Author Archive

Senior Spotlight: College Acceptance Letters are Coming In!

Kat Altaffer ’18, enjoying the Pacific Northwest, which will soon be her new home.

For seniors who have applied to college, this time of year requires a lot of patience. Most applications were due at the beginning of January and decision letters won’t generally arrive until April.

But some seniors would prefer to avoid the long wait and apply to college with either an “early decision” or “early action plan”. That’s exactly what Katherine “Kat” Altaffer ’18 did, and her determination paid off. Congratulations to Kat on her acceptance to Lewis and Clark College. She got word of her early action acceptance in December and could not be more thrilled.

Kat knew that Lewis and Clarke was the place for her the moment she set foot on the campus during a visit. “Lewis and Clark is an amazing community of learners and I feel that I will really thrive there. The campus is an oasis in the middle of Portland, a great city that will provide me with opportunities in the future. It also has the 2nd best environmental law program in the country. It is absolutely beautiful there.”  The “love-at-first-site” experience is exactly what should determine the choice to apply either early action or early decision.

Early action or early decision application plans are not for everyone. It’s critical that the applicant feels very confident that the school is the absolute right fit, and that they have an excellent shot at getting in. For more information on the early application plans that exist at a majority of universities around the country, click here.

It’s not easy to stay focused when you’ve got dreams of pine trees, rain, and the City of Portland on the brain, but Kat’s currently working hard to have a successful completion to her senior year. She is, however, very excited for the journey that lies ahead. “I think the most exciting thing is being on my own and experiencing the world which is also the most challenging. The cold will be difficult for me to manage but I love the rain. On one hand I am terrified to leave my family and go out into the real world but I also think being so far away will help me develop some independence. I will miss my family a lot but I’m ready to have my own experiences and make my own decisions.”

Kudos to Kat Altaffer for this incredible accomplishment!




City HS Wins Prestigious Youth in Philanthropy Award

City High School is so honored to be this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award, given each year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southern Arizona Chapter. The award recognizes those in the community who “change the world with a giving heart”. It was, specifically, the CHS Internship Program that was nominated by The Children’s Museum Tucson for the incredible service that our student interns have provided to the Tucson community for the past eleven years.

The November issue of Tucson Lifestyle Magazine will include a feature on our program and will hit the stands on November 1st. As the article highlights, CHS interns have logged over 11,000 hours at non-profit sites throughout the community. CHS interns provide critical support to organizations both in the form of direct service (tutoring refugee youth or producing stories for community radio) as well as indirect service that helps with capacity-building. Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine for the full story.

City High will be honored on National Philanthropy Day next Friday, 11/17, at an awards luncheon that will honor many incredible people and organizations that are active in the philanthropic community. Big kudos to the City HS Internship Program and all of the incredible community partners that have made our program such a success!


Tucson College Night: Tuesday, 10/24 @ 6:30-8:30

The annual Tucson College Night is happening on Tuesday evening, 10/24, from 6:30-8:30 at the Tucson Convention Center. Representatives from over 200 colleges from around the country will be there to answer questions and provide important information about programming and scholarship opportunities. Parking is free!

All students and families are encouraged to attend this very exciting event. It is never too early to start thinking about college planning and this event serves as a great inspiration. The Tucson College Night is also conveniently scheduled just a few weeks after the City HS Annual College Road trip for Juniors. Parents of juniors–this is a great opportunity to build on the momentum that was established during that exciting trip.

Please mark your calendars and plan on attending the Tucson College Night this year. If you have any other questions about college planning at City HS, please visit the College Prep section on our website, or contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access at

Family Night for Juniors and Families 10/19/2017: College Road Map


On Thursday evening, October 19, from 5:30-6:30, Eve Rifkin. Director of College Access, will host a workshop specifically designed for juniors and their families. The workshop will focus on issues specific to juniors, including:

-the college application process

-financial aid

-college admissions exams

-local scholarship opportunities

Please plan on coming out to this informative event. Students are encouraged to come as well. If you have any questions about the event or anything else college related, please contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access,, and visit our College Prep page on the school’s website.

