Blake Dryer.
Executive Elite Member of the Year, and International Emerging Leader Honor Award of the Year: Maurice Policarpio, Khaliyah Kelly, and Angel Sanchez
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 : 6/18/2019 | Direct Link
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