01
Mon, May

When looking to the future and what professions will be needed, teaching joins others like nursing and computer professionals.

Mingus Union High School looked at the need and added a new course of study to its Career and Technology Education offerings — Education Professions — for 2008-09. The new course is the 11th offered through the school’s successful CTE program.

“We seek out programs with a baccalaureate aspect. One is our certified nursing assistant program. They can graduate with their CNA and work in a hospital or doctor’s office, and with the background they get they can enter a nursing program,” CTE director Ralph Fobair said.

It is like getting a foot in the door, he said.

According to information Fobair received, Arizona State University is graduating fewer teachers than need to be coming out of college.

“Then add in retirement and we’ll have a shortage of teachers. Even with the slowdown in the economy we’ll still need teachers,” Fobair said.

Education professions grew from a Future Teachers of America club in the Peoria Unified School District in the Phoenix area in 1999 to help address the growing need for teachers, and to provide service-learning experiences.

The essential element is school-based instruction reinforced by extensive field experience. The program will give students the opportunity to explore teaching as a career option. They gain a realistic understanding of education, the role of the teacher and develop leadership skills, Fobair said.

“Because this is a work-based experience with the option to be mentored by people working in the field, a light comes on for the students and they realize, ‘Hey, I can do this,’” he said. “A lot of our CTE students don’t always see college as an option.”

Approximately two-thirds of Mingus students in any given year take at least one CTE class.

With the help of Mingus Principal Marc Cooper and some other staff members, Fobair found out about the program. Along with the program is a Future Educators of American organization. Fobair hopes to establish a new chapter at Mingus.

“You want opportunities in high school, and that’s what this is. It shows them there’s a lot more out there. All of our programs do,” Fobair said.

In December, Mingus’ governing board approved the addition of the education professions program. The students will learn leadership and interpersonal skills, experience work-based learning and preparation for careers in education — to start on the path of becoming a teacher.

“We’ll expand our agreement with Dr. Daniel Bright [Elementary School] like we have with early childhood education. When they finish here, granted, they won’t be teachers, but they will have a step up to get into their degree path,” Fobair said.

Public school systems don’t typically operate a charter school program, but the numbers are increasing every year. Soon, the Camp Verde Unified School District may join that growing list.

The school board gave its approval last week to begin the process of applying for three separate charters. The requests would ultimately have to be approved by the Arizona Charter School Board, said Superintendent Jeff Van Handel, and board member Andrea Wrubel wanted assurances that the board could back out if it wanted to.

The idea is that smaller schools, like most of those in the district, could eventually receive a financial boost from the state, Van Handel said.

If the plan is approved and implemented as soon as possible, the district wouldn’t see a benefit until the 2010-11 school year, Van Handel said.

The three possibilities include two “schools within a school” options and the potential construction of a new charter school on 10 acres of land in the proposed Simonton Ranch development.

Owner Scott Simonton has been open to the idea of giving the school board first crack at the land if they are willing to actually build a school on the property, Van Handel said.

That school, which would start out small, possibly kindergarten to fourth grade, before eventually expanding up to eighth grade, is a candidate for the International Baccalaureate program, a special pre-university program taught by more than 2,000 schools worldwide.

Of course, whether or not a charter school of that nature is feasible in Camp Verde is speculation, Van Handel said. A marketing study would have to be done.

One of the other ideas is for a chartered college prep program at South Verde High School to be taught alongside the school’s technical education courses.

Finally, the board is considering a dual-language charter program for Camp Verde Elementary School.

The program would immerse young children in both Spanish and English, the idea being that it’s far easier to learn a second language when a person is young, Van Handel said.

Also, Van Handel said that studies have shown that native Spanish and English speakers become much more effective at peer tutoring when they understand each other’s language.

There are some disadvantages to charter schools. While there could be a financial gain, charter schools aren’t required to provide transportation like a public school and therefore don’t receive any funding for it.

The initial paperwork is due Wednesday, June 25, Van Handel said.

Mingus Union High School seniors have been excited since August for the end of the school year — certainly for the end of classes and graduation, but also the graduation party thrown in their honor.

