BFTFL: Best Friends to The Finish Line

2014-09-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Writer: Tom Scanlon   Victoria Toris and Samantha Fazio are nearly inseparable. They’ve been classmates since middle school, they hang out and go to movies together and, most memorably, they are swim-mates on the Scottsdale Aquatic Club and Pinnacle High School swim teams.   This November, when the finalists in the 50-yard freestyle sprint line up, Toris and Fazio will say a final “good luck” to each other … and then try to win.   Their motto could be: it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, especially if your best friend wins. Last fall, in the preliminary heat held in the morning, Fazio edged Toris to win. For Fazio to do that in the finals later that day would have been quite an upset, as Toris was the defending champion in the event.   “After Sam beat me in the morning, I just kind of put on my racing suit, put my mindset where it needed to be,” Toris said. For the final, “I was definitely focused. Definitely where I wanted to be.” She cranked it up and blazed... More

Cactus Shadows Football

2014-08-25 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Writer Tom Scanlon Photographer Mike Harvey of Peak Image Photo Joe Kuhlman was going to be “The Man” for Cactus Shadows last season, and his senior year got off to a terrific start as the 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back raced for an impressive 563 yards in the first three games of the season, averaging an eye-popping 7.71 yards per carry.   And then down he went, blowing out his knee, a crushing end to his high school career. It seemed like the Falcons’ season would be lost as well, as then-coach Greg Davis had to ask young, unproven, little – barely 150 pounds! – Antonio Marchica to be the starting running back.   He may be easy on the scales, but Marchica is not light on confidence.   “I had to step up from there,” he said. “I was prepared.”   Indeed, though he was a sophomore and had played scant time as a wide receiver the year before, Marchica carried the ball 22 times for 103 yards in his first varsity start. His second career start was even better, as he... More

Growth spurt puts BC Lineman on the Map

2014-08-10 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Writer Tom Scanlon Photographer Mike Harvey of Peak Image Photo   Nathan Elridge is a beast.   He was big and strong last year, when as a junior he started getting small college recruiters sniffing around Anthem. But he missed the last portion of the football season due to a broken elbow, which combined with a less-than-spectacular year for the Boulder Creek High football team had him off the radar of most of the big schools. And, though he was huge by the standards of most, at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, that made him undersized in the world of major college football.   Once his elbow healed, Elridge started hulking out, powering away long hours in the weight room. Meanwhile, his gene pool kicked into high gear. “My dad’s only about 6-2,” Eldridge said with a chuckle. “But his dad was really big, 6-5, with about a size 56 jacket.”   Eldridge had a little growth spurt and is now 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, plenty big to play line even at some of the biggest schools. He’s not just... More

Christ the Lord Lutheran Church Offers Music Enrichment Program

2014-06-12 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Christ the Lord Lutheran Church is partnering with Paradise Valley Community College and Grand Canyon University to present music enrichment courses held at the church, 9205 E. Cave Creek Rd., in Carefree. The following classes will be offered June 2 through June 28 for adults and students in grades 7-12:   How to Find Your Inner Diva: Weekly, two-hour sessions, $150 Find confidence in your singing performance and learn basic techniques to conquer performance anxiety. Students will practice performing in front of others. Vocalists of all levels welcome. Class sizes are limited. Grades: 7-12: Mon., 4-5:50 p.m. Adults: Thurs., 4-5:50 p.m.   Yoga and Fitness for Singers: Twice weekly, one-hour sessions, $150 Your body is your instrument. Practice gentle movement and stretching to learn how to move it. Students will practice moving while singing. Grades: 7-12: Mon./Thurs. 3-3:50 p.m. Adults: Mon./Thurs. 7:45-8:35 p.m.   Singing Audition Preparation: (two) 2-hour workshops, $95 How to... More

