SUSD Class of 2023 ready to march

Daniella Vogel, senior class president of Chaparral High School, holds gifts purchased for a toy drive. She is one of the speakers at the May 24 graduation ceremony. (Special to the Progress)

This week will begin with some 2,000 high school seniors walking on campuses around Scottsdale. By the end of the week, they will be moving on to the next phase of their lives after a final high school walk.

The ink is drying on diplomas for seniors of Scottsdale Unified School District’s five public high schools as Graduation Day approaches.

Senior class sizes: 170 at Coronado High; 325 at Saguaro High; 448 at Desert Mountain High; 471 at Arcadia High; 578 at Chaparral High.

All five SUSD high schools will have graduation ceremonies Wednesday, May 24.

But not all will have valedictorians.

District spokeswoman Nancy Norman, explained that SUSD is in the process of moving to the Latin honors system to recognize graduating seniors, as universities do, with honors of cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.

This will not begin at every SUSD high school until the Class of 2025.

A number of other school districts have dropped the valedictorian and salutatorian positions, going either to a format like Scottsdale Unified’s or simply having a couple seniors with the highest GPAs address their classmates at graduation ceremonies.

The Class of 2024 will be a “bridge year,” when schools can use Latin Honors ceremonially, if they wish.

“In the meantime,” Norman said, “our high schools will continue whatever their current practice is for this year’s graduating class.”

For the Class of 2023, Arcadia, Coronado and Desert Mountain will have valedictorians.

At valedictorian-free Chaparral, the graduation speakers include Nicolaas Schmid, Eli Binder, Isabella Reese and Daniella Vogel.

Daniella, who is the senior class president, told the Progress she is enrolling at the University of Arizona to study computer science and graphic design.

“In college, I hope to continue my creative pursuits and leadership roles,” she said.

She said she challenged herself at Chaparral by taking tough courses and engaging in multiple activities.

“Some of the most important things I've learned came from experiences pretty unique to the activities I chose to be a part of, such as student government, cheer and honors classes,” she said.

Being so busy “forced me to learn how to effectively manage my time.”

“Some of my favorite moments in high school were Friday night football games, the Yavapai Toy Drive and painting a mural on my school's campus this year to celebrate our 50th anniversary.”


Arcadia’s valedictorians are Sebastian Brock, Viviane Carroll and Henry Ord.

Kelly Dawson and Alexandra Murphy will give a speech called “A Single Step” and Kendra Montes Cardenas will talk about “Kudos to You” at Arcadia.

Coronado’s valedictorian is Nolan Eifler.

Alejandra Butanda Arredondo will give a speech at graduation.

Desert Mountain’s featured speaker is Jory Pottgen, who will discuss how “Not All Paths Have GPS.”

Saguaro’s speakers include Katherine Roybal and Kiromi Yoshimura (“Life on Sabercat Lane”), Sloane Richie (“Decide Who You Want to Be”), Wade Crum (“Aspirations of the Class of 2023”) and Ivy Alter (“What If?”).

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