Desert Mountain High School Grads

Desert Mountain High School graduates last Wednesday took to Salt River Fields to pick up their well-earned diplomas.

The Scottsdale Unified School District continued its annual tradition of honoring outstanding graduates and other student and staff achievements at the last governing board meeting of the school year May 24.

That list included Desert Mountain High School senior Danielle Sherman, one of three Arizona students and 161 students nationwide named a U.S. Presidential Scholar by the U.S. Department of Education.  

Sherman was a student in Desert Mountain’s International Baccalaureate program and graduated fourth in her class with a 4.87 GPA. She also played on the school’s soccer team, published poems and short stories, ran the school’s literary magazine and volunteered in the community. 

Saguaro High School graduate Samuel Eckhardt and Desert Mountain graduates Sanya Agarwal and Daniel Marchant were also recognized for winning 2021 National Merit scholarships.

The district recognized three members of the Class of 2021 that are headed to U.S. military academies.

Desert Mountain graduate Logan Brethour was appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

Chaparral graduates Larsen Emig and Sam Kreitzman are headed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and U.S. Military Academy, respectively.

In sports, the district recognized Coronado High School senior Daijon Safford, who came in first place in the Division 3 state triple jump championship earlier this month.

Also this month, senior Olivia Kim and her partner sophomore Julia Frazier won the state tennis doubles championship.

Their teammate, Desert Mountain junior Savanna Kollock, also took home the singles state championship.

SUSD recognized younger students as well.

The district spotlighted McKenna Vick of Anasazi Elementary School, who was the 3rd grade winner for Arizona in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.

Cocopah Middle School seventh graders Finn Feldman and Theo Josephs were recognized for their achievements in the Phoenix Holocaust Association’s Student Art and Writing contest. Finn took home first place in the arts category while Josephs took home second place for writing.

Arcadia High School freshman Gabriella Nakai was named one of ten UNITY Native American Youth Earth Ambassador for 2021-2022. 

The program gives Native American youth training and workshops to increase their knowledge of environmental issues affecting Indian country.

In addition to students, SUSD also honored some teachers and staff.

Coronado High Athletic Director Tony Miller was named the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Administrator of the year.

The district also recognized its longest-serving teachers and staff members with service awards.

That included facilities and building services staffer Gregory Skelton, who has spent 40 years with the district.

A number of other staff members were close behind with 35 years of service, including Robert Reniewicki, Scottsdale Online/Chaparral High School science teacher; Marcy Sanchez, Chaparral High School P.E. teacher; John Selkirik, Pima Traditional School P.E. teacher; Kathryn Spitler, Cocopah Middle School nutrition services; Thomas Vining, Desert Mountain High School science teacher; and Jan Maslikowski, who has worked with the district’s building services, IT and transportation departments.