PSAT for Juniors: Wednesday, 10/25

On Wednesday, October 25, City High School will administer the PSAT/NMSQT®, a test that showcases the classroom skills and knowledge that are essential for college and career readiness and success. All juniors will take the test which will last the entire morning of the 25th.
We encourage your child to take advantage of the many benefits the PSAT/NMSQT offers:
• Connects students to colleges and universities across the country, and to scholarship organizations.
• Prepares students for the new SAT® and college and fuels practice recommendations on Khan Academy®.
If you have any questions about how to support your student on their college journey, please do not hesitate to call or email Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access, or visit our College Prep section of the website.

College Planning Season is HERE!

City High School has a number of programs in place designed to support students as they consider their postsecondary options. The fall is a busy time, especially for juniors and seniors, who are planning on attending college after high school. Please mark your calendars–we’ve got some great events coming up:

Northern Arizona University visits Senior Seminar-Wednesday, 9/13 @ 10:15am–A representative from NAU will discuss application requirements and deadlines; financial aid opportunities; and life at this medium-sized public university located in Flagstaff, AZ. NAU has always been a popular choice among CHS students and we are excited to host them again this year. All seniors will be attendikng this event as part of their class. Parents and non-senior students interested in attending should contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access: or 661-8478.

The Annual Junior College Road Trip-Monday-Thursday, 10/2-5–All juniors will hit the road on Monday morning, 10/2, for an action-packed adventure that will include visits to ASU, NAU, and Prescott College, as well as three nights of camping at the Grand Canyon. This annual trip is an important one for juniors as they begin to more clearly think about their postsecondary plans. Any questions about the trip should be directed to KC Engelmann, Junior Trip Leader:

Junior Parent College Night-Thursday, 10/19 from 5:30-7:00–Parents and guardians of all juniors are encouraged to attend this informational session that focuses on the college application process and financial aid considerations.

Juniors Take the PSAT-Wednesday, 10/25 from 9:00-12:30–All juniors will take the PSAT on Wednesday morning 10/25. The test will last fort he better part of the morning and will give students the opportunity to experience a practice version of the SAT, an important college admissions exam. More information about the PSAT can be found here.

For more information about these events or anything else related to college planning, please contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access or visit our College Prep section on the website.

Special Meeting for Seniors and Parents: Thursday 8/24, 6-8pm

There will be a special session for all seniors and their parents this Thursday, 8/24, during the annual Back to School Night. Parents will have an opportunity to hear from Krista Gypton, Senior English teacher, and Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access as they discuss this year’s approach to the senior experience. Parents will hear about the various units of instruction, how they can support their students as they make their postsecondary plans, and other things related to senior year.

Additionally,we are excited to be able to continue our 1:1 Chromebook program for all seniors and will Chromebooks during the meeting. All graduating seniors may check out a Chromebook for the entire year. Students who earn all As and Bs during the school year will be able to keep theirs; all other students will have the option of purchasing theirs for a significantly reduced price.

We look forward to seeing all seniors and their parents tomorrow evening. if you have any questions, please contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access.


Recent Grad Spotlight: Angelique Montaño

Angelique Montaño during her UofA New Start program.

City High graduates do not let the grass grow under their feet as they busily prepare themselves for college orientations, summer traveling, and other post-secondary plans.

Angelique Montaño, class of 2017, has been spending her days at the University of Arizona’s New Start, a program designed to help incoming freshman successfully launch into their college careers. Angelique was this year’s recipient of the Congressional Certificate of Recognition which acknowledges a student for their exemplary leadership and outstanding service to the community.

During her time at City High School, Angelique served as an intern for a local photographer, ran her own photography business, and was a powerful role model for her peers at school. We are so proud of Angelique and wish her well as she begins her exciting college career at the University of Arizona!

