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Willow Canyon News

students that signed college acceptance letters

National Signing Day

Congratulations to all the students that signed their college acceptance letters today. We wish you much success!

02/01/2023 Direct Link

Theater Curtains

Willow Canyon Theatre Presents:

WCHS Theatre Troupe will be presenting The Odd Couple (the Female Version) on Jan 26-28. Please click the link below to purchase tickets:

Buy Tickets Here

01/19/2023 Direct Link

MLK Day with flag

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our school will be closed Monday Jan 16. We will return Tuesday, Jan 17th

01/10/2023 Direct Link

Wrestling

WCHS Winter Sports

WCHS Athletics' Winter season is jammed packed with events in January. Click on the link below for the full winter sports schedule

WCHS Althetics

01/05/2023 Direct Link

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Our School will be closed starting Weds, Dec 21st through Jan 5th, with students retuning to school on Thursday. 

We wish you a sage and wonderful Holiday!

12/21/2022 Direct Link

girls studying

Final Exam Bell Schedule

Please see below the Final Exam Bell Schedule for Mon and Tues, Dec 19-20


Mon, Dec 19: 

Period 1:   7:15-8:15 

Period 2:   8:20-9:20 

Period 3:   9:30-10:30    


Tues, Dec 20:

Period 4:  7:15-8:15 

Period 5:  8:20-9:20 

Period 6:  9:30-10:30


12/12/2022 Direct Link

book

Yearbooks on sale

Get your yearbook today! Yearbooks prices start at $75.00. Visit Yearbook Order Center and enter our school code: 16273. If you have questions, contact Amy McTague at [email protected]

12/08/2022 Direct Link

letterpress that spell out Join Us

Future Freshman Night

Please join us on Monday, Dec 5, at 5:00pm for Future Freshman Night to learn about high school expectations, unique programs, and the process for registration and class selection. These meetings are designed to provide incoming freshmen with an overview of the academic programs available at Willow Canyon High School.  

11/28/2022 Direct Link

Happy Thanksgiving message

Happy Thanksgiving

Willow Canyon will be closed Monday, Nov 21 through Friday, Nov 25, 2022 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. We wish everyone a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving

11/14/2022 Direct Link

Vetarans Day Remembrance with flag

Vetaran's Day

On this day, we reflect and remember those who are currently serving, those that have served and everyone that sacrificed for our freedom. 

“Their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” Daniel Webster

11/07/2022 Direct Link

star with abstract background

Willow Canyon Earns an “A” Rating

Willow Canyon High School is excited to announce that we have received an A-rating from the newly-released 2022 State of Arizona accountability labels. This letter grade provides us a glimpse into many areas of proficiency and growth for our school, including information about student achievement, college and career readiness, student growth, and other key areas of interest. We appreciate our hardworking students, staff and parents for their contributions in making our school an A-rated school! 

Willow Canyon was also ranked among the Top 20 public comprehensive high schools in the state of Arizona!

This is the first time the state has issued new labels since 2018-2019, due to House Bill’s 2910 and 2402, which temporarily paused the issuing of A-F letter grades.

About School Letter Grades: Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-241 requires the Arizona Department of Education, subject to final adoption by the State Board of Education, to develop an annual achievement profile for every public school in the state based on an A through F scale. The system measures year to year student academic growth, proficiency on English language arts, math and science, the proficiency and academic growth of English language learners, indicators that an elementary student is ready for success in high school and that high school students are ready to succeed in a career or higher education and high school graduation rates. 

11/01/2022 Direct Link

Student with binoculars looking at different career fields

Career and College Expo

 Dysart Unified School District invites parents and students to a Career and College Expo on Wednesday, October 26 from 5:30 - 7:30pm at the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N. Parkview Place in Surprise.  

The expo showcases Dysart's Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, West-MEC, colleges and universities, and military representatives so families can explore opportunities to pursue in and after high school. This is a great way for 5th through 11th grade students and their parents to get hands-on with all of the career pathway classes and programs offered at Dysart Schools. The event is free and open to the public. Details can be found at www.dysart.org/CTEexpo

Dysart Schools currently offer 17 CTE programs at four high schools (Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, Valley Vista High School, and Willow Canyon High School.) Program options include Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, Digital Animation, Digital Photography, Education Professions, Engineering, Film and TV Production, Fire Science, Graphic Design, Laboratory Assisting, Law and Public Safety, Marketing, Nursing Services, Software and App Design, Sports Medicine, Stagecraft Design and Production and Technology Device Maintenance. Learn more at www.dysart.org/CTE

10/25/2022 Direct Link

Willow Canyon Cross Country Team

Cross Country District Cup

Willow Canyon did well at the District Cup yesterday afternoon.  Two of our athletes placed top 10. Iris Baker: 8th Girls Varsity Dyllan Farnsworth: 8th Boys Varsity

10/25/2022 Direct Link

Girls Golf team and Coach with District cup

Girls Golf District Champs

Congratulations to the Lady Wildcats who took back the District cup from Valley to cap off an excellent year. We have 12 dedicated young women on the team, each one contributed to this season's success. 

