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College Info Session for Parents of Freshmen

The Junior College Road Trip 2016.

Join Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access, this Thursday night, 3/9, from 5:30-6:30 for a discussion about initiating the college-thinking process.

While it may feel early to think about college with freshmen, most research suggests that college planning cannot start too early. This event will provide a brief overview for parents and freshmen of basic things to consider when beginning the process, such as financial aid, the importance of maintaining solid grades, getting involved in extracurricular activities, and developing solid study habits. It will also give parents and students an opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts with the broader group.

Parents and students are invited to attend this event. There will be light refreshments provided by the City High School Culinary Club. If you have any questions about this event or anything else related to college, please contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access:, or visit the College Prep section of our website.

Calling All Alumni!

These alumni are excited to stay connected to the City HS community!

In May of 2007, City High School saw its very first graduating class of 11 students cross the stage and receive their diplomas. Those students had courageously chosen to attend a brand new school with no established track record, an innovative approach to education, and an extremely diverse community of learners. Now, ten years later, CHS has graduated over 325 students who have gone to college, entered careers, and worked to make their communities stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

In an effort to stay in touch with all alumni, CHS has launched a survey designed to find out what alumni have been up to since graduating. If you are a City HS alumn and/or are in contact with any alumni, please forward them this news post and encourage them to complete our short alumni survey!

If you have any questions or a particular alumni story or perspective that you would like to share with us, please contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access: And check out our new alumni page on the City High School website!

Career Day 2017: A Huge Hit!

Students get an up close look at the tools and techniques of a US District Court reporter.

Career Day 2017, on Wednesday, February 15, brought professionals from the field of law, law enforcement, border patrol, and forensics science. The theme for this year’s Career Day was inspired by a last year’s Law Club, made up of students from all four grade levels with a strong interest in studying the law. During Career Day 2017, students had the opportunity to hear from Rosemary Marquez, A US District Judge for the District of Arizona; Stephen Greene, a forensics scientist for US Customs and Border Patrol; Lawrence Lee, Assistant US Attorney; David Schneider, a recruiting officer for Tucson the police Department, and others. Savannah Mitchell, ’19, has always wanted to be in the filed of law. “It was really great to hear from Judge Marquez and learn about her career path. I learned so much by watching her court reporter show us what she does in court,” Savannah said.

After a panel discussion and two sessions of presentations from the professionals, the seniors had the opportunity to share their experiences as interns this year. “It was really cool to be in the role of presenter and share my experiences with the younger students. I really liked sharing my stories and talking about what I do as an intern. It made me feel proud of the work I’ve been doing this year,” said Emiliano Nubes, ’17, who interns at Barrio Viejo Elderly Housing. Emiliano is working with senior citizens on creating  digital stories about their lives.

Winter Break College Planning

Class of 2017 College Road Trip, Fall 2015

As the semester comes to a close, many seniors have a much clearer sense of what they will be doing after high school, including which college they will be attending, although most students are still in the decision-making. Winter break is a great time to wrap up loose ends when it comes to completing the college application process. Here are a few things that seniors and their families will want to finalize before the new year:

Complete the FAFSA: Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the single most important thing a student and family can do in order to keep the door open to an affordable college education. Regardless of family need or income level, most universities will not consider a student for scholarship funding without a completed FAFSA on file.

Complete all college applications: Most applications are due by the middle of February and require an essay (or two), letters of recommendation and, an official school transcript. Winter break is a good time to devote a sustained period of time to making sure that all applications are complete and ready to submit. Students have been oriented to the college application process in Senior Seminar and have been guided through the college essay-writing in their Senior English class. Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access, will be available during winter break to assist students in the final stages of their college applications.

Visit a college campus: Students at all grade levels can benefit greatly by a college campus visit, even if it’s not to a college that they plan on attending in the future. There is much to learn through a campus visit and they are easily arranged through the college admissions office. Families that are planning on traveling for the holidays might consider including a college visit in their itinerary. Although most colleges so not have class during their Winter break, it still might be possible to tour the campus.