Pinnacle High School Baseball

2014-06-11 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Pinnacle High fans were hyped and rowdy as the baseball team got off to an early 1-0 lead in a home playoff game against Valley Vista High. But then the visiting team delivered a series of gut punches, stinging line drives that suddenly flipped the lead around and more. The home team was down 5-1, and it looked like a promising season could come to a sudden end.   But the Pioneers were not about to give up. They put together a few hits, scoring one run. Baserunners were on first and second with two out when Pinnacle shortstop Kobie Foppe stepped to the plate.   It was a clutch situation, and this was just the man Pinnacle coach John Casey wanted to have a bat in his hands. Last year, playing for Notre Dame Prep, Foppe went on a playoff tear, smashing eight hits, including four doubles, in the final three playoff games to lead Notre Dame to a state title in Division II.   For his senior year, with a scholarship to Arizona State University already in his back pocket, Foppe decided for... More

Anna Han Receives Musicfest Scholarship

2014-06-11 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Described by The Washington Post as “prodigiously gifted… a display of imagination, taste and pianistic firepower far beyond her years,” 18-year-old Anna Han of Chandler started taking piano lessons with her current teacher Mr. Fei Xu at New Century Conservatory at age 5. When she was 11, she became the national first place winner of the 2007 Music Teachers’ National Association Junior Piano Competition. Since then she has won a number of prestigious international piano competitions, including the first prize of the 2012 New York International Piano Competition, the first prize of the 2011 New Orleans International Piano Competition for Young Artists, and the first prizes of both the 2011 and 2008 International Institute for Young Musicians international piano competitions. She has also performed on several notable stages. This year, Ana was named the recipient of the Arizona Musicfest Scholarship, a $2,500 annual award given to a highly qualified young musician who excels at... More

The Other Top Team At Boulder Creek

2014-06-08 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Pogue Photography
With determination and focus, they have spent hours honing their skills. They’ve studied their competition’s strengths and weakness, and formed strategies to win. They’ve developed a strong sense of teamwork, and with long afternoons and evenings of practice, their natural abilities have been sharpened into championship material. Now, this winning Boulder Creek team of nine has shattered records and represented the Jaguars well.   They may not all look like typical athletes, but don’t be fooled: these students are competitors. Cameron Moreno, Sean Wurr, Elias Skoubis, Nick Goettl, Josh Kim, Grant Peterson, Chris Balzer, Nate Raffield and Christian Beem are members of the BC academic decathlon team, and they crunch math for breakfast.   These outstanding decathletes can rattle off facts and information about music, art, literature, economics, social science, mathematics and science that would impress any college professor; they can put together memorable speeches and essays in... More

Anthem Prep Graduates First Senior Class!

2014-06-08 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Lauren Brown
The high school years are some of the most formative years of our lives. This is the time when independent thinking begins, useful life lessons are learned, and lasting friendships are made. For 14 Anthem teens, these years will also be a time when they were members of an elite group: Anthem Preparatory Academy’s first senior class.   Dominic Clark, Ray Hoffman, Tabatha Lothes, Kaitlyn Males, Snehit Mikkilineni, Samantha Naughton, Jazmin Neira, Connor Paxton, Morgan Rone, Jennifer Shibata, Keaghan Symmonds, Conor Timmerman, Megan Villandre and Isabella Villanueva all earned their high school diplomas May 30 from the public charter academy and became the school’s first graduating class. For the administration and faculty, the commencement was triumphant. For the students, it was a privilege.   “It’s definitely an honor to be part of the first graduating class,” says Connor Paxton. “We’ve had a unique experience than the other classes have.”   Says fellow graduate... More

Early Lessons Build Golf Champion, Thanks Dad!

2014-05-29 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: jerri Parness
Writer Tom Scanlon Photographer Jerri Parness Here’s a Father’s Day month tip: If you start teaching your child how to play golf at a really early age, you may be able to leverage that into many days away from chores and on the greens over the years.   Of course, it helps if your child is as naturally talented as Austin Stadeli, the Notre Dame Prep golf champ with the racecar driver name and Formula One swing.   Kris, Austin’s father, is a passionate golfer who started teaching Austin to play when he was but 5 years old. “It was his excuse to go out and play a lot,” Austin says, with a laugh.   “I am sure my husband enjoyed all the weekends of playing practice rounds with Austin,” says Alicia Stadeli, Austin’s mother. “I used to play along with them until his father would wage bets against me. Austin could beat me when he was about 10 or 11.”   The kid grew up to be big, 6-foot tall, 200-plus pounds; yet he never grew out of the love for golf his father... More

Annalee Monroe Top of the Class!