10/17/2022 Direct Link

Fall leaves

Fall Break

Fall Break Oct 10 - 14, 2022. Classes will resume on Monday, Oct 17th. Have a safe and wonderful break

10/03/2022 Direct Link

Marching band drums

WCHS Band

The WCHS Band will be competing at the Verrado Invitational on Sat, Oct 01st, with a performance time of 6:30pm at Verrado High School, 20050 W Indian School Rd, Buckeye. Come out and support the band!

09/27/2022 Direct Link

Badminton Team

WILLOW CANYON BADMINTON CHAMPS!

WCHS Badminton team played in the DUSD tournament last Friday. Singles, Veronica Eddy and Mya Welling, did very well in the first round, but lost in round 2 against some tough opponents. Doubles teams, McKenna Lee/Savannah Herzog and Sydney Hrabak/Sophia Bell swept the competition. McKenna and Savannah came out victorious and are reining doubles champs for the 2nd year in a row!

09/19/2022 Direct Link

Homecoming Dance

Homecoming Dance

Homecoming tickets are on sale until Friday, Sept 16 in the bookstore. Tickets are $25.00

09/14/2022 Direct Link

Football

WC Varsity Football Game

Willow Canyon Varsity football team has a home game vs. Desert View (Tucson, AZ) on Friday, September 9 @ 7pm


Click here to watch the Live Broadcast

09/06/2022 Direct Link

American Flag

Sept 5th - Labor Day

There is no school in observance of Labor Day

08/30/2022 Direct Link

person's hand cupped to ear

Principal's Weekly Newsletters

Every week, Dr. Schwartz emails his WCHS Newsletter to parents and students. They contain important information and upcoming events. You can also access current and past newsletters by clicking the link below

WCHS Newsletters

08/26/2022 Direct Link

putting green

Upcoming Events Week of Aug 22-28

Tuesday, 8/23 

Boys Golf @ Peoria Pines Golf Course @ 3pm 

Badminton vs. Verrado @ 4pm


Wednesday, 8/24 

Girls Golf @ Az Traditions Golf Course @ 3pm

Volleyball Scrimmage @3:30pm


Thursday, 8/25 

Badminton @ Independence @ 4pm

Varsity Football Scrimmage vs. St. Mary's @ 6:30pm

08/24/2022 Direct Link

a person reading a book

Testing Bell Schedule - Tuesday 8/23

On Tuesday, 8/23 Grades 9-11 will be testing between 7:15am and 10:45am. During testing, any seniors on campus will be in the media center for study hall. We understand that this bell schedule may conflict with West-MEC or other off campus responsibilities. If you are unable to attend any classes, please call our attendance line at 623-523-8000 and make sure that your absence is verified. Please click the link below to view testing schedule.


Testing Bell Schedule Tuesday 8/23 


08/17/2022 Direct Link

Senior Portraits

Senior Graduation Portraits

Attention Seniors:  

Grads Photography is our official yearbook Senior Portrait Photographer. Please click the link below to make an Appointment ASAP. Deadline for Senior Portraits is Tuesday, Oct 17, 2022


GRADS PHOTOGRAPHY


08/08/2022 Direct Link

WCHS Staff Recognition

WCHS Staff Recognition

The faculty and staff at Willow Canyon do amazing things every day.  We want your help in recognizing some of the extraordinary experiences you have with them.  We invite parents, students and community members to recognize any staff member using this form.  We will present certificates to our staff members on a weekly basis.

WCHS Staff Recognition


08/05/2022 Direct Link

Fall Photo Day

Fall Photos Aug 5th (9th-11th only)

Grads Photography will be on site to take Fall Photos for Grades 9-11 on Friday, August 5th. Dress Code will be enforced. This will also be ID's for all grades. Seniors must make an appointment with Grads Photography for Senior Portraits 623-566-1082 or on-line GRADS PHOTOGRAPHY

08/04/2022 Direct Link

computer and books

Important Back To School Information

Willow Canyon staff is so excited for the first week of school!  


For all your 2022-2023 Back to School Information click here. Pages three and four contain important information. The mandatory "Annual Student Update '' MUST be completed each year by logging into your Parent Portal. If you do not have a Parent Portal account click here to create one. 


We look forward to seeing you: 

9th graders - Tuesday, August 2nd Freshman Day, 7:15 - 12:15

All Students - 1st day of school Wednesday, August 3rd.

07/26/2022 Direct Link

Back To School

Willow Canyon 101

WCHS 101 - Thursday, July 28, 5:30-6:30pm:  This is a presentation geared for new Willow Canyon Parents.  Administration will share information about WCHS and what you need to know as a parent.  This event is held in the WCHS Auditorium.

07/13/2022 Direct Link

Students ready to start school

Welcome Back!

We can't wait to see everyone back for the first day of school on August 3! Make sure you mark your calendars for event and activity dates and keep an eye on our new website for important information as the start of school approaches. 


Our Open House will be on August 2 from 5:30-7:00pm. Freshman Orientation will be August 2 beginning at 7:15am. Please join us to see the campus, meet your child's teachers, and get information on what to expect this year.  


Still need to enroll? There's still time to get your children enrolled for the 2022-2023 school year! Parents and guardians can complete the necessary registration information online at Dysart.org/enroll at any time.  Please note that in order to finalize registration the following documents will be required: government issued photo identification; birth certificate; proof of residency; and immunization records. For additional assistance with student registration, families are welcome to contact our front office. 