Continue to apply for scholarships: There are many online scholarship search engines including the College Board’s Scholarship Search Tool and Scholarships A-Z. Seniors are advised to complete scholarship applications in addition to completing their FAFSA to ensure adequate funding for college.

If you have any questions about the college application process or scholarships and financial aid, please contact Eve Rifkin, Director for College Access:

Where Are They Now: Spotlight on Sierra Lindsay, Class of 2014

Sierra Lindsay, '14, is now a cretive writing major in her junior year at the University of Arizona.

Sierra Lindsay, ’14, is now a Creative Writing major in her junior year at the University of Arizona.

City High School, now in its thirteenth year, has graduated over 300 students who have travelled and lived all over the world, and have made huge contributions to their various communities. Alumni can be found caring for animals, working in preschools, studying for exams, translating ancient texts, and working on airplanes. This piece is the first of a series that will focus on alumni, what they’re up to now, and what they remember most about their time at City High.

Sierra Lindsay graduated in 2014. During her time here, she was an active member of and intern for the CHS Drama Department. Sierra spent all four of her high school years at City HS and developed as an excellent writer, thinker, and community-builder during her time here. Now, Sierra is a junior at the University of Arizona, majoring in creative writing with an emphasis on fiction. Sierra was recently awarded the 2015-2016 academic year Highest Academic Distinction within the college of Social and Behavioral Science. The requirement for this award is to maintain a 4.0 GPA over the course of 30 units (around 10 classes). Congratulations to Sierra for this incredible accomplishment. Here are some highlights from a recent interview with Sierra:

-What is your favorite thing about the major you have chosen? I’m in an upper division fiction workshop right now that centers around students writing 15-20 page short stories and sharing it with the class in a roundtable style discussion. These classes are definitely my favorite, because they give me so much room and creativity to come up with new ideas and try new writing techniques with the expectation of getting detailed feedback from my instructor and peers. I’ve developed exponentially as a writer and have even won scholarships for writing I produced in these classes!

-How did your time at City prepare you for success in college? My time at City High was incredibly helpful in allowing space for me to figure out my strengths and weaknesses in academics, and where I saw myself five years down the road. I went through a lot of college decisions while I was at City – my junior year I was positive that I would take a year off from school before going to college, or that I wouldn’t go at all. My senior year, I was applying to colleges to be a theater major. So much has changed! I’m glad to say that City granted me a certain kind of freedom, both academically and creatively, that helped push me towards the path I’m on now. Being able to get specific help on skills I would need further down the line with teachers who cared wholeheartedly about my success was invaluable to me, and something I definitely miss!

Should more/most kids consider college? Why? I do believe that college should always be part of post-high school plans. Even if you are certain that it won’t work for you, I’m a big advocate for giving it a try.  It is so much harder to decide to go to college after taking time off than it is to just give it a shot for the first semester. College is hard, and it’s expensive, and it’s so often this huge terrifying thing looming over the heads of students who can’t pay for it or don’t think they can cut it academically. But it’s also so gratifying to find a major that you love, accomplish things you are proud of, and make connections with faculty members in your department. College is an amazing way to facilitate connections for the rest of your life.

What advice do you have for kids in high school regarding post secondary plans? As a low-income student, I thought there was no way I could pay for college. But if you start early and keep good grades, study for those standardized tests, complete the FAFSA, and take your college applications seriously, you WILL get paid to go to college. And if you try it and discover that, hey, you’re definitely not cut out for it, that’s okay too. I am a much stronger, more confident, and self-assured person since attending college, and I can’t imagine where I would be if I had followed through with my original plans to simply not go.

Thanks Sierra! Keep up the good work. We are so proud of you.