Operation Graduation is a 22-year tradition at Mingus. It is the lock-down, all-night bash loaded with entertainment, food, games, food, music, more food and fun. The graduating seniors and their friends can cut loose in a safe, substance-free and chaperoned environment.

Everyone will start to drift in around 10 p.m. on Friday, May 23, after graduation ceremonies on the football field. Once inside the teens stay until the party is over around 5 a.m. on Saturday, May 24. No student can get in after 11 p.m., but students may leave the party. However, once gone no one gets back in.

Each year more than 85 percent of the graduates join the party at the Clark Memorial Clubhouse in Clarkdale. Many also bring along one or two guests. The average each year is around 500 teens who are not out on the roads to celebrate.

Operation Graduation Committee Chairman Chris Quasula wants to increase the percentage of graduates and wants all of the approximately 238 who receive diplomas to come to the party.

“There’s not a more fun place to be. We’re bringing back the kids favorites and adding a few new features to the party. We’ll have a live band, The Bratskis, who are all high-schoolers, and a DJ for music,” Quasula said.

Some of the other repeats are the inflatable games, movies, laser tag, rock climbing, video and board games, and a caricaturist. The pool will not be part of the party, though, because Quasula said not enough people wanted to swim when it was offered.

A little more than a dozen people put the party together over the last few months, arranging the entertainment, getting donations of food and prizes, and raising money to buy more prizes.

“We were all out last week buying gifts and hope to get enough cash donations by the time of the party to give the traditional grand prize to one graduate of $2,008,” Quasula said.

There always is a lot of food. Many of the parents and committee members bake cookies, brownies, cakes and pies, along with donations of goodies from local grocery stores. The big feature on the food tables, as one can guess, is pizza — lots of pizza — a staple in the teen diet.

Another part of Operation Graduation that began just a few years ago is a raffle for a quad with trailer at $10 a ticket. People wanting to enter the drawing still have a few days to buy a ticket. They can be purchased at Taylor Waste, A&B Motors, Reese and Sons, The Cowboy Shop, Verde Lea Market or at the Northern Arizona Boys and Girls Club in Cottonwood.

“We’ll draw the winner Saturday, May 24, before the party ends at 5 a.m.,” Quasula said.

Other prizes for seniors include stereo equipment, computers, televisions, trips, iPods, gift cards, personal services and dozens of other items known to be in demand by teens. Each senior in attendance is guaranteed at least one prize.

“Many of the area restaurants donated not only food, but food certificates, and not just the fast food places,” Quasula said.

Along with wanting more teens to come and enjoy the party, he said more donations and volunteers are welcome. A few more chaperones would help ease the load for the those who already volunteered.

“You don’t have to stay for the whole night — two, three or four hours — whatever people feel comfortable with. They can call Cheryl Kessel at 634-2428,” Quasula said.

To donate food, items can be taken to the clubhouse up until the morning of the party.

The party was in jeopardy this year because, as of January 15, no one had come forward to take the chairman position. After an article appeared in the Cottonwood Journal Extra, Quasula called Ooida Door, Mingus staff liaison for Operation Graduation, and volunteered. Other volunteers came to help and the committee started to work in mid-February.

“We got it together in three months. I’m amazed at the members of the committee and how hard they worked to do this for the graduates,” Quasula said.

Other schools in the Verde Valley have followed Mingus’ example and have an all-night party or an over night trip for the graduating seniors.

Sedona Red Rock High School is going to Disneyland. Several schools are going the same night, and the park’s officials are closing the park for them.
“It’s so great to know that our efforts and everyone who contributed helped these kids stay safe graduation night and provided them with a whole night of fun,” Quasula said.

For more information or to volunteer, call Quasula at 639-3057.

Lu Stitt can be reached at 634-8551 or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Parking lot attendant Ron Agoglia is an outspoken man.

A former worker for the phone company in New York City and a former school board member in Brooklyn, Agoglia knows a few things about managing a school and school policy.

Even so, Agoglia’s contract to patrol Mingus Union High School parking lots will not be renewed next year, making Agoglia a high profile victim of the district’s planned $300,000 in budget cuts.