Don't forget to make sure you have access to the Parent Portal to keep up with your child’s academic progress throughout the year! Sign up or access the site online at Dysart.org/parentportal or via the Campus Parent app. 

06/29/2022 Direct Link

School lunch

School Breakfast and Lunch

Dysart Nutrition Services ensures that students at all schools have fresh, wholesome and nutritious breakfast and lunch options to support their education and focus in class. Learn more about Nutrition Services at Dysart.org/Nutrition. Menus and nutritional information may be viewed at Dysart.Nutrislice.com.

Apply for Free and Reduced Meals

Beginning July 1, 2022 the USDA is returning to income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced meals. All families should complete a Free and Reduced Lunch Application at SchoolCafe.com to help maintain school funding and make sure that qualified families receive this and other benefits. Only one application is required per family, and may be completed at SchoolCafe.com.

How to Add Meal Funds to an Account

Cash and checks are accepted for meal purchases, or families may utilize SchoolCafe.com to prepay for meals online, view their balances, or place restrictions on purchases. Online payments take 24 hours to post to student accounts.  

Meal Prices 

  • Elementary Lunch $2.60, Reduced $.40, Adult $3.50  
  • Elementary Breakfast $1.25, Reduced $.30, Adult $1.75  High School Lunch $2.85, Reduced $.40, Adult $3.50  
  • High School Breakfast $1.25, Reduced $.30, Adult $1.75 

A la carte and snack items are available for purchase on each campus, and additional meals are available for an added charge. Parents are always welcome to dine with their child, but please be sure to call in advance and check-in at the school office. Adult meals may be purchased for $1.75 for breakfast or $3.50 for lunch. 

06/02/2022 Direct Link

teacher working with students in a classroom

Employment Opportunities in Dysart

Dysart is the largest employer in both the cities of Surprise and El Mirage with over 2,700 employees. Dysart Schools offer highly competitive salaries, full benefits and an inviting school-year calendar with holidays and weekends off for most positions. 

With a wide-variety of positions ranging from groundskeeper, to mechanic, to office staff, and teachers, we’re always looking for great people to join our Dysart team!

Current High Need Areas: 

  •  Bus Drivers and Aides
  •  Childcare and Preschool Aides
  •  Paraprofessionals
  •  Behavioral Technicians 
  •  Speech and Language Pathologists 
  •  Special Education Teachers 
  •  Math Teachers 
  •  Science Teachers 
  •  ASL Teachers 
  •  Health Services Assistants 
  •  Crossing Guards 
  •  Maintenance Workers and Plant Managers 
  •  Social Workers

Check out our current openings at Dysart.org/Careers and apply today!

06/02/2022 Direct Link

adult on laptop

Stay Informed on the Parent Portal

The Parent Portal is a great tool to stay informed 24/7 about your child’s academic progress. Grades, attendance, assignments and more are viewable in real time online or via the app, Campus Parent. A single login allows parents with multiple students to access information for all of their children in one place. Learn more at Dysart.org/ParentPortal.

Update Your Communication Preferences and Contact Info

To make sure that we can keep you informed in emergency situations, please ensure that your contact information is current in the Parent Portal. You are also able to adjust your communication preferences (phone, text, and/or email) at Dysart.org/ParentPortal or on the Campus Parent app to ensure you are getting the various message types in the way that you would like. Remember that if you select more than one type of communication per category, you will receive the message multiple times via each of those avenues.

06/02/2022 Direct Link

Valley Vista High School students pose with their awards at a recent FBLA competition

CTE students earn honors at state and international competitions

It was a busy season for Career and Technical Education (CTE)  students throughout the district who competed at state and international level in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and SkillsUSA state conferences, and the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) International Career Development Conference.

The FCCLA State Leadership Conference was held on March 28-30, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona.  The competition allows students to compete in over 30 different events, meet the current State Executive Council and State Officer Candidates, qualify for the National Leadership Conference in San Diego, and network with members across Arizona.  

Valley Vista High School students received the following recognitions: Olivia Black earned a gold medal and a perfect score in Chicken Fabrication, Megan Gatz and Sierra Painter both won silver in Culinary Arts, and Joselyn Villegas won bronze in Food Innovations.

FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life - planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal communication - all necessary within the home and workplace. FCCLA is unique among youth organizations because its programs are planned and run by members.

The FBLA State Leadership conference was held on April 4-6 in Tucson, Arizona. The event gives students the opportunity to advance to the national conference, compete in a variety of competitions, participate in workshops, and run for state office for FBLA. 

Dysart High School students Jared Wilson, Ryan Maisano, Bryan Naiuli, Damien Cordero, and Devonte Reed placed in the top five for Parliamentary Procedures. Valley High School students Lilly Smith and Raven Cardosi placed second in 3D Animation.

FBLA inspires and prepares students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences.

Students from all four district high schools competed in the SkillsUSA State Competition hosted April 19-20, 2022 in Phoenix.  This event is the premier showcase for Arizona’s trade, technology and service high school and college students. This annual championship features over 75 skills and leadership competitions that determine who will represent Arizona at the national SkillsUSA Championships.  

