May Celebrations

Posted by SUSD Communications on 6/3/2024

Recognitions Galore for the Class of '24
SUSD's Class of 2024 is one for the history books! The 1,800 students who graduated on May 23 from Arcadia, Chaparral, Coronado, Desert Mountain and Saguaro High schools were each amazing in their own unique way. 

Pictured from left to right above:

Talon Watchman, Chaparral, was chosen for the UNITY (United National Tribal Indian Youth) 25 Under 25 natinal youth leadership program. The awards program is designed to celebrate the achievements of Native American and Alaskan Native youth ages 14-24 who embody UNITY's core mission and exude living a balanced life, developing their spiritual, mental, physical, and social well-being to help build a strong, unified and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement.

Lauren Matz, Arcadia; Sania Patel, Chaparral; Jake Weiss, Saguaro; Victoria Leung, Desert Mountain; and Amutha Rajasundaram, Saguaro are each National Merit Scholarship winners.

Lauren's scholarship is sponsored by Northrup Grummon and she is one of just 10 Arizona seniors and 770 nationwide to receive a corporate-supported scholarship.

Sania, Victoria, Amutha and Jake are National Merit Scholarship $2,500 winners.  They were chosen from a talent pool of 15,000 outstanding finalists and are among just 58 Arizona students to receive this scholarship.

Jonathan Guevara, Coronado, is a multi-scholarship recipient, having received more than $100,000 toward his computer engineering studies at Arizona State University. A first-generation college student, Jonathan won a Dorrance Scholarship and a Phoenix Suns/Phoenix Mercury Foundation and Helios Education Foundation Scholarship.

Pictured from left to right below:

Adelina Grotenhuis, Desert Mountain, 
received a QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship that covers the full cost of tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and travel. She's headed to Pomona College in the fall. She also was one of 720 people last year to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest civilian honor awarded in the U.S.

Vivian Saavedra, Chaparral, is a 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholar. The program, established in 1964 by presidential executive order, recognizes some of the nation's most distinguished graduating seniors. While no dollars are attached to this award, it is among the nation's most respected programs. Each applicant is asked to name a teacher who has most influenced them during their high school years. Vivian chose Chaparral Honors/Advanced Placement/Duale Enrollment Chemistry teacher Sadie Puerner, who can now call herself a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Distinguished Teacher!

SUSD's Flinn Scholar this year is Chaparral's Chloe Greetis. Chloe is one of just 20 Arizona high school seniors to be named a 2024 Flinn Scholar.  Her scholarship package to study at Arizona State University is valued at more than $130,000 and includes tuition, housing, meals and at least two study-abroad experiences during the coming four years.

The merit-based Flinn Scholarship is Arizona’s most competitive and prestigious home-grown scholarship programs and is supported by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation. More than 1,000 applications were received last fall for the merit-based, home-grown scholarship.  Flinn Scholars are typically in the top 5% of their graduating class (Chloe is in Chaparral’s top 2%) and demonstrate leadership in extracurricular activities at school and in their communities.  

Chloe has been an outstanding leader at Chaparral. She is an artist, a scientist and a philanthropist.  She took all AP classes this year.  She is the Science Olympiad President, Art Club President, Pioneer of Humanitarian Fundraising for the International Club, Vice President of the Math Club, and was awarded the Scottsdale Sister Cities Youth Leadership Award in 2023, a huge honor!   She also tutors her fellow Firebirds, volunteers for Gigi’s Playhouse, has organized two significant fundraisers for Ukraine families, and for two summers has been part of the Honor Healthcare Teen Volunteer Program.  

Look out, ASU ... here she comes! 

Climate Expressions
SUSD high school students made significant contributions once again this year to Scottsdale Sister Cities' Young Artists and Authors competition.

Addressing the contest's theme, "Climatescape: Resilient Cities for Tomorrow’s Climate," College English course students of Coronado High School's Dr. JoAnn Markette swept the essay category, with senior Chris Lopez-Jolly taking top honors. His essay, "Reshaping Our Future," encouraged local and state leaders to embrace the implementation of cleaner energy sources.

On the art side, Desert Mountain High School junior Hannah Fitzgerald was awarded best-in-show for her acrylic painting on canvas, Journey to Change. Hannah, who is also a member of the Wolves' outstanding tennis team, is a Drawing and Painting III Honors student of longtime art teacher Anne Wilkins and will be taking AP Art next school year.  

U.S. History, Brochure Style
The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, or SAR, sponsors a brochure contest for middle school students each year, challenging them to create an informational brochure based on our nation’s founding documents.

Three SUSD students – Azul Ortiz Tinoco and Leilani Quinonez Montanez from Tonalea Middle School (pictured here) and Katherine Hunter from Desert Canyon Middle School – fared extraordinarily well in this year's local competition, sponsored by the local Barry M. Goldwater SAR chapter. Azul's design placed first, Katherine's second, and Leilani's third!  All three brochures are now headed for state competition!

Congratulations to our trio of artistic historians and their teachers, Grant Barron and Sarah Battaglia! 

London Calling
Come July, you won't find Cameron Friedman designing Saguaro High School's latest PBIS t-shirt, working on an Eagle Scout project or shagging balls on the baseball field.

Rather, the multi-talented Sabercat junior will be part of the percussion section of the National High School Honor Band that will perform at London's Royal Festival Hall. Nearly 10,000 applications were submitted this year by the most talented student performers from around the world and Cameron's was among those selected. Drum roll, please!        



36 x 7
Each spring, Arizona's high school juniors take the ACT Test, a multiple-choice test covering English, math, reading, and science. The test measures a high school student's readiness for college and provides colleges with a common data point that can be used to compare college applicants when the students are seniors.

The number 7 is usually reserved for good luck, but luck had nothing to do with seven SUSD juniors scoring perfect 36 scores on their ACTs this year. It took a fair degree of smarts!

Congratulations to:

     Ari Schott, Arcadia High School
     Daniel Bucher, Luis Chiapetti, Ashley Fu, Raghav Gupta, Chaparral High School
     Maximilien Farkas, Charlie Heron, Desert Mountain High School

We can't wait to see what these students do as seniors!