2014-05-29 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Cactus Shadows is a pretty big high school, with 400-plus in the graduating class. Of those graduates, there are plenty who spent the better part of four years studying hard, getting A’s and taking advanced placement classes. In a school of overachievers, there is one who has taken perfection to an extreme.   Perched atop the class is a petite, energetic 17-year-old with an eye-popping 4.7 grade point average. She focused her energy on learning, tackling the most challenging program that Cactus Shadows has to offer, her big brown eyes and alert ears feeding information to her insatiable mind. Annalee Monroe is a shining example for a learning institution that is making academic excellence the norm.   You might say that the Cactus Shadows Unified School District AIMS high, as the district ranked second in Maricopa County and fifth in the state in Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test numbers.   “Probably the biggest contributing factor is the fact that one of... More

Cake Decorating & Chocolate Making

2014-05-29 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Join instructor Bobbie Burt to learn cake decorating and/or chocolate making as part of the Cave Creek Unified School District’s Education and Community Service offerings. Adults and students in sixth grade or older are welcome to attend these Monday-through-Friday three-hour classes. A complete schedule and class fees are available online. Bobbi has owned a chocolate manufacturing business in Scottsdale and is a certified cake decorator. Techniques, fillings and achieving uniformity are just a few of the tricks you’ll learn in these June classes.   480-575-2440  ... More

C. Nicholas Johnson’s “Brave New World” with LEGO Animation

2014-05-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

C. Nicholas Johnson and his artistic team have been bringing amazing theater to our community for over 25 years. This summer’s production for students in grades four through 12 will feature the art of mime and dance of the famously talented Nick Johnson and Sabrina Vasquez, along with the creative Bonanza Educational staff that works with students to create LEGO animated videos. The theme will be “A Brave New World.” During the first week, students will work with artist Renee Swan and dance instructor Elizabeth Lincoln to create costumes, props, sets and the animated LEGO component, as well as develop their performance skills. The second week will focus on the actual stage production including choreography, movement and the incorporation of the LEGO video into the final performance. This thought-provoking process will require the students to hone their mime skills while challenging them to portray emotion and character in a vivid fashion onstage. The two-week residency, June 2... More

Horse Around at Camp at Twisted Tree Farm

2014-05-19 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Twisted Tree Farm proudly presents their weekly summer youth camp horsemanship program beginning May 26. Children will learn how to ride and master new skills both on and off the horse, and begin to develop a comprehensive understanding of the many facets of horsemanship. The program is open to children ages six to 16, of every level of experience. Twisted Tree Farm’s wonderful, experienced instructors are dedicated to teaching proper horsemanship and ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable and positive experience. Campers will also experience non-competitive horse shows. Summer camp will be held 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in four sessions, May 26 through May 30; June 2 through June 6; June 9 through June 13; and June 16 through June 20. Weekly cost is $250. Partial week/daily attendance is $75 per day. Camp registration requires a non-refundable $100 deposit to reserve the week. Early or late drop off and pick up is available for an additional $25 per... More

Sign Up for Youth Production of "Robin Hood" in Cave Creek

2014-05-19 | ImagesAZ | Youth

This delightful Missoula Children’s Theatre musical production of Robin Hood tours the country sharing goodhearted laughter and life lessons, plus the experience of being part of a theatrical production, and local young people, from first graders through seniors in high school, can experience the magic through the Cave Creek Unified School District’s Education and Community Service production. All the roles in Robin Hood, including Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Marion’s maid, Prince John, Sheriff of Nottingham, foresters, aristocrats, the merry band, guards, horsemen and the adorable skunks will be performed by local students. Everyone who signs up will be cast. Students do not need to be enrolled in CCUSD schools; they may attend charter or private schools or be homeschooled. Missoula Children’s Theatre rolls into town with sets, props, costumes, makeup, and directors. No advance preparation is required. Assistant Directors (students) will also be cast to assist with the technical... More