Gage Fuentes from Dysart High School earned the Silver medal in Auto Tech Basic.  Several students from Shadow Ridge High School earned medals including Jordyn Jones who earned a gold medal in T-Shirt Design and a Silver medal in Advertising Design.  Alysa Horton received a gold medal for Stage Coach Interview Skills.  Zachary Hampton and  Joseph Holm earned second Place Web Development & Design.  Jacob Bacome and Brian Bucsi won gold in 3D Visualization, and Tyler Winter and Tyler Cain won a bronze medal in Additive Manufacturing.  Willow Canyon High School students Allison Kotzbauer, Eli Hernandez, and Morgan West won gold in Career Pathways Showcase: Arts and Communication and the club was named a gold Chapter of Excellence.

SkillsUSA is a Career and Technical Education partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. 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. A nonprofit national education association, SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service (including health) occupations.

Students from Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, and Willow Canyon High School competed in the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) on April 23-26 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The event allows students to compete with more than 10,000 DECA students from across the country.  Students participated in the Emerging Leaders Series in order to attain 21st Century Skills in the areas of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.  Students also network with hundreds of representatives in the college and career exhibits as they plan for their future.

Shadow Ridge High School student Jamie Springer was a top ten finalist in Project Management Community Awareness event, and Noah Axelson, Lily McDaniel, Kloey Garcia earned 6th place in the Virtual Business Restaurant. 

Irene Silva, Bethanie Lopez-Draeger and Servando Lopez from Dysart High School won a gold medal in the Small Business Enterprise Food Operations Competition.  Dysart High students Lorenzo Roman and Dawn Jones took fourth place in the Business Law and Ethics Competition. 

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 dysart.org/cte.

05/19/2022 Direct Link

HOSA students from all four district high school pose for a photo at the state conference.

HOSA students compete at State Conference

Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) students from Dysart High School, Willow Canyon High School, and Shadow Ridge High School competed in the HOSA State Leadership Conference held in Tucson March 30 - April 1. 

HOSA is a student-led organization that seeks to empower students to become leaders in the global health community, through education, collaboration, and experience. The HOSA State Leadership conference provides students the opportunity to use the skills they have learned in their Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses and apply them to a competitive events program. 

Students had the opportunity to compete in multiple different events, participate in workshops, and network with current healthcare professionals as well as other students from across the state. 

Congratulations to the following students for their achievements in their respective events. 

Willow Canyon student Alyssa Morris placed second in Medical Terminology, Tyrah Davis placed fifth in Prepared Speaking, Kenna Moore placed fifth in Medical Law & Ethics, Hailey Amos placed fourth in Nursing Assisting, Kristin Anderson placed third in Human Growth & Development, and Melody Holland, Kenna Moore, Lauren Buseman, Elizabeth Wood and McKenna Moreno placed top eight in the Anatomage Competition. In addition, Kennedy Wilson and Isabella Buoscio qualified for the International Leadership Conference for their performance in the Healthcare Issues event. 

Dysart High School student Lindy Pottle placed first in Medical Reading, Maeve Shapera, Charity Sumner, Amaya Menjivar, Denice Calderon, Alyssa Blandford, and Alicia Parra placed first in MRC Partnership, Eden Mussleman, Sarah Weller, Victoria Mather, and Dora Mazariego placed third in Medical Innovations, Shayne Vasquez and Makenzie Maloof placed fourth in Medical Innovations, Abbigail Kizer and Ruben Jimenez placed fifth in Health Education, and Lane Vazquez Luna placed fifth in Epidemiology. Additionally, Marisol Trejo, Alejandro Arevalo and Briana Torres received the Barbara James Service Award, and Lane Vazquez Luna and Lindy Pottle were the recipients of HOSA scholarships in the amounts of $500 and $2,000. Overall, Dysart High School had 17 students qualify to compete in the International Conference.

The HOSA International Leadership Conference will take place on June 22-25, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. 

HOSA is a student-led Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) specifically for students enrolled in CTE programs. The mission of HOSA 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. 

04/29/2022 Direct Link

Willow Canyon key club students pose with their trophies and certificates.

Willow Canyon Key Club honored for service

Congratulations to the Willow Canyon High School Key Club students who were honored at the Southwest District Convention for Kiwanis/Key Club. 

The Key Club earned first place Platinum in the Single Service Project category this year for their Veterans Project entered by Mairin McCormack. 

The Veterans Project was a group-wide effort of more than 90 Key Club members.  Students collected non-perishable food items, personal care items, toys, magazines, board games, blankets, clothing, and dog food for active military serving overseas, homeless Veterans, Veterans in transition, and K9 Veterans.  In addition, more than 1,700 letters of encouragement and support were written by the Willow Canyon student body to accompany the donated items to the service men and women.

The Key Club also earned two second place recognitions for the Platinum Club Achievement Award entered by Savannah Bowen and the Traditional Scrapbook Award entered by Sydney Lunzer.

Additionally, students earned special recognition for completing hours of service. Savannah Bowen, Sydney Lunzer, Matthew Guardion, and Kaitlyn Shiffer were honored for clocking in 150 hours this year. Mairin McCormack, Cheyenne Shiffer, Regan Wasmund, and Madison Wood volunteered more than 100 hours of service this school year.

“I am beyond proud of all the hard work and dedication our 99 club members achieved this year with helping our school, district, and Surprise community,” shared Willow Canyon Key Club Sponsor Kimberly Warnas-Maust.