The decision to let Agoglia go was protested by Agoglia and his supporters during the public comment portion of the Thursday, May 8, Mingus Union School District’s school board meeting.

During an interview after the meeting, MUHS Superintendant Scott Dunsmore said the decision not to renew Agoglia’s contract was simply part of an overall “reduction in force” underway at the district.

Parking lot fees, paid by students, go into the district’s general fund.

Agoglia’s salary is paid out of that fund. Total parking lot fees collected, however, will not cover the cost of two parking lot attendants, one full time and one part time, Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore could not say exactly how much the district will save by laying Agoglia off.

According to Agoglia, tension between himself and Dunsmore started at the board meeting in March when Agoglia openly contradicted the superintendent about how the new closed campus policy was working.

The school board voted to close the campus earlier this year, but then decided April 10 to open the campus again for the 2008-09 school year.
The policy currently prohibits students from driving off campus, though they can leave on foot.

To get around the policy, Agoglia said students overload the few cars given lunch passes by cramming up to five teens in backseats. Students who leave campus for lunch during the day often jaywalk or walk out in front of moving traffic on Fir Street and Hwy. 260, Agoglia said.

The goal of the closed campus policy was to make the students safer, but it has actually placed them in more danger, Agoglia claimed.

If getting rid of his job is not a part of the overall budget cuts, Agoglia said he felt it was retaliation for his open disagreement with Dunsmore’s policies and actions.

“People are afraid of the school board, even the parents. I’m pretty much the only one who raises the issue to the board because the teachers are afraid of losing their jobs,” Agoglia said.

He claimed the actions of Dunsmore and the board have fostered a hostile working environment which is scaring everyone, out of fear of losing their jobs if they speak out.

Parking lot attendant Roger Stoddard spoke up for Agoglia at the May 8 board meeting. Together, he and Agoglia were able to get the parking lot under control, running off drug users and dropouts who hung around the school. He and Agoglia made MUHS safer for students and teachers, Stoddard said.

Without Agoglia, the parking lot will return to the way it was, Stoddard said.

“Please, let me keep my job,” Agoglia asked the board.

The applause in response was long, loud, vocal and unrestrained. Two people shouted out, “That-a-boy, Ron” and “God bless you, Ron.”

After the meeting, Dunsmore downplayed public sentiment expressed in favor of Agoglia during the meeting, explaining that people who show up are not a true representation of the entire community.

For a criminal, the lights and sirens of racing police cars can cause concern. For an elementary school student, it’s one of the coolest things in the world.

Students at Camp Verde United Christian School had a blast April 16 for First Responders Day, an annual event that lets children see first hand some of the tools of the emergency response trade, including fire trucks, police cars and a crowd favorite, the Angel One medevac helicopter.

Aside from serving as a conversation piece for young boys to discuss how they would best employ the helicopter to fight bad guys, bringing this equipment and the men and women who use it to the children serves another important purpose, said Donna Hazlewood, a paramedic with Lifeline.

“It’s important that the children get exposed to all this and not be afraid of it,” Hazlewood said.

When there’s an emergency, a child’s level of comfort with police officers, firefighters or paramedics could make all the difference as to the outcome.
Hazlewood, who used to work for Guardian Air, first got involved with the idea of First Responders Day when her son was in grade school several years ago.

In addition to the helicopter, this year’s event brought together the Yavapai-Apache Police Department, the Camp Verde Fire District and the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office, which provided K-9 officer Jake to give a demonstration of how the marshal’s office uses dogs to detect drugs and take down suspects.

It almost didn’t happen last week, school administrator Robin Showers said. Several emergency units were answering calls, but fortunately, everyone’s schedules were cleared in time for the event.


“It just all came together,” Showers said.


