Phoenix High School and its staff earn praise from its students

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My name is Ronnie Ridens and I am a student at Phoenix High School (which is the district’s continuation high school). I am writing this letter on behalf of the student body.

Many students and staff from conventional high schools have a general belief that the kids from continuation schools are “screw ups”. We all have heard statements like, “You don’t want to end up having to go to the continuation school because that’s where the bad kids go.”

I would like to explain to our community about Phoenix High School and what this school is really like.

Phoenix students are here for many different reasons. Some of us did make mistakes when we were younger and fell behind in credits, some due to illness, some just want to graduate early and some wanted a smaller environment.

Many graduates from Phoenix High School become productive, positive members of our community. A good number of our graduates joined the Marines or Army, while others went on to junior college and many started careers right out of high school.

The graduating class of 2012 was twice the size of any other graduating class in the past 20 years. Phoenix High School met and exceeded the testing, graduation and attendance requirements set by the state for the 2012 year and students are eager to raise the bar even higher. We are working hard every day to prove ourselves and be the best we can be.

In my personal experience, I have noticed that sometimes even my friends treat me differently. They talk down to me because I go to Phoenix and this really gets to me. I have experienced firsthand the hard working students and the dedicated teachers here.

Some people think that this school is just an easy way out but Phoenix High School is just as challenging as any other high school. One difference is that at Phoenix High School, we have real-world requirements, such as Career ED and the REACH senior project.

We also have fewer electives to complete than the other high schools, giving us more time to focus on academic subjects.

We recently added extra classes to help our students gain fine arts credits. These classes are taught by certified Sun City volunteers and include ceramics, knitting and tap dancing.

We also have a Healthy Individuals class as well as two after-school sports, basketball and bowling.

We are hoping to be awarded a grant that will allow us to create a school garden to learn about organic eating, repaint our school mural and improve our school grounds with new plants and flower beds.

We also have a great staff at Phoenix High School.

Mr. Michael Doherty, Mrs. Sandra Hackbarth, and Mr. Kerry Beltram run the school and help keep it nice for the students. Mrs. Mary Lou Resendes is our counselor who works hard to give us every opportunity to succeed.

Mr. Clint Nelson, Mrs. Jennifer Nelson, Ms. Cindy Farris and Mrs. Tracy Gruber are dedicated and hardworking teachers who take the time to connect with students and personally help each one of us.

We also have Mr. and Mrs. Kerry, who volunteer from Sun City and are in charge of our tutoring program. They bring several tutors to the school and help students who are having trouble; they motivate our students and keep them positive as they get closer to graduation.

The students, staff, and teachers of Phoenix have created a big family that help each other and give each other a hand when they need it.

I hope this letter has helped show that Phoenix High School is a school that our community can be proud of. Thank you!

Ron Ridens Jr., Rudy Brito, Niccolo L, Josh Areola, Dante Del Villar, Gabriel Hernandez, Lourdez Gomez, Thomas Snider, Allan Lazaro, Austin Gomez, Kiely Hecht, Cody Brogden, Alejondro Rodriguez, Jory Cox, Katlyn Colvin