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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!


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.

A Big Week for Seniors!

Safia Francis, Intern at Living Streets Alliance, shares her experiences at City HS during her Senior Gateway.

As the school year enters its final stretch, seniors have one last milestone to reach before crossing the stage as high school graduates: The Senior Gateway.

Each year, during the first week of May, Seniors deliver their final presentation of learning, reflecting on their growth and accomplishments during their time at City HS. Senior Gateways are organized around a central theme; this year’s included: “Finding a Bigger Tank”; Gaining Confidence”; “Never Stop Fighting”; and “The Road Ahead”. For seniors at City HS, this final Gateway represents years of growth, development, and reflection. We are all so proud of these soon-to-be graduates.

Directly after the Gateway presentations, seniors headed up to Mt. Lemmon for 3 days of relaxing and community-building. The annual Senior Trip trip takes place at the White Tail campground on Mt. Lemmon. This year’s trip included an outdoor screening of The Blair Witch Project, forest bocce ball, and lots of laughter.

Next stop–graduation 2017!

Thank You Community Volunteers!

Chris Wallace, court reporter for AZ Federal District Court, shows students a court reporting tool.

April is volunteer appreciation month and we’ve got some hearty thank-you’s for the many community members that make the City HS program possible. On any given day, guest speakers visit classes to discuss pertinent topics; students work with community experts in the field; and students from Pima Community College and The University of Arizona are coach and tutor students as they refine their core academic skills.

In February, community members from the field of law and law enforcement came to City HS for our annual Career Day. Lawyers, police officers, court interpreters, and a federal judge took time out of their busy days to share their experiences and insights with our students. This kind of community engagement has the power to inspire students to consider careers and college majors that they had never considered before.

One central feature of the City HS program relies the most heavily on committed volunteers in the community: The Senior Internship Program. Each week, seniors spend 5-6 hours, with their mentors, at various sites throughout the city, including KXCI community radio, Miles Exploratory Learning Center, Barrio Viejo Elderly Housing, Tucson Museum of Art, MOCA Tucson, and Xerocraft. Internship mentors provide guidance, teach interns critical workplace skills, and help interns consider various pathways that they might take during their postsecondary years. The internship program would not be possible without the time and generosity that our community mentors provide for our students.

To all the community members that have shared their time and expertise with the City HS staff and students, we thank you.