Mark Lineberger
Larson Newspapers

Mingus Union High School mathematics teacher Dennis Kitchen told students they need to light a fire — an internal fire — to succeed as the keynote speaker for the 42nd Strive for .5 awards ceremony.
Strive for .5 occurs twice a year, once each semester, and is sponsored by the Cottonwood Journal Extra and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Other area businesses also help support the academic achievement program.
Mingus, through Strive for .5, recognizes and honors students who raise their grade point average by 0.5 from one semester to the next, or maintained a cumulative 3.5-plus GPA for two consecutive semesters.
More than 300 students earned Strive for .5 awards at the Feb. 19 ceremony. Several students were first- and second-time recipients and senior Casey Fleischmann earned the honor as a third time Strive for .5 recipient.
Kitchen talked about different types of fires from campfires to coal-burning furnaces. He reminisced how he felt safer near a campfire than out alone in the woods, hearing strange noises at every step.
“Fires can be inviting and comforting. When I was young, my job was to start the coal furnace. It wasn’t easy. I had to shovel the coal into the hopper and light the fire. I got good at starting fires — a little too good,” Kitchen said, and mentioned something about the neighbor’s fence.
Once the fire in the coal furnace got going it burned hot and bright, Kitchen said, especially in the center where it appeared white.
“That’s what you have to look for. You have to find that white fire inside you,” he said.
One can have gasoline, wood or coal, but unless one has a spark, a fire will never start, he said.
“That spark is what got you here,” Kitchen said first pointing to the students and then at the stage floor. “You’ve got that spark and you can be a bright fire.”
Kitchen told the students they need to find something that interests them and have people around them who will push them to build that fire and keep it going.
“You may never start a coal fire, you may never stare into a campfire, you may never start any fire, but you can build one inside you that will continue to burn, and so hot you won’t be satisfied until you find success,” Kitchen said.
He added that the seniors in the auditorium who will be graduating in May will need to find a new spark on the path they choose after they graduate.
Strive for .5 started at Mingus in 1987 and has recognized thousands of students.
As each student’s name was called, they walked across the stage and received congratulations from the school’s administrators and governing board members, a certificate, a T-shirt and the applause of their fellow students, parents, relatives and friends in the audience.

Strive for .5 recipients
Class of 2008:
*Returning Academic Letter: Jenny Lee Barton, Karen Michele Van Gorp, Janel I. Bowser, Mercedes M. Walsh, Amanda Nicole Dawson, Amanda Lynne Wilber, Riddhi Mehta, Kylie Jordan Alexander, Alyssa Nicole Williams, William Malcolm Murray, Patricia Yun Beech, Samantha Hope Woolsey, Pedro Gerardo Ochoa, Nathaniel Evan Boardman, Paige Marie Wyles, Michael Charles Pott, Jennifer Rose Burger, Wesley Michael Ratzlaff, Shylynne Dahms, Alyssa Monique Razo, Corey Brendan Dutter, Amanda Marie Rosales, Aria J. Dykhuis, Merchelle Tina Sloan, Brittany Marie Fox, Vinita Ann Marie Smart, Matthew George Hamilton, Lauren Alyse Stokes, Alexandra Maureen Hayes, Sophie Dyann Strother, Samuel James Daniel Hayes, Jentry Ann Taylor, Kayla Marie Islas, Myhcal David Vannette, Nicole Marie Jurisin, Charlotte May Westling, Timothy Christian Kessel, William F. Weston, Thanat Khamlua, Leroy Phillip Wilcock, Joseph Robert Loehr, Kayla Camille Matkovich.
* First Academic Letter: Stephanie Ann Westcott, Susy Nathllely Gamboa, Jerelyn Philene Butler, Sarah Katherine Westover, Brittany Jane Harrison, Joseph E. Jaraczewski, Tarah Racheal Westover, Alikai Augustine Kesl, William Ross White, Tamara Guadalupe Marquez.
* Third time Strive for .5: Casey Ann Fleischmann.
* Second Time Strive for .5: Lauren Elizabeth McFarlin, Chelci Tre-Ann Barnes, Benjamin Adam McLaughlin, Troy Clifford Baxter, Ky James Mickelsen, Adam Cain Browne, Joanna Elizabeth Morrison, Eric Kenneth Cardenas, Nicholas Todd Muehlhausen, Paige Ashley Curtis, Jeffrey Alan Pottorff, Bradley Duane Dixon, Sarah Rose Procknow, Brett Joseph Garrick, Wesley Micheal Ratzlaff, Lee Andrew Gregory, Lisa Katherine Rauch, Kelsey Angela Guerrero, Tamar Ami Rubenstein, Levi Bevan Jones, Jason Peter Ruechel, William D. Malloy, Justin Edward Schultz, Nicholas Andrew Richardson, Katherine M. Schumacher, Leanndra D. Sorrells, Rowdy Keegan Scott, Mark Anthony Taylor, Ely Theodore Self, Kristin Renee Tinnin, Grace Shannon Stearman, Misha Deneen Weed, Chelsey Ann Van De Gohm.