The first and second place honors qualifies the Willow Canyon Key Club to attend the Key Club International Convention hosted in Washington, D.C. in July to compete against other clubs from all over the world.

Key Club is a student-led organization that provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership. The Willow Canyon Key Club is part of the Estrella Division which aims to cooperate with administrators and teachers to provide high school students with invaluable experience in living and working together and to prepare them for useful citizenship.  Members develop initiative and leadership skills by serving their schools and communities.

04/12/2022 Direct Link

Logan MacDonald, Choir Director at Willow Canyon High School, poses with students in his classroom.

Willow Canyon Teacher named Educator of Distinction

Logan MacDonald, Choir Director at Willow Canyon High School, was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).  This honor recognizes exemplary educators whose passion and devotion inspire their students to grow and develop as scholars, leaders and citizens.

Each year student members of the NSHSS are invited to nominate the educator who has made the most significant contribution to their academic career for the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award. 

MacDonald was nominated by Alexa Felix, a Willow Canyon High School senior and NSHSS member who has been in his choir class for all four years of high school. “Mr. Mac has taught me to be confident in who I am and to push forward through anything that comes my way,” said Alexa. “He always shows me that I can break down any limits I place on myself. He has also created a family in our choir program that has made me excited to go to school and grow with everyone around me.”

Mr. MacDonald is in his seventh year teaching and serving as the Choir Director at Willow Canyon. The choir groups have won several accolades under his leadership including Excellent and Superior ratings for concert choir, and top five honors for show choir in competitions throughout the southwest. "I am so lucky to be able to work with such amazing students every single day,” said MacDonald.  “Any recognition really belongs to the kids and the effort they give to make Willow Canyon Choir such an incredible experience!”

The National Society of High School Scholars seeks to advance the goals and aspirations of high-achieving students through unique learning experiences, scholarships, internships, international studies and peer networks.  For more information, visit www.nshss.org.

10/15/2021 Direct Link

Steve Wallgren, Willow Canyon High School Theatre Teacher, speaks with students in the performing arts center.

Willow Canyon Teacher Nominated for Arts Award

Mr. Steve Wallgren, Willow Canyon High School Theatre Teacher, was named one of five finalists for the 2021 Inaugural Tancer Arts in Education Award by Act One.  The Tancer award recognizes Arizona teachers dedicated to sharing a love of the arts with their students.

Wallgren has been a teacher and educator for 18 years, including eight years teaching students in Dysart Schools, and four as the theatre teacher at Willow Canyon.  He has produced nine shows including Noises Off, Shrek, Sister Act, and the latest production, Mary Poppins.  Tickets available at https://www.onthestage.tickets/willow-canyon-theatre. Wallgren was also a finalist for the Governor’s Arts Award last year. 

The award received its name in memory of Robert "Bob" Tancer, local art advocate extraordinaire, who passed away in March 2020. Bob was an active member of the Act One board, believing in the organization's mission and working on the committee to expand the educational depth of the field trip experience.  Bob saw the tremendous role the teacher played in making the experience rich and educationally rewarding.

Act One is a nonprofit founded in 2011 to provide children in Title 1 schools in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties with the opportunity to experience arts performances and exhibitions through field trips to professional theaters and museums. Act One provides meaningful arts experiences that enhance the academic and creative potential of children and families in Arizona. For more information on Act One, visit www.act1az.org.

09/17/2021 Direct Link

Trevor Tuttle from Willow Canyon poses at his house.

Willow Canyon student shares IB experience

Trevor Tuttle graduated in 2019 from Willow Canyon High School with a standard high school diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The IB Diploma is a rigorous two-year diploma where students are required to test in six different classes, write an extended essay, complete a course in Theory of Knowledge, and complete 150 hours in creativity, action and service. “Trevor is the typical IB Diploma candidate,” says IB Coordinator, Dr. Jason Ward. “He is the rule, not the exception. Most of our IB Diploma earners enter the university of their choice with plenty of public and private scholarships packaged with up to 24 credits that save students and their parents considerably in tuition dollars.” Dr. Ward took the time during the 2021 graduation week to sit down with Trevor and interview him as to his perceptions of the IB education he received. This interview comes two years after he graduated from high school allowing him to give an accurate and thoughtful reflection of what the IB Diploma really meant to him. 

What is your greatest memory from your International Baccalaureate education at Willow Canyon High School?

In studying for our exams, some of our teachers would hold a group study during class or outside of school. In the event where they did not, students would instead hold something together in order to study. While we were studying, we also realized that we were a little stressed and so we would joke around and try our best to enjoy that time together. The IB Program is small so most everyone is pretty close and everyone knows each other, and this even applies a bit to the relationships with teachers.

What was your favorite aspect of the IB Program? 

Looking back, I believe that the college level courses were the greatest part of the program. I learned high level material that was almost repeated to me in some of my college courses, but I also got experience in writing and taking exams at a college level. For example, the Extended Essay seemed like a huge undertaking but all of my extensive research papers that I have had to write while in college used those same skills, and since I had the experience, this was something that I did with ease. I think the CAS project was also a great aspect because it makes some of the active and social things that students want to do something that they need to do. While it is not on the same scale as a Capstone Project, it also prepares students for the Capstone Project that they will need to complete. A Capstone is a project that students complete in their junior or senior year which takes everything that they have learned in their courses, and they must apply it. For my Honors Capstone, I am in the middle of shooting a feature length documentary film using state-of-the-art equipment provided to me by the school.

