SCA Fourth Grader earns Perfect Score in National Competition

2014-03-03 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Fourth grader Nathan Yee, representing Scottsdale Christian Academy, recently received a perfect score in the first of three meets for this year’s WordMasters Challenge, a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually. Competing in the difficult blue division of the challenge, Yee earned a perfect score of 20 in the recent meet. Nationally, only 29 fifth graders achieved a perfect score. Another student at Scottsdale Christian Academy who achieved outstanding results in the first meet is Elyse LaVallee, who scored 19. The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge by SCA honors teacher Shirley Cox. Congratulations to these talented students and kudos to the parents and educators who are helping them achieve great heights!... More

They’re almost invisible...

2014-02-17 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Amanda Christmann Larson Photographer Bryan Black   Nearly 30,000 men, women and children struggle to survive in tiny concrete houses surrounded by spiked iron fences and bouquets of weeds sprouting along broken sidewalks. Few outsiders have reason to venture into this mid-city neighborhood; those who do lock their car doors as they speed by to safer nearby routes of I-10 and SR51.   Yet behind the doors of many of these homes, something wonderful is happening. Preschoolers are singing songs and learning to write their names; parents are able to work without leaving little ones home alone; and families who may, at one time, been too pushed down by life to handle the responsibilities of caring for each other are finding ways to stay together.   Behind the glow of hope for so many is a small army of people who have done something truly remarkable: They’ve looked beyond the labels and the stigma of poverty and seen human beings in need, and they’re holding out their hands to... More

February 10: Kindergarten Round-Up at Diamond Canyon

2014-02-08 | ImagesAZ | Youth

  Curriculum Night for upcoming 2014/2015 DVUSD’s Diamond Canyon kindergartners will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 10. This event gives parents and new students an opportunity to preview curriculum and meet teachers. Come experience the Coyote Way! Diamond Canyon is celebrating 10 years of education and was ranked No. 1 in growth scores in the Anthem area and is now accepting enrollment. Come experience the Coyote Way! School tours are given every Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. Diamond Canyon is located at 40004 N. Liberty Bell Way in Anthem.   623-445-8000 More

February 8: Sharing Healthy Experiences for Sixth Grade Girls

2014-02-05 | ImagesAZ | Youth

  Soroptimist International Saguaro Foothills and Cave Creek Unified School District will host the annual Sharing Healthy Experiences (SHE) event Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Sonoran Trails Middle School, 5555 E. Pinnacle Vista in Phoenix. SHE is a program designed for sixth grade girls and their moms or guardians. Sixth grade girls will experience high-energy breakout sessions with experts in the fields of communication, healthy body image, self-esteem, law enforcement, and transitioning into middle school. Parents participate in discussions related to teen development, appropriate prevention and intervention techniques including internet safety and surviving the “come here/go away” phase of being a parent of a girl this age. Enjoy a day of music, dancing, food and hands-on interactive sessions. All community members are welcome. Cost is $20 per girl, or $25 per girl and parent/guardian. Tickets for additional persons, such as grandparents or adult friends, are $5. Lunch is... More

Notre Dame Prep Girls’ Soccer

2014-01-29 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Writer Tom Scanlon   If you think girls’ high school sporting events are low-key affairs where everybody giggles and has a good time, you probably have not witnessed the Notre Dame Prep girls’ soccer team in action. These young ladies are so fired up that they don’t whisper a pre-match prayer, they scream it out. That is just one example of these girls’ passion, a drive they hope will take them all the way in the state playoffs.   “I think we can win a state championship,” said senior Rachel Jones. “We’ve got the skills and aggressiveness.” Rachel herself is on the small side, and if she weighs over 100 pounds the pizza at lunch must have been really, really good; yet, in typical Notre Dame fashion, she charges after loose balls and into pileups with fearless abandon. This team might be called the Saints, but they are not afraid to ruffle their wings.   And they have even more attitude than normal this year, as the term “unfinished business” has been floating... More

