2 students heading to leadership program

Two Ironwood Ridge High School seniors will be attending the Spirit of America Youth Leadership Program next month in Pennsylvania.

Glynnis Facciano and Molly Hansen will participate in the program, which stresses the need for youths to embrace the values and practices essential to responsible citizenship in a free and diverse society.

The trip is made possible in part by donations from the Jim Click Automotive Group, the Jim Crane Foundation and