Features

Learning by Giving: Lexis Preparatory School

2016-06-12 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Shannon Severson   While the students at Scottsdale’s Lexis Preparatory School might not fit the mold of typical learners, they positively demolish the notion that being different precludes one from making a difference. In fact, the small but mighty group of 70 children is having an impact in their community and across the globe.   “One of our parents, Tyler Brossart, always says something that resonates with me about our purpose here at Lexis,” says head of school Bonnie Dougherty. “It’s that what we are trying to do is make our kids contributors rather than consumers. I love that quote. We want to engage them in learning by giving them the information, guiding their research and then allowing them to actually do something with what they learn.”   Lexis individually tailors its college preparatory curriculum for children who struggle with ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety and other mild to moderate learning disabilities, as well as autism and executive function deficits.... More

Inseparable: BC Volleyballers Stick Together for College

2016-06-11 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Tom Scanlon   The Boulder Creek High School boys’ volleyball team won its first 21 matches of the season, but that’s not what’s most impressive about these players. Coach Troy Dueling’s team chalked up a sensational 41 wins against only two losses during the regular season, often overwhelming opponents, setting up a deep playoff run and an attempt for their second state title in three years.   Those statistics coupled with the fact that all four of this year’s seniors will be playing college volleyball are pretty admirable, but the cool factor is further spiked by this news: three of the Jaguars will be playing together in college.   While Andrew deLeon will travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to study and play ball at Loras College, Bryce Whitman, Liam Santa Cruz and Grady O'Neil will be on the court together at Lourdes University. The fast-rising Lourdes volleyball program was ranked No. 7 among National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics schools this season, with... More

Weekend Warriors: Team Anthem

2016-06-10 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Tom Scanlon   Saturdays and Sundays are the unofficial “sleep in” days across America. Yet around Anthem, long before dawn on most weekends, alarm clocks are going off and a group of men and women, exhausted from another week’s work, are snapping out of deep sleep and climbing out of bed.   As the first light of day is rising over the desert hills, two dozen adults ranging in age from late 30s to early 60s are already burning calories like barbecues burn coal. They might be running down the road, they might be cycling steep hills, they might even be swimming in a choppy lake — whatever it takes to train for races that test their breaking points.   For many people, training for marathons, triathlons and Ironman competitions is a solitary, even lonely pursuit. Here in the North Valley, extreme athletes have gravitated toward one another, creating a super-fit pod.   This is Team Anthem, and this is the place, if you’re looking for a group not just to help you get into... More

Saguaro Football Stars Take It to the Next Level

2016-06-09 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Katy Ruben
  Writer Tom Scanlon   In football, there are many important choices to make on the field. Cut right, or try to run over the defender? Pass the ball deep and hope for the best, or take a sack?   Yet it has become painfully obvious that choices off the field are far more important. Take (please) Johnny Manziel. The former “Johnny Football” partied his way out of football and into a new nickname: “Johnny Unemployed.” While he is the most notorious player for his off-field issues, the list of football stars who do stupid things is 100 yards long, from Plaxico Burress, who shot himself in the leg at a nightclub, to one of the newest Arizona Cardinals, Robert Nkemdiche, whose fall from a hotel window in a drug-related incident was a metaphor for his later fall on draft night, a “character issues” plunge that probably cost him millions of dollars. Scores more have wasted their talent, in what boils down to one thing: choices.   At Saguaro High School, making good, solid... More

Sculpting Space: Elizabeth Rosensteel

2016-06-08 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle


Photo Credit: Submitted by Elizabeth Rosensteel
Writer Shannon Severson   Resourcefulness and reinvention is in Elizabeth Rosensteel’s DNA. Her interior design firm, Rosensteel Design Studio, is the culmination of many years — and careers — that have molded who she is today: an artist, furniture designer, sculptor, art director, inventor. Even further back, Rosensteel recalls stories of her maternal grandfather, an artist and organic gardener (before sustainability was a “thing”), and her industrious grandmother, who supported the family by weaving, making lace and working as a furrier — anything to keep her family afloat on the sparse income of an artist.   This combination of hard work and creative talent lives on in Rosensteel, but did draw concern from her mother, who feared her daughter would encounter the same hardships she had as a girl.   “I don’t think my grandparents even had running water until 1972,” says Rosensteel. “My mother said to me as I was growing up, ‘If you go into any form of the arts,... More

