Youth

New Italian Youth Opera Makes American Debut

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Writer Rebecca Zaner   “The Toy Factory,” a children’s opera composed and premiered in Italy, makes its American debut in Anthem this April. Based on the children’s book, “The Sword and the Stone,” “The Toy Factory” portrays an updated version of the classic tale through music and theatrical arts.   To debut the opera, Joan Yakkey, composer and librettist of “The Toy Factory,” will travel to Phoenix along with six of her young madrigal singers from the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole. The North American premiere takes place on April 23 and will run through April 25 at Boulder Creek High School.   In partnership with Boulder Creek High School choir students and director, Kirk Douglas, this performance features international as well as local young talent. Students from Canyon Springs Elementary School will also be featured in the program. Generously supported by Arts Council of the North Valley and its president, Mary Sue Hyatt, “The Toy Factory” is a highly... More

Tower To Casey - You are Cleared for Takeoff

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Mike Harvey
Writer Tom Scanlon     He’s not quite at the “Top Gun” level yet, but Casey Cooper is well on his way. The future is up in the air, literally, for this North Scottsdale resident who attends Notre Dame Preparatory.   At a time when many teenagers are playing video games that simulate flying, Casey is actually doing it; he made his first solo flight last year and in mid-February was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol. He began flying when he was just 14 years old.   “My parents, John and Christy, knew that I wanted to fly and they purchased me an explorer flight for my 14th birthday to see if I enjoyed it,” he said. “I currently have nearly 30 hours of flight time. I need to get up to a minimum of 40 hours before I can receive my private pilot’s license.”   His passion for flying goes back to an even younger age, when he was around 8 years old.   “My grandfather flew Cessnas before I was born and I had heard some of his stories about... More

Big Upside - Star Freshman Leads Lady Falcons to Playoffs

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Mike Harvey
Writer Tom Scanlon     Attention basketball fans: You may want to reserve seats for the next three Cactus Shadows High School girls’ basketball seasons to catch a rising star named Caitlin Bickle. She is coming off a freshman year that suggests she might be the next big thing, literally and figuratively.   After three consecutive losing seasons, Cactus Shadows girls’ basketball was at best an unknown entity at the beginning of the 2014-15 season. Then Bickle went and turned that question mark into an exclamation point, averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds per game and leading the Lady Falcons to a powerful 22-8 season.   With the tall, athletic freshman leading the way, Cactus Shadows finished second in the section tournament, earning the team a home game to start the playoffs. Though the crowd was behind them, the Lady Falcons came up short; three questionable technical fouls in the final minutes played a factor in a close loss that ended an unexpectedly exciting... More

Stirling Swims for Gold

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Writer Tom Scanlon     After two narrow losses in the state swimming meet finals last year, Connor Stirling swam a blazing sub-44 second pace in the final of the 100-yard freestyle in November, only to be edged by rising superstar Ryan Hoffer, who clocked in at a state record 43.20 seconds.   In the preliminary of the 200-yard freestyle, Cactus Shadows High School star Stirling touched the wall at 1:41 — very fast, but more than a half second slower than another rising star, Brophy High School sophomore Jack Blake.   Much of what happens in swimming takes place outside high school competitions,, however, and Stirling had already made his mark on the national scene. He was ranked as the fourth fastest sprinter in his age group and scored an Olympic-trial qualifying time in the 50-yard freestyle. He was ranked as the top high school senior in Arizona and 23rd nationally.   Even so, the prospect of Connor Stirling leaving the Cactus Shadows trophy case with four second-place... More

Wild West Shootout. Notre Dame Prep Girls' Soccer Wins State Title

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Mike Harvey
Writer Tom Scanlon     It wasn’t a massacre, but thanks to an intrepid goalkeeper, the girls’ soccer Division 2 state championship may be remembered in Notre Dame Preparatory history as the “St. Valentine’s Day Shootout.”   Following minute after minute of tense, scoreless play, the NDP girls’ soccer team’s season came down to penalty kicks against Campo Verde High School. Each side would take four kicks, with the kickers taking turns trying to blast the ball into the goal from short range. In this penalty kick scenario, no defenders are allowed other than the goalkeeper.   For Meredith Reinhardt, that meant continuing to keep Campo Verde shots out of the NDP goal. The game was played at Campo Verde, making this an even more difficult task for the Lady Saints. But led by the extraordinarily stubborn Reinhardt, NDP had won three previous playoff matches, twice by shootouts.   Indeed, NDP, which won a state title in 2009 and finished second two years later — both... More

Whatever It Takes: Local Stars Take it to The Next Level

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Writer Tom Scanlon You dream of your kid playing sports in college — better yet, being so good that he or she will win a free education.   It’s certainly not an unrealistic dream, as there are thousands of scholarships passed out every year, from traditional powerhouses like football and basketball to emerging sports such as volleyball and women’s soccer. Pinnacle High School soccer is a great example, as more than half of the seniors on the 2013-14 girls’ soccer team earned scholarships.    Looking back, it would have been shocking if the 2014 girls’ soccer team didn’t win a state title. Indeed, it’s mildly surprising (in retrospect, at least) that the team lost three of its 27 matches last year. Eight of last year’s soccer seniors are playing at the collegiate level, and a handful stepped right in and started kicking with the best in the country.    The powerful Jorian Baucom was named SEC Freshman of the Year after scoring a team-leading eight goals for... More