Class of 2009:
* Returning Academic Letter: Cindia Rodroquez, Tasili A. Epperson, Valarie R. Adams, Deanna S. Skaggs, Kambria Christine Finley, Jessica L. Allen, Alexander M. Stratz, Nallely M. Gomez, Travis L. Allred, Maranda S. Tapia, Cindi J. Gramajo, Nikolaus John Batroff, Christopher J. Taylor, Ricky M. Hernandez, Carly C. Blair, Tanner E. Walz, Travis G. Johnson, Ian H. Blake, Megan B. Whitney, Ronald V. Kaufmann, McKenzie M. Brott, Raemy Winton, Chance T. Koepnick, Joshua Chang, Kelsey L. Wokasch, Kiersa N. Koepnick, Chelsea M. Chavez, Brandi S. Wolstencroft, Jay T. Misany, Stacey L. Christmann, Erin N. Wylie, Justin T. Nguyen, Collin M. Costello, Matthew A. Norris, Jessica L. DeMar, Staci N. Okamoto, Ashley R. Doering, Shawn Pena, Ashley N. DuFresne, Steven S. Pollock, Arielle C. Engle, Sha-Nae K. Randall, Lauryn E. Evans, Chelsi L. Rohloff, Stephanie M. Fettkether, Diego Soto, Timothy L. Freriks, Michael A. Stolz, Kenneth Allen Gagliano, Stephanie A. Von Lienen, Stephanie S. Giampietro, Daniel Wadsworth, Jeremy A. Glick, Ethan Blake Warner, Lupita M. Gonzalez, Rodrigo Sanchez Gonzalez.
* First Academic Letter: Sarah Joy Adler, Josiah Trey Jones, Paul David Paradise, Raymond Scott Baker, Alyssa Danel Reiter, Valerie S. Parmarter, Sarah J. Copper, Cheyenne L. Robinson, Darrin L. Cummins.
* Second Time Strive .5: Kevin W. Goodearl, Dustyn Lyle Finley, Rachael Nichole Greer, Wesley Thomas Harrington, Andrea Gudiel, Lauren L. Jones, Branna D. Guerra, Antonia M. Lampros, Christina M. Hagberg, Jazmin Guadalupe Licea, Marie C. Hutchins, Jazmin Lomeli, Aram T. Jones, Mercedes M. Palosaari, Joshua M. Kestell, Sean D. Scott, Colleen A. Leman, Abriana R. Serna, Jose Lopez, Ty Meacham, Amanda C. Miskiel, John T. Morrison, Danielle Marie Nash.

Class of 2010:
* Returning Academic Letter: Clint Christopher Minton, Danielle Kelly Hillebert, Ashley Nichole Abbey, Zoe Marguerite Morrison, Jay Michael Hockman, Jake Wily Addis, Alina Lean Mouritsen, Victoria Racheal Hummel, Rylie Paige Backus, Trevor John Murray, Ellen Jackson, Cassandra Avis Bailey, Morgan Eugene Nelson, Rebecca Lynn Konecny, Rose Anne Barnett, Alexis Nichole Nevitt, Andrew Robert Kuntz, Cheyenne Yvonne Bartz, Sabrina Ortiz, Paola Karina Larrazolo, Joel Bruce Bissen, Sarah Marie Pallas-Downey, Michael LeAaron Majors, Danielle Nicole Bonfig, Jill Marie Peterson, Raul Manuel Martinez, Deserata Braly, Sarah Raber, Audrey Nicole Martinson, Scout Maria Butcher, Terrin Rice, Nicholas S. Mattson, Tekla Hutyra Cellar, Natalie Rivera, Chelsea Irene Messerly, Lee Chang, Ysabella Rongo, Kourtni Rachelle Nelson, Naomi Mei Shan Chang, Rebecca Jane Shimko, Stephani Breanna Powell, Kerissa Linn Clark, Karena B. Snow, McKenna Cody Ray, Clea Jane Conlin, Treavor John Wills, Matthew Ryan Rocha, Bernadette Adriana Contreras, Hunter McKay Zwart, Ryan Scott Shepherd, Madison Crnkovich, Dillon Robert Sherman, Jessica Di Re, Liberty Nicole Smith, Tanner William Drake, Lucas Benjamin Soliz, Kyla Blake Elliott, Hayden W. Stamper, Mayra Veronica Garcia, Tawni Skyler Stanley, Luke Theodore Goettl.