The Future Looks Bright for the Class of 2017

Safia Francis (left) and Grey Peckham delivering one of the student commencement speeches at graduation 2017.

This year’s graduating class is an amazing group of students. Their internships have taken them into many sectors of the city and county, and their Senior Impact Projects have made great and lasting improvements to the school community. This year’s graduating class includes interns for Tucson Museum of ArtMiles Exploratory Learning Center, University of Arizona Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryLiving Streets Alliance, and Center. Our seniors have also worked toward making City HS a stronger community for all students through their Senior Impact Projects which included:

•Helping City HS to become a more diverse community by collecting data and presenting findings and recommendations to key staff members.

•Analyzing the Whole School Meeting and recommending improvements so that this weekly gathering can be more accessible and engaging for all students.

•Collecting data to support the transition from the Pennington Street Block Party to the Pennington Street Showcase.

As if all of that is not enough, the list of college acceptances for this year’s graduating class is equally as impressive. Here are a few highlights from this year’s Class of 2017:

Michaela Everett has been at City High School for four years. She has always had a passion for law enforcement and this year had her internship with the Tucson Fire Department. Michaela received the Provincial Merit-Based Scholarship from Pennsylvania State University and will start her college career there in the fall with a major in the Administration of Justice.

Safia Francis joined CHS as a junior (and we are so grateful that she did!) This year, Safia was the intern for Living Streets Alliance and worked tirelessly to support the Cyclovia events as well as other efforts of LSA to make our community safer and healthier for all members. Safia was offered considerable merit-based scholarship funding from Hampshire College, including the Non Satis Scire Award For students that demonstrate academic excellence across disciplines. Safia will be heading to Western Massachusetts to begin her education at Hampshire this fall.

Traye Norton came to CHS as a sophomore and played a key leadership role on the Narwhal Basketball team for all three of his years. Traye served as the intern for Design Collaborations, a landscape architecture firm in downtown Tucson. As the first person in his family to attend a four-year university, Traye will be heading to Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, IA this fall with the support of a generous merit-based scholarship from Coe.

Grey Peckham joined CHS as a junior and spent his senior year as an intern for the Arizona Queer Archives under the mentorship of University of Arizona’s Dr. Jamie Lee. Grey has been an strong advocate for queer youth both within the City High community as well as the broader Tucson Community. grey was awarded the PGLAG/Alliance Fund scholarship which recognizes young individuals who have made significant contributions to the queer your community through advocacy work. Grey will be attending Ithaca College this fall thanks, in part, to the Flora Brown Award, a merit-based scholarship.

Alissa Vorndran has been at City HS for four years. Ali was an active member of the CHS drama department during her time here and spent her last year as an intern working with deaf and hard of hearing students at Miles Exploratory Learning Center, a TUSD elementary school. Ali earned the coveted Lumberjack Scholarship this year, a full-tuition waiver at Northern Arizona University where she will attend this fall with a major in elementary education.

These students represent a small handful of the amazing group that graduated on May 26. The list of college acceptances for the 2016-2017 school year is as follows:

  • American University
  • Arizona State University
  • Coe College
  • Hampshire College
  • Ithaca College
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • Upper Iowa University
  • University of the Pacific
  • Western Illinois University
  • Western New Mexico University

We are all so excited to see what this amazing group does in the future and wish them all the best of wishes as they embark their new adventures.

Graduation 2017: May 26 @ 7:00

Graduation will take place Friday, May 26, at 7:00pm. The location for this year’s ceremony is Jácome Plaza, located at 101 North Stone Avenue, next to the Joel Valdez Main Library.

Graduating seniors will need to be at City High School no later than 6:00pm that evening to prepare for the event. For other details about the event, contact Eve Rifkin.

Parent volunteers needed. City High School has an annual tradition of parents of students in grades 9th, 10th, and 11th grades helping out with graduation. Tasks include set up, decorations, and hosting the post-ceremony reception. If you are interested in volunteering on May 26, please contact Jeff Hartman at your earliest convenience.