Pinnacle Girls’ Soccer

2014-01-29 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Jamie Pogue
Writer Tom Scanlon Photography by Jamie Pogue   You don’t need to be Miley Cyrus to say Jorian Baucom came in like a wrecking ball. It was instant dominance when Baucom stepped on the field at Pinnacle High School. An intimidating presence, she wrecked her way through opposing defenses, helping the Pinnacle High rumble to an undefeated, state-championship season in her freshman year.   Far from an intimidated freshman, she scored once, twice – three times in the state final. To truly appreciate her third goal, you have to see it (and you can, it’s on YouTube). Baucom’s blast is a bend-it-like-Beckham left-footed laser from just inside the right sideline. “It was a crazy goal, out of the blue,” Baucom recalled of the moment. “I remember thinking, ‘What just happened?!’”   The amazing goal clinched a 4-2 win for Pinnacle, and was the icing on the cake of a 21-0 season.   Baucom quickly became one of the most sought-after girls’ soccer player in the country. She... More

Tuning in to Hannah Fehr

2014-01-27 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Writer Tom Scanlon   Jennifer Kelber takes multi-tasking to the extreme, making those of us with two jobs look like slackers. You may recall reading about her as the owner of Songbird’s Nest, the reincarnation of Cave Creek Coffee Company (the beloved “C4” that closed last year). In addition to running the business, she teaches yoga in the back and is often in the kitchen, baking scrumptious pastries.   Oh, and she sings. That was her on stage the other night, playing guitar and singing slow, doleful versions of the likes of “Up on the Roof.” As if business owner/yogi/baker/singer wasn’t enough, she displayed another slash: mentor.   “Before I take a break,” she told the audience, “I want one of my students, who also works in the bakery, to sing a few songs. She’s Hannah Fehr, 16 years old, very talented.” Young Hannah played guitar and powerfully sang a few songs, including a haunting version of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”   After a rousing... More

BCHS Girls’ Soccer

2014-01-26 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Jamie Pogue
Writer Tom Scanlon Photographer Jamie Pogue   Call them the “Wizards of Anthem.” Even if you don’t know much about soccer, it’s a treat to watch them in action, as when these girls get going the play is fast and spectacular – spinning moves, no-look passing, speeding attackers buzzing like bees.   There may never be another team quite like this Boulder Creek High girls’ soccer team. They are young but battle-tested talents who have the individual skills that get recruiters knocking on their doors (or friending them on Facebook). And yet this collection of stars with college scholarships locked up plays a selfless, disciplined game, with the focus bringing a state championship to Anthem.   The team is led by a pair of offensive dynamos. Kyle Escobedo is usually one of the smallest players on the field, and almost always the most dazzling, a speedster The other half of the BC one-two punch is Natalie Stephens, who in January was leading the team with 18 goals. Fellow... More

BCHS Wrestling

2014-01-26 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Rob Ascherl
Writer Tom Scanlon Photographer Rob Ascherl   Much like a thrilling match in which switches follow takedowns and near-falls turn into reversals, it has been quite a topsy-turvy career for star wrestler Jro Byrd of Boulder Creek High. While flashing his brilliant talent and often dominating opponents, he has also felt the chilling headlock of fate. He has gone from blew-out-his-knee as a freshman to kicked-off-the-team as a sophomore to second-in-the-state as a junior. And now, there is only one way that Byrd plans to end his high school career: As state champ.   “Nothing less than a state championship will happen,” he said, shaking his head solemnly. “There’s no other way it can go. I have complete faith in myself to make it happen.”   Sitting in the stands at Boulder Creek High during a girls’ soccer match, Jro (pronounced “jay-row”) Byrd speaks softly and thoughtfully, rubbing his short, curly hair as he ponders questions. This 17-year-old has seen good times and... More


2014-01-25 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Lisa Kolin
Writer Amanda Christmann Larson Photography by Lisa Kolin   There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who cycle, and those who don’t. For those who most enjoy sitting behind a wheel instead of on top of one, cyclists are often thought of as an inconvenience or distraction, much like speed bumps or school zones or Columbus Day. They appear smug and unreasonably confident; grown adults in tight, padded pants with slightly emasculating brand names like “Canari” and “Pearl Izumi” plastered in reflective fonts in places embarrassing to be caught staring at. In their sleek, streamlined helmets and fancy 80s throwback sunglasses, they’re arrogant and brash, seemingly unaware that their shoes are clipped in to machines outweighed and outwinged by other road traffic.   Those who like to meddle with the pedal have a much different perspective from atop their saddles. Most cyclists are converts. Many were once auto connoisseurs with eyes wide in disbelief at the audacity of... More