Speedy Swimmer Shoots for Olympics

2016-06-07 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Tom Scanlon   “Our Olympic swimmer.”   That’s how some people around Boulder Creek High School are starting to refer to Claire Grover.   While that’s more than a bit premature, the school was electrified by the news that the day after her 16th birthday, Claire qualified for the United States Olympic Swim Trials. The week of June 26 she will be in Omaha, Nebraska, attempting to make the Olympic team. She will have to swim faster than she ever has in her life — and that still might not be good enough to make it to Brazil, site of the 2016 games.   Sitting on a shady bench just before lunch hour at BC, Claire was realistic about her chances. Her time of 1:11:4 in the 100-yard breaststroke beat the qualifying time, but she realizes she has a long way to go to be fast enough to make the team.   “I probably need to drop another 5 seconds,” she says, pushing her long blonde hair behind her ear. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it this year, but I’ll be... More

Field of Big Dreams: Miracle League of Arizona

2016-06-06 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer: Shannon Severson   Baseball is the ultimate American game. The national pastime, mom and apple pie all rolled into one glorious notion that blends the seemingly incongruous images of perfectly manicured fields and empty dirt lots, and calls to mind the skilled, sinewy power hitters wielding Louisville Sluggers in palatial stadiums in almost equal measure to dusty little kids swinging sticks on neighborhood streets. In essence, it’s a game that can be enjoyed and played by just about anyone.   But for children with disabilities, there are barriers in the traditional version of baseball that prevent them from playing and enjoying the Grand Old Game with their typical peers. Enter the Miracle League of Arizona (MLAZ) in North Scottsdale and their motto: “Every child deserves the chance to play baseball.”   MLAZ offers children, teens and adults with disabilities or special needs the opportunity to experience the joy of playing baseball in either a non-competitive or... More

Joelie On the Green

2016-06-06 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Submitted by Joelie Bennett
Writer Tom Scanlon   At 16 years of age, Joelie Bennett was already a force to be admired, a budding golf goddess. Tall and trim, the long-haired brunette with a sweet swing was powering drives farther than grown women — and, for that matter, many men. Her grades in advanced placement and honors classes proved her brainpower and she was getting in-house instruction from her mother, Nichole Grover, an Anthem golf pro and top-notch player.   Joelie really had only two opponents, both formidable: her mind and her body.   The first part is relatively simple to identify, and quite common. On a hot day in late April, Nichole was on the Persimmon course at Anthem Golf and Country Club after Joelie’s school day had ended, working with her daughter on the mental part of golf, a sport that can bring strong-willed adults to their knees in frustration.   “I need to get out of my own head,” Joelie said, shooting her mother a knowing look. Nichole said she works with just about all of... More

BC Student: Athletes Take It to the Next Level

2016-06-05 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Writer Tom Scanlon   School is like a Samuel Beckett play: just when you think it’s ending, it’s only beginning. Take the Boulder Creek High School class of 2016, which is finished, finally — done!   Yet after the flurry of May with its final exams, prom and graduation, things are really just about to begin for the BC grads. Most of them will take on the challenges (and, hopefully, rewards) of higher education by enrolling in colleges and universities. And a chunk of them will be playing college athletics, competing against bigger, stronger, faster athletes.   At the end of April, the school honored 11 “spring signing” seniors who inked letters of commitment with various colleges. One of them, basketball star Nick Johnson, will go north to Prescott’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.   “I chose ERAU because the basketball coach, Eric Fundalewicz, started recruiting me to play basketball there at the beginning of my junior year,” Johnson said. “I looked into... More

Against the Wind: Jason Magee Takes a Swing at Conventional Golf

2016-06-04 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle


Photo Credit: Brandon Tigrett
Writer Nigel Spence   Below the Titleist ball cap and latest threads that Peter Millar has to offer, Jason Magee is a little more complex than meets the eye. To the casual observer, he looks like an average golf professional. He calls a patch of turf at the southern end of the McCormick Ranch Golf Club driving range his office and, like most instructors, his golf bag, embossed with his name, is overflowing with training clubs, swing aids, gizmos and gadgets.   But spend a little time with Jason and you will find he is as generous as he is sarcastic, and as self-deprecating as he is confident.   Most of all, he is devoted to making a difference in the golf industry.   Born and raised in small town Louisiana, Jason was not exposed to country club life. While other pros grew up taking aim on carefully manicured greens, Jason perfected his swing on the family farm, using animals in distant pastures as targets.   “If I could make them move, then I figured I’d hit a good shot,” he... More