Financial Aid Workshop for Seniors and Families 11/10 @ 5:30

This Thursday, 11/10, City HS will host a workshop designed to help families complete and submit their FAFSAs (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). As mentioned previously, completing the FAFSA is the single most important thing a student and their family can do to ensure college access, enrollment, and completion. This will be a hands-on workshop with computers available for all families. There will also be a representative from the University of Arizona Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
The evening will begin with a presentation from Arizona Earn to Learn, a local scholarship program intended to financially support low to moderate income students. Please make every effort to come out to this workshop. There will be food! If anyone is in need of childcare support, please contact Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access:

Family Night for Juniors and Families 10/19/2016: College Road Map


On Thursday evening, October 20, 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,

Lots Happening on the College Knowledge Horizon!

imgresFall is a busy time then it comes to thinking about college as Seniors continue to explore their postsecondary options and complete their college applications. But thinking about college is not limited to students in their final year of high school. Here’s what is coming up over the next couple of months to help all students increase their college knowledge:

Wednesday, October 19: All students in grades 9-11 will take the PSAT. The PSAT is a great way for students to get a taste of the SAT and a better sense of their college and career readiness. Juniors who score particularly high on the PSAT may qualify for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT will be administered at City High School during the regular Wednesday school hours. Click here for a free PSAT practice test!

Thursday, October 20: Families of Juniors are invited to the City HS College Night for Juniors event from 5:30-7:00. Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access will discuss the college exploration and application process, various ways to pay for college, the importance of college admissions exams, and other relevant topics. Families of juniors–please mark your calendars!

Tuesday, 10/25: The annual Tucson College Night is happening at the Tucson Convention Center from 6:30-8:30. All students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to check out this amazing event. Over 200 colleges and universities from around the country will be represented and parking is FREE! This is a great way to follow up from the Junior College Road Trip or to start thinking about college planning. For alist of colleges that will be in attendance this year, click here.

Senior Stewards Prepare to Make Impact

Tucson community members speak to this year's seniors about their experiences as stewards of the community.

Tucson community members speak to this year’s seniors about their experiences as stewards of the community.

The class of 2017 is preparing for the annual Senior Impact Project launch in which all seniors work to improve an aspect of the school community. As the mission of City High School states, all students at City High School eventually learn to become “stewards of their world”. The Senior Impact Project allows students to put their skills to the test as they approach a school-related issue from a design thinking approach.

Students will first tempt to more deeply understand a problem by conducting surveys and focus group interviews. They will then work collaboratively to envision and pitch solutions intended to make significant improvement. After testing a range of solutions they will arrive at a final plan. “I excited to get started on this project because it will give me the opportunity to make a real positive change at City HS. Even though I won’t be here next year, I’m looking forward to leaving a positive mark on the school community,” said Wrilan Thum, class of 2017.

In order to help students wrap their minds around the notion of stewardship, an illustrious group of Tucson community stewards met with the seniors 2 weeks ago to share their experiences and talk about their work. Community guests included:  Vanessa Cascio, Community Liaison at Living Streets Alliance; Eric Dhruv, Program Director at Ironwood Tree Experience; and Kimi Eisele, Centennial Artist in Residence with Saguaro National Park and Artistic Director of Standing with Saguaros.

Time to Take the ACT or SAT


Any senior planning on attending a four-year university next year is strongly encouraged to take either the ACT or the SAT. Most universities require either one of these exams as part of their admissions requirements. Additionally, students will not be considered for scholarship money from any of the in-state universities without a set of scores from either test.

Signing up for the ACT or the SAT is relatively easy and takes about 20-30 minutes. The upcoming test and registration dates for the ACT can be found here. Upcoming test and registration dates for SAT can be found here.

Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch will also qualify for a test fee waiver. Those students should see Eve Rifkin, Director of College Access, at their earliest convenience. Students and families who would like additional guidance or support in signing up for either test should also contact Eve.

For more college-related resources, please visit the College Prep page on the City High School website.