What other activities did you participate in while in the IB Program?

While in the IB Program, I also participated in the National Honors Society, Willow Canyon’s Media Club, and the SkillsUSA chapter. In two of those clubs, I held an officer role. I also was involved in sports broadcasting for football and basketball.

Some may think that to participate in a program like IB, you have to give up everything else. How was your social life impacted as a result of your IB education?

IB feels like a lot of work and can be a little daunting, but while I was in the IB program, I was actually more social than before. I am not a social person but during this time, I hung out with friends a few times throughout the year, I attended both homecoming and prom, and many of the sports games. I had plenty of time to attend all the clubs I went to, and a lot of time to spend playing video games with my closest friends online after school. Currently, I created and I am running the first SkillsUSA chapter at NAU, working for the NAU Engineering College in Marketing,  all while taking 19-23 credits a semester. I have had plenty of time to go out and hang out with friends or spend time alone playing video games. Through IB, I learned how to manage my own time and workload in high school. 

My grandmother used to say “proof is in the pudding.” How did the IB diploma impact you (whether positively or negative)? In other words, was it worth it? If so, how? If not, how not? 

The IB diploma was worth it both for the credits that you can receive from taking the tests, but also for the ability to do a lot of rigorous coursework. Going into college, I received 19 transfer credits. I received two credits for English, six credits for two film classes that I did not have to take later in college, three credits for psychology, and eight credits for Spanish. As a film student with a minor in psychology, this definitely helped speed up my college career, but I also received plenty of credit for transfer classes. For example, while many people may not be studying a foreign language in college, some colleges require you to take a certain amount of foreign language. In the NAU Honors College, you are required to take two foreign language courses, something that was fulfilled by my IB credit. Another way in which IB impacted me was in regard to how much I could handle in my coursework. I know at the time, many of us were a little stressed in high school with IB, but once I got into college, my advisor told me that I was going to be taking 6 classes a week for a total of 16 credits. I told my advisor that I wanted to take 19 credits because after being in IB, taking less classes felt like I was getting it too easy. As of now, I have taken 18-19 credits a semester with ease and a 4.0 GPA in Honors. This last spring semester, I took a total of 21 credits, and this fall I will be ending my undergraduate career by taking 23 credits. Through my time in the IB Program, I learned how to manage my time, how to study effectively, and how to deal with stress, letting me take more credits than other college students around me. At NAU, I did receive the Lumberjack Scholars Award, meaning that my tuition was paid for. However, I still had to pay for housing which costs about $3600 a semester, around $1,000 in fees, plus expenses like food and school supplies. I will be graduating a year and a half earlier than my expected graduation, meaning I am saving at least $14, 000. With that being said, I do not use the meal plans on campus, saving some of the cost as well. NAU offers an IB Scholarship, but since it only covers tuition, I was not eligible since I received the Lumberjack Scholars Award. Overall, it was extremely worth it. Not only did I feel prepared for college level courses once I began my college classes, I also was told that my writing and other academic skills were a higher level than the level of classes I have taken so far. While writing research papers, I have been told that my writing reflects the 400 level or graduate level writing rather than the writing of a junior. I have also received an Honors Best Paper Award from the NAU Honors College for an essay that I had written in one of my Honors classes. In my film classes, I was with students who were touching cameras for the first time in their lives, while I was able to do everything the professor wanted without listening to the lecture. I was able to pick up important life and academic skills, skills related to specific courses like English and Film, and I was able to save thousands in the cost for my college education.

All things considered, would you do it again? Explain.

There is absolutely no part of me that could say no to this question. Knowing what I know now, I never would have doubted being in the IB Program. For a brief time, I figured that it was not going to help me as much as others talked about, but after entering college, I realized that I was instead helped more than I think most others expected. I do not think that I would have the grades, the social life, the work life, or the academic career that I currently have without that experience and time that I have spent in the IB Program.

What advice do you have for parents and students considering the IB program? 

IB feels like a lot of work and that the end-goal is hard to see at the moment, but it is worth it. You should definitely look at colleges and determine what credits you will get for passing the tests, as well as some of the liberal arts and elective courses that they may also require from students. IB prepares you for college classes in a way that puts you so ahead of the game that it is truly unbelievable. All of my teachers were extremely helpful and people who I respected and got to know a little more on a personal level. The cost can be a little intimidating but nothing compared to the cost of one semester in college. IB was definitely the greatest decision I probably made in high school and is one that has paid off so unbelievably for me.

The International Baccalaureate Program (IB) courses are offered exclusively at Willow Canyon High School and challenges academically talented students to reach high levels of achievement in a broad range of subjects and allow two different participation tracks: IB diploma and IB certificate. The International Baccalaureate Organizations Diploma Program is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examinations. IB schools have earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world's leading universities. Students can apply for the IB program for their junior and senior years.  If any parent or student has questions regarding the IB Diploma, please reach out to Dr. Ward directly by emailing him at [email protected]

07/19/2021 Direct Link

Willow Canyon student Lauren Nolin poses for a photo.