Boulder Creek Jags - Ready to Ping in Spring

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Chris Pondy
Writer Tom Scanlon     One of the favorite sounds of spring around Anthem comes from Boulder Creek High School’s baseball field: the lovely ping of bats meeting balls. Sorry, purists, in these days of aluminum bats at lower levels, the ol’ crack of the bat is long gone, like pay phones and typewriters.   With spring in the air, coach Joe McDonald is revving up his young players for another season of BC baseball. While the routine started with winter workouts and officially began on February 25 at Perry High School, the action heats up in April, with McDonald hoping to lead the Jaguars to another playoff run.   Last season was a bit of an off year for BC baseball, which had a losing season after five consecutive years of 20-plus wins, a run that peaked with a 33-6 season in 2011.   Characteristically, McDonald looks on the bright side with last year’s team, which struggled early and finished 16-24. The team battled into the playoffs and lost a heartbreaker in extra... More

Mr. BC 2015

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Tom Scanlon   It started out as a funny idea: a spoof of beauty pageants. Ten years later, it’s still going, a popular running joke passed from one generation to the next.   Welcome to “Mr. BC.” Twelve seniors from Boulder Creek High School are nominees in this friendly competition, which has the kids showing off their talents in singing, comedy, dance and rocking formal wear.   In addition to this month’s naming of the 10th Mr. BC, awards will be passed out for Mr. Generosity, People’s Choice and Mr. Congeniality. We asked the 12 Mr. BC finalists about their real world and social media interests, what they have enjoyed about high school and what they look forward to after graduation.   Mr. BC will be held at 7 p.m. on April 10.     Hayden Scott Activities at BC? Freshman year football Favorite class? Systematics Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter? Twitter Plans after graduation? Graduate with a forestry degree from Northern Arizona University Ten years... More

Canyon Springs: A Winning Combination of Education, Inspiration, & Perspiration

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Sam Paul
Writer Stephanie Maher Palenque     Once in awhile, an educational leader comes along with a vision for his or her institution. That vision can be the impetus for a transformation that sets the institution on a winning path.   At Canyon Springs STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Academy, that leader is principal Tricia Graham. Graham is quick to reference her team of educators and staff at Canyon Springs when she is complimented on what she has accomplished at Canyon Springs. After all, behind every good leader is a qualified, supportive staff. In any case, Canyon Springs School has distinguished itself in Anthem and Deer Valley Unified School District and is on a trajectory that will only get better.   Canyon Springs has offered the Renaissance Gifted and STEM Academy since August 2013. The Academy provides highly gifted learners with a unique educational environment that is designed to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of likeminded first through fifth... More

BC Winter Sports Wrap

2015-04-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Mike Harvey
Writer Tom Scanlon     The basketball season started in fall 2014 and ended in winter 2015. Though it’s all one season, 2014 and 2015 were completely different stories for the Boulder Creek High School boys’ team.   “Coming into the season, we knew there would be a steep learning curve,” said second-year coach Ryne Holstrom, 10-17 in his first season. “We had a lot of guys playing varsity for the first time and had a preseason schedule that pitted us against some of the best teams in the state. We battled tough early on, but we were not doing some of the little things that allowed us to convert that effort into wins.”   To start the year, Holstrom’s team looked like nothing special, stumbling to a 2-7 start. The low point: a 30-point whipping at Brophy College Preparatory. As 2014 ended, the Jags had a 7-9 record.   “The turning point was really during winter break, where we avenged our 30-point loss to Brophy and beat them in the opening round of the McClintock... More

Boulder Creek Junior Dresses Girls Around the World

2015-03-30 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Sam Paul
Writer Barb Evans     For thousands of young girls and women around the world, wearing a new dress means much more than just getting dressed for the day.   It can mean a journey to discovering your worth, beauty and dignity. It can also mean protection from predators who want to take that dignity away.   That’s the lesson Boulder Creek High School junior Kimberly Klein learned when she worked with Dress a Girl Around the World, an organization that sends dresses to girls in need, as part of a required project for Boulder Creek’s Global Studies Certificate Program.   Kimberly has always been one to help others. As a young girl, she would regularly comb the house looking for unused items to donate to Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul. She and her family showed support for her younger sibling, who has a hearing issue, by giving hearing aids to children who can’t afford them through the EAR Foundation of Arizona. She has also helped supply fire trucks with emergency pet equipment... More

Karz for Kidz

2015-03-22 | ImagesAZ | Youth


An assortment of motor vehicles, concessions and entertainment will be on hand for this charity car show benefitting Kidslife Ministries. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. $35 car registration; free admission. Carefree Church, 5025 E. Carefree Hwy. 480-488-5565, carefreechurch.com.... More