Cholla students return from Qatar visit

A group of Cholla High Magnet School students took a trip to Qatar as part of an educational exchange program last week.

The program, hosted by the Qatar Foundation International, aims to bring together students from the United States and Qatar in an exploration of identity and cultures through the Arabic language.

“We are ecstatic for our students to be able to have such a wonderful opportunity to travel to Doha, Qatar, and participate in language and cultural experiences, which will prepare them to be 21st-century global citizens,” Cholla Principal Frank Armenta said.

In all, 23 students from Texas, Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Tucson and Seattle participated.

TUSD hires ‘culturally relevant’ director

The Tucson Unified School District has a new director of culturally relevant teaching.

Salvador A. Gabaldón was appointed to the position Tuesday with a 3-2 vote from the TUSD Governing Board. Members Michael Hicks and Mark Stegeman cast the opposing votes, with Stegeman saying he had a “process concern.”

Gabaldón previously served as a language acquisition specialist in TUSD’s language acquisition department in a part-time capacity earning $25 an hour.

Information on Gabaldón’s new salary was not available Friday.

TUSD launched its culturally relevant courses at three high schools — Cholla, Pueblo and Tucson — at the beginning of the school year and plans to have it in place at all 10 high school campuses in the fall.

CDO students win Academic Decathlon

A team of students from Canyon del Oro High School was named state champions at the Arizona Academic Decathlon Finals held earlier this month in Glendale.

The CDO team scored 45,873.9 out of a possible 60,000 points. Team members included Caleb Yetman, Matt Welch, Jennifer Baeza Loya, Martin Ramirez Araujo, Michael Yuhas, Nicole Enos, Rebecca Gosla, Jennifer Marine and Maria Elena Pakulis.

Students were tested in 10 categories: art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, math, music, science, social science and speech.

The CDO team will represent Arizona at the nationals finals in Honolulu in late April. It is the fourth time that CDO has won the state championship.

Sonoran Science preps for math competition

Sonoran Science Academy students are gearing up for the state MathCounts competition after taking the top spots in a regional contest.

MathCounts seeks to engage middle school students of all ability and interest levels in fun, challenging, math programs to expand their academic and professional opportunities.

The team from Sonoran Science Academy-Broadway placed first. Team members are Christopher Tom, Joaquin Pesqueira, Jeremy Zimprich, Sarah McDuffie, Ismail Zaki, Shane Basham, Walker Kroubalkian, Samuel Merson, Eli Oshatz and Andrew Waugaman. Kroubalkian, a seventh-grader, also took first place individually, while eighth-grader Merson placed third.

The team from Sonoran Science Academy-Tucson placed second while the team from Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan took third. A student from the D-M site, Lahiru Gunasakera, took second place in the individual rankings.

The state competition will be held at the University of Arizona on March 29.

St. Michael’s holding program info session

St. Michael’s School is hosting an informational session for its middle school program Wednesday.

Parents of students currently in grades fifth through seventh are invited to attend the event at 602 N. Wilmot Road from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

This is an opportunity to meet teachers, visit classrooms and learn more about St. Michael’s programming. The event is free and no RSVP is necessary.

For further information, call 722-8478, visit or email

Carnival, open house set at Abbie School

The new Abbie School is hosting an open house and carnival on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The private school, which serves grades K-8, is located at 5870 E. 14th St.

Carnival admission is free with the donation of two canned goods per person to benefit the Food Bank.

The event is open to the public. For more information, call 300-6103.

Compiled by Alexis Huicochea. Contact Alexis at or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

Education writer for #ThisIsTucson. Mom of one.