17th Annual Arizona Young Artists’ Competition

2016-06-03 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Apatrou Photography
Writer Donna Kublin   Finals for the 17th annual Arizona Young Artists’ Competition (AYAC) were held on April 2, and this year, Cave Creek and Phoenix residents were among the winners.   The AYAC showcases performing artists between ages 15-19 in the disciplines of acting, dance and voice. Through an open call and audition process, 12 finalists were selected to compete at the Herberger Theater Center in hopes of obtaining the Judges’ Choice Award, for which winners in each discipline receive a $1,000 scholarship to help further their education in the arts; and the audience-selected People’s Choice Award, for which winners receive $100.   And the winners by category are:   Acting Judges’ Choice: Arianna Williams, 17, Phoenix, Mountain Pointe High School People’s Choice: Kelly Hajek, 19, Cave Creek, Scottsdale Community College Dance Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice: Michaela Horger, 17, Phoenix, Royal Dance Works   Voice Judges’ Choice: Ally Lansdowne, 18,... More

Meet the Barnett Family

2016-06-02 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Writer Lauren Strait   Even though Luke Barnett grew up in the church — especially a well-established church like Phoenix First Assembly — he had no intention of following in his father’s footsteps when it came to ministry.   “Although I was heavily involved in our church, I didn’t see myself leading or pastoring like my father,” says Luke. “I really enjoyed sports and played professional golf on a mini tour in college while working on my degree in business administration.”   Luke’s father, Pastor Tommy Barnett, always told him that people shouldn’t go into ministry because of any push; rather, it should be God’s calling. During that same conversation, his father mentioned that if Luke was ever asked to go speak at a neighboring church, he should try it. Two weeks later, a man called asking for someone to speak at a church in Goodyear.   “I immediately accused my dad of setting this whole thing up,” Luke says, laughing. “He swore he had nothing to do... More

National Park Service 100: Chelly Canyon

2016-06-02 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


This year, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of preservation of land, animals and resources — and of providing opportunities to experience, explore and enjoy the 58 national parks and more than 400 public lands it administers. Twenty-two of these lands, including three national parks, are located in Arizona, and if ever there was a time to appreciate these unique gifts in our home state, this is it.   The centennial celebration is more than an acknowledgment of the past; it is recognition of the continuing achievements for our own generations, as well as for generations yet to be born. Through our national parks, we are creating an ongoing legacy that, no matter what technology or cultural changes occur, will allow future Americans to understand and feel for themselves the deep interdependence humans, in our most basic of elements, have with the rest of the natural living world.   To celebrate this remarkable achievement, our Images Arizona staff will be... More

Cactus Shadows’ Carlee Turner Hits the Top Shelf

2016-06-01 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Submitted by Carlee Turner
Writer Tom Scanlon   Around Cactus Shadows High School, Carlee Turner is known as, “That girl who goes away for half the year and then shows up again.”   Around Vermont, Carlee is known more simply as “hockey star.”   Carlee spent roughly half of the last four years in Stowe, Vermont, studying and playing hockey at the North American Hockey Academy (NAHA). She blossomed this year, taking on the role of team captain and leading NAHA in goals and points. In perhaps her shining moment, she was on a partial breakaway, being dragged down by a defenseman, yet managed to lift a shot over the goalie into the top right corner (“top shelf”) of the net. Her skills and dedication earned her a scholarship to the University of New Hampshire, which has a strong hockey tradition.   Just before leaving Vermont to finish her schooling at Cactus Shadows, Carlee attended the Junior World Hockey League awards ceremony, where she heard her name announced as the Liz Turgeon “Player of the... More

Ninja vet: Elaine Carpenter

2016-05-31 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Submitted by Elaine Carpenter
Writer Tom Scanlon   “Boredom is the root of all evil — the despairing refusal to be oneself,” wrote Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher. The life and adventures of Elaine Carpenter, the Cave Creek horse veterinarian, offer proof to that thesis.   Carpenter was getting just a tad bored with her life until she stumbled upon a few key things that made her soul recognize itself: speed, pushing herself to the limit, trying new things and taking risks that, while calculated, make those close to her cover their eyes and moan, “For the love of sanity, Elaine — please, no!”   These days, there must be something dull and mundane in Carpenter’s life, but you’d have to do a thorough investigation to find it. Even her day job is exciting — she’s a veterinarian specializing in equine surgery. After work and on weekends, she loves to race motorcycles, do stunt flying in planes, climb rocks and other things that have her adrenal glands firing off hormones like machine gun... More