October 17, 19 Upscale Singers Offer Youth Scholarships

2013-10-10 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Calling all youth singers! If singing is your passion and you’d like to hone your skills, this may be the opportunity for you!   The Upscale Singers announce their seventh annual scholarship auditions with prizes ranging from $150 to $500. The money is paid directly to the voice teacher chosen by the winning student. In the past six years, the Upscale Singers have made 65 awards totaling well over $16,000.   Auditions are open to all junior and senior high students (grades 7-12) living in the Cave Creek and Anthem/New River school boundaries. Both public and private school students are welcome.   Audition appointments are available Oct. 17 from 4:30 to 8 p.m., and Oct. 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Singers must schedule their appointments before Oct. 11 by phone.   Auditions are held at the Desert Hills Presbyterian Church at 34605 N. Scottsdale Rd., on the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Carefree Highway. This is the same church where the Upscale Singers present their... More

October 4–19 Starlight Community Theater Presents Disney’s “Mulan, Jr.”

2013-09-27 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Starlight Community Theater is kicking off the season with a new logo, a new theater and a fantastic new youth production of Disney’s “Mulan, Jr.” One of Disney’s most beloved animated features comes to life on stage in this wonderful story of culture, honor and a fighting spirit. Audience members will enjoy their favorite songs from the movie such as “I’ll Make a Man out of You,” as well as several new upbeat songs for this stage adaptation.   Director Eric Gibson, Assistant Director Susan Gibson and Musical Director Scott Sims are excited to bring this family-friendly entertainment to Starlight Community Theater’s brand new stadium seating-style theater and to showcase the amazing talent of local youth here in Anthem and northern Phoenix.   All shows will be held at Starlight’s new theater at 1611 W. Whispering Wind Dr., Suite #160, just off Happy Valley Rd. in Phoenix. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or... More

October 3–6 MTA Presents “Oro and Leona”

2013-09-26 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Barbara Stitzer Photography
Musical Theatre of Anthem (MTA) announces performances for the original musical “Oro and Leona,” the heartwarming story of two golden lion tamarin monkeys who are separated from the rest of their family and must learn to survive on their own in the Amazon rainforest. A talented cast of 57 area youth ages 6-9 participate in this show, and the music is sure to transport you to the tropical rain forest.   Performances take place Oct. 3 and 4 at 7 p.m.; Oct. 5 at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the MTA performance center, 42323 N. Vision Way., Bldg. 2 in Anthem. Adult tickets are $18. Tickets for students, seniors and children 12 and under are $15. Tickets may be purchased online.  ... More

Serving Up the Vinyl Jazz

2013-08-25 | ImagesAZ | Youth

While many kids are employed in restaurants in the summertime, over at Hacienda’s Mexican Grill in north Scottsdale, a half-dozen teenagers are working in the bar every Friday night. They’re not rookie bartenders or cocktail waiters and waitresses, these are the members of Vinyl Jazz, an intriguing young band made up of some highly talented musicians.   The Friday night regular gig at Hacienda started when proud grandmother Joanne Wolff was having dinner back in May at the bright, energetic restaurant and bar. It was a Saturday night, and a band was performing. As Wolff tells it, “I said to the manager, ‘Who do you have playing on Friday nights?’ He said, ‘No one.’ I said, ‘Do you want to fix that?’”   Wolff set up an audition at Hacienda for Vinyl Jazz, which features Emily Clocksin, Wolff’s granddaughter. Two songs into the tryout, the audition was stopped; the band was hired. So now, every Friday evening at Hacienda, tiny Emily and her young friends take the... More

Dual Approach

2013-08-11 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Walking onto the Boulder Creek campus in the fall of 2009, Alec Bone was excited at the opportunities that lay ahead for the next four years. Being an accomplished baseball player, a more than capable soccer player and an outstanding student, high school would be the grounds for pursuing greatness with the hopes to perhaps earn a scholarship to play collegiate athletics.   Today, that dream is a reality, but it will not be the baseball diamond or the soccer field where Alec will be taking his wares. Alec will be walking the tranquil links of the Harmony Club in Fort Collins, Colorado, as a part of the Colorado State University Men’s Golf Team, and he does it as the recently crowned JGAA (Junior Golf Association of Arizona) State Boys’ Champion.   Originally, golf was a game that Alec and his twin brother Brenden played in the summertime to break up the monotony of baseball. What started as a simple game soon became another battleground for the competitive siblings. And when their... More