Willow Canyon student selected as prestigious University of Arizona KEYS Intern

Lauren Nolin, a senior from Willow Canyon High School, was chosen to be a part of the University of Arizona KEYS Research Internship program. The KEYS program is a unique summer opportunity where 52 motivated Arizona high school students with a strong interest in bioscience, engineering, environmental health, data science, and biostatistics will work with the top University of Arizona faculty on professional research projects that address the world's greatest challenges. This seven week program allows students to network with established researchers and use state of the art research equipment. 

The application process included an essay demonstrating Lauren’s passion and experience with science and a thirty minute interview with the program donors to further specify her research interests. 

For the next two months, students will be matched with research laboratories based on their interests. Lauren is hoping to study neurogenetic research pertaining to the drug development in abnormal psychological disorder medications. 

Prior to engaging in research, KEYS interns are immersed in a one-week crash-course in a variety of bioscience and data science techniques, as well as the foundations of science literacy to ensure they have the base knowledge necessary to begin their assigned projects. KEYS interns are paired with leading University of Arizona researchers spearheading innovative projects that span multiple disciplines. Faculty, university students and other lab personnel mentor the students to provide an invaluable opportunity to these budding scholars. At the close of the program, KEYS interns present what they’ve learned and experienced to friends, family, and the academic community at a research showcase.

"Being accepted into this program has meant a great deal to me. It has taken me two years of hard work to get to this point. I had to take the reins of my own education to uncover my passion for research,” said Lauren.

“I hope to learn valuable skills that will assist me in my future career. I also hope to attain an accurate glimpse into how professional research is conducted. I can't wait to see where this journey will take me!".

The KEYS program is led by the BIO5 Institute and funded by BIO5 and generous supporters including individuals, families, companies, foundations and various UArizona faculty, colleges and departments. The Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF) that helped launch BIO5 almost 20 years ago continues to be a catalyst in enabling effective, cross-disciplinary bioscience research, innovation and impact at the University

03/31/2021 Direct Link

Willow Canyon students pose with their Cambridge exam certificates.

Students excel on Cambridge exams

Willow Canyon High School recently held a ceremony to recognize students in the Cambridge Program for their outstanding performance on the June 2020 international examinations.

Jenelle McCoy, Emelie McFeely, Emily Poling, Andrea Popescu, Paul Baquilod, Laurel Chapman, Karim Jayyusi, Allison Kotzbauer, Chloe Lobmeyer, and Isabel Martinez demonstrated college readiness by excelling in all core subject areas of the examinations. Their extraordinary performance has earned them the opportunity to pursue the Grand Canyon Diploma, which allows students early entry into college courses and can be used for admission to select colleges and universities. 

Emily Poling received the Certificate of Distinction, which recognizes students' extraordinary performance by earning an “A” or higher in at least three courses during the examination series. 

In addition, 14 students received the Certificate of Merit by earning a “B” or higher in at least three courses; 37 students received the Cambridge Scholar Award for receiving a “C” or higher in at least three courses; and 24 students received recognition for demonstrating college and career readiness in at least one subject area. 

Cambridge courses are offered in over 100 countries and recognized by higher education institutions worldwide. The program encourages student-centered learning and hands-on application of skills. The Cambridge Program is currently offered at Willow Canyon High School and Dysart High School. 

For those interested in learning more about the Cambridge Program, Willow Canyon will be holding a Virtual Information Night on January 28, 2021 at 6pm via Zoom. Anyone interested can access the meeting through the link below during the scheduled time of the event. 

01/19/2021 Direct Link

portrait of Caitlin daly from willow canyon high school.

Willow Canyon student aces ACT

Congratulations to Caitlin Daly from Willow Canyon High School for earning high marks on the American College Test (ACT).  Caitlin received a composite score of 34 on the ACT, including a perfect score of 36 on the individual Science and English portions of the exam.  Caitlin’s total score ranks in the 99th percentile at both state and national levels.

Caitlin has been in advanced classes in all four years of high school and is active in several clubs throughout the school. During her freshman and sophomore year, Caitlin took Cambridge classes and earned a Certificate of Merit on the test from Cambridge International in her first year at Willow Canyon. She is in several International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) classes and earned high marks for the U.S. Politics and Government AP exam. Caitlin is a member of the SkillsUSA Career and Technical Support Organization (CTSO), serves as president of the Anime and Table-Top Gaming Club and participated in photography, literature and National Honor Society, previously.  

Caitlin has been accepted to the Northern Arizona University Honors College and will be applying to other universities, including Stanford.  She is heavily considering Linguistics as a major. 

The ACT assessment is a curriculum and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses junior and senior students' academic readiness for college. The assessment serves as an effective tool to monitor academic progress and student growth.The ACT was made available to all Dysart Unified School District junior and senior high school students free of charge by a grant provided by the Arizona Governor’s Office. 

12/16/2020 Direct Link

Michaela Melara from Willow Canyon High School was selected as a semi-finalist for the $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholarship.

Willow Canyon student named scholarship semifinalist

Michaela Melara from Willow Canyon High School was selected as a semi-finalist for the $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholarship.  Michaela is one of 1,609 semi-finalists chosen among 99,403 applicants this year for their outstanding leadership, academic achievements, and dedication to their community.  She is the only student from the West Valley to be selected as a semi-finalist.