* First Academic Letter: Kyle Austin Mack, Michael Henry Harris, Rachel A. Libby, Skylar Lynn Majewski, Deborah Hernandez, Thatcher Cole McMaster, Humberto Herrera.

* Second Time Strive .5: Lesli Kinkade, Paige N. Flores, Amy Louise Anderson, Tyrus Allen Kirby, Darbey Jordon Foreman, Gabriel Meza, Connor Lee Ledbetter, Clayton John Fuller, Brittney Melissa Noble, Robert Wayne Lee, Joe Valentino Gomez, Daniel Michael Lopez-Oehler, Emmet Keane Gonzales.

* First Time Strive .5: Returning Academic Letter: Chelsea Diane Buck, Nichole Marie Teixeira, Jordan Lynn Grau, Eleanor Clara Comstock, Laura Ester Villegas, Jordan Danielle Hester, Robin Leeann Dawson, Kathleen Renee Waite, Staci Anne Hewitson, Shana Nichole Decker, Casey Symmes Wilkinson, Kelsey Shae Huber, Chelsea T. Duncan, Franklin Dean Williams, Logan Allen Islas, Fernando Uribe Escamilla, Devyn Kathleen Jones, Alan U. Fletes, Steven R. Minton.

Lu Stitt can be reached at 634-8551 or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The overwhelming opinion, especially from students, is to keep the Mingus Union High School campus open, as it has always been.

Only one person spoke in favor of keeping the students on campus from the beginning of classes to the end of the day, including the lunch period, at a Jan. 16 public hearing.

The Open/Closed Campus Committee conducted the public hearing to get further opinions from the public in their attempt to come up with a recommendation for the governing board. The five-member governing board will make the final decision.

About 40 people attended the meeting — parents, teachers, students and members of the public — with about 18 people speaking, mostly students who want the campus to remain open.

An online poll and a telephone poll ended in the majority of people in favor of an open campus so students can go to local restaurants for lunch.
“We were formed to make a recommendation to the board. We decided to focus only on safety of the students,” said Mark Miskiel, host of the hearing.

The committee also looked at what it would cost, what other campuses in the state are doing and at the idea of bringing food vendors to campus, he said.

Speakers addressed four questions, which included whether they preferred the campus be closed or stay open, if the campus stays open what ideas they had to improve the safety and closed or open, how could the campus be made more attractive for students at lunch?

The committee will make their recommendation to MUHS District Superintendent Scott Dunsmore, who will in turn make a recommendation to the governing board at the board’s Thursday, Jan. 24, meeting. The board is expected to make a decision at that meeting.

Nicole Powers, a senior at Mingus, said she would not like to see the campus close.

“It’s a big amount of freedom they look forward to. Parents and kids have to be aware of their own safety,” Powers said.

To attract students to campus, Powers said more places to eat, more food and healthier food are needed.

“More choices will make it more comfortable for students to be here,” she said.

Physical education teacher Susan Holm said she thinks closing the campus would cause equally as many other problems.

“It’s like putting the cart before the horse. There’s too much gray area. Where will we put students? What schedule changes would need done,” Holm asked.

She said, as a parent, she has never been afraid for their safety.

Paula Blankenship and her son Kevin both favor limiting students to walking if they want to go off campus. It would reduce the safety risk and still give some freedom, Kevin said.

“If you make it a closed campus, it would be as much a safety hazard because of fights,” he said. He told the committee he has witnessed fights on campus.