Michaela is in the top one percent of her class and will be attending Northern Arizona University to study Pre-Medicine as a Biology major in the fall of 2021. She is in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at Willow Canyon. Michaela also serves as the president of Key Club, secretary of the National Honor Society, and serves as a member of both the International Baccalaureate Club and Health Occupations Students of America Club (HOSA). She volunteers her time with organizations throughout Surprise and has been on the nationally and state recognized spiritline team for four years.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. With the 32nd class in 2020, the Foundation has provided over 6,300 Coca-Cola Scholars with more than $72 million in educational support. 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected each year to receive this $20,000 scholarship.

12/10/2020 Direct Link

Jordyn Kellick, a volleyball player at Willow Canyon High School, poses for a photograph on the volleyball court.

Athlete Spotlight - Jordyn Kellick

Meet Jordyn Kellick, a senior at Willow Canyon High School, and a stand out volleyball player. Like many of her teammates, Jordyn is awaiting the opportunity to compete this season. She helped lead the Wildcats last season as one of the team captains, and is hoping for the opportunity to continue in that role this season. With many unknowns still in the air, one thing is certain, Jordyn is excited and optimistic for the chance to connect with her teammates again, whether on or off the court. 

“I’m just looking forward to spending time with everyone,” said Kellick. “We can’t really go and hang out with people like we used to. This team is like family, so I’m just looking forward to being able to spend as much time with them as I can.”

From a young age, Jordyn has always loved playing a variety of sports. However, she didn’t realize her full appreciation for them until the sudden loss of her father when she was in the 6th grade. Her father was always a crucial source of inspiration for her, and after his passing, instead of losing the motivation to play, she was able to gain new confidence in knowing that her father would want her to keep pushing and chasing her dreams. Rather than turning to more adverse means of coping, Jordyn wanted to make her father proud, and decided to keep playing and progressing in her sport. 

“Volleyball was a light in the darkness, and has helped me through a lot and helped me stay the course,” she said.

Looking back over the years, one thing Jordyn can be proud of is her resiliency and perseverance to keep going. No matter the setback, she has kept the focus and determination to continue pushing forward. Much of that she credits to the support of her family, friends, coaches, and teammates along the way. 

“I have come a long way since freshman year, and have gained the mental toughness I didn’t know I had,” she said. “I appreciate everyone who has supported me and helped me through.” 

Jordyn is looking forward with expectancy for what lies ahead. After graduating, she hopes to play collegiate volleyball while studying to become an athletic trainer. “It has always been a dream to play in college. This is my passion, and playing would be a plus to the goals I have set for myself,” she said. After college, Jordyn hopes to become an athletic trainer for a professional sports team. 

As for now, she is focused on finishing out her senior year strong, and believes in what her team can accomplish. The team came close to the postseason last year, but fell just short of a playoff spot. This year, however, Jordyn is motivated to lead her team to win the region and make it to the championships. 

“I want this to be a comeback year,” she states. “Being one of only two seniors on the team, I want to go out with a bang, and I think we can do that. Especially with the talent we have.” 

08/28/2020 Direct Link

Dion Hafner poses for a photograph at sunset.

Athlete Spotlight - Dion Hafner

What happens when you have an offseason affected by a pandemic?  For Dion Hafner, a senior three-sport athlete at Willow Canyon High School, you organize 5:00 a.m. workouts with your teammates to get ready for the seasons.  Dion competes in football, basketball, and track and field, and is known as a leader in all three.  

“He works hard in football and track,” said coach Justin Stangler.  “He earned a starting position as a cornerback his first year in football and is one of our strongest 400m runners in track and field.  He leads by example in both sports.”

“He’s a great kid,” said Joseph Colletti, Hafner’s basketball coach.  “It’s been a pleasure getting to know him and see him grow the last few years.”

Coming into his senior year, Hafner has some lofty goals for his track and field season.  His junior year was canceled because of COVID-19 and he’s itching for a chance to prove himself.

“One of my goals this year is definitely going to state for track,” said Hafner.  “Last year I wasn’t able to get there because of COVID, but I was pretty close my sophomore year.”

As for football, Hafner only has one goal for this season - to prove everyone wrong.

“My only intention this year in football is to win,”  he said.

One of the main reasons his coaches value his presence on the court and field is his leadership and the example he sets for others.  

“I feel like it is a passion of mine to lead people, and help them out on the field,” said Hafner.

Not only does Hafner lead his teammates, but the community as well.  He volunteers at Christ Church of the Valley in his spare time and coaches junior high kids, letting them know they can make a difference on and off the field.  

He hopes to be able to run track or play football in college as he pursues a degree in Biblical Studies and one day fulfills his dream of being a pastor.  For right now though, he’s focused on what’s in front of him, no matter how the pandemic affects it.  

“I’m just glad we get a season right now,” said Hafner.  “Whether it’s five games, three games, a full season, I just want to play.”

08/24/2020 Direct Link

Willow Canyon High School students pose with their Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards.

WCHS students excel on Cambridge exams

Four 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

12/18/2019 Direct Link

Willow Canyon students poses for a picture in Washington D.C. as part of their SkillsUSA Leadership Training.

Willow Canyon students attend leadership training

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.

11/08/2019 Direct Link

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