“I’m afraid you cannot guaranteed the safety of 1,000 students. If you have more parent volunteers, you’ll have more success,” Paula Blankenship said, volunteering herself to help.

To keep students on campus voluntarily, she said the school needs more ramadas, more shade and areas for students to relax outside.

As the parent of two Mingus students, Audrey Islas said she is not more concerned about her children’s safety than if they were going to school or out on a date.

As a teacher, Islas said it would be impossible to put 1,200, 600 or 400 students in the cafeteria for lunch, and that closing the campus would cause changes in the academic schedule.

“I’m seeing grade declines. It would cause the need for more control and more supervision,” Islas said.

Laura Sperry said she thinks the students will go off campus anyway.

“As far as safety, that’s an issue either on or off campus. If I don’t want my child going off campus, I don’t give them the keys,” Sperry said.

Sperry’s daughter, Carolyn, said that safety needs to be with the student.

“Safety of the student comes from within the student. Students need to be responsible for themselves on or off campus. If we’re all stuck in here we’re not going to be happy,” Carolyn Sperry said.

Several other students who spoke agreed with her that each student should be responsible for his or her own safety and behavior.

Sophomore Lesley Kincaid said students have abided by other rules, such as no phones in the classroom, not talking to each other during class and having to ask to go to the bathroom.

“We’ve obeyed those rules. Don’t take away our small amount of freedom we do have,” Kincaid said.

Chelsey Shadrach, a senior, likened the ability to go off campus during lunch to people taking a lunch break from the job to get away and get refreshed.

Another student, Madison Crnkovich, said having separate lunch periods would cause a lot more ditching.

“I’d resort to ditching to be with my friends,” she said and quickly added that she would never ditch a class.

The lone person in favor of closing the Mingus campus related her experience of high school at a closed campus.

“We were more focused on our studies. We had activities and we didn’t have a problem,” Julie Dodge said.

She said the issue went deeper than the safety of students on the street, it was about unauthorized people being able to come on to the campus.

Because of rising costs, especially fuel, the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District found it necessary to adjust its extracurricular fees.

Students who want to play sports, play in the band, participate in a club or go on field trips must come up with the cash. The district’s administration came up with a cost chart for the five schools within the district.

“We wanted to adjust our fees to what other schools are charging,” Business Services Director David Snyder said at a Sept. 9 district board meeting.

Some activities are being charged for, for the first time, most at $1, which prompted Board Chairman Randy Garrison to question the fee.

“It seems that it would be more trouble to deal with,” Garrison said.

However, Snyder said in order for all extracurricular activities to be eligible to receive the tax credit donations, a fee had to be charged.

None of the items to which a fee is charged are part of the school’s general curriculum.

“Music is, but band is not,” Superintendent Barb U’Ren said.
Yet, Sandy Huson, principal at Tavasci Elementary, said no one who wants to play is turned away. Some scholarships are available, particularly for band.

Fee Schedule
Cottonwood Middle School:
Football — $50
Other sports — $30
Art Club — $25
Chess Club — $10
Band — $15
Other extracurricular activities — $1
Field trip fees vary.
Dr. Daniel Bright Elementary:
Cub Stacking, Computer, Reading — $1 each
Tavasci Elementary:
Band — $40
Choir — $5
Computer, Jewelry, Volleyball, Basketball, Archery, Cut Stacking and Drama clubs — $1 each
Cheerleading Camp — $1
Student Council — $1
Field Trips — $1 to $5
Oak Creek School:
Band — $15
Other activities — $1
Field trip fees vary.
Cottonwood Elementary School:
Band and Choir — $10
Jump Team, Leadership and Astronomy — $1

The difference in band fees depends on the program at the school, U’Ren said. For example, Tavasci rents instruments for $40. The fee covers that cost.

CMS Principal Denise Kennedy told the board the new fees have not had a negative effect on participation.

“We still have the same number of teens in volleyball and in football,” she said.

Conversely, Donnie Shanks at Oak Creek School said he has seen a decrease because of the fees.

The five-member board unanimously approved the extracurricular and sports fees.

Lu Stitt can be reached at
634-8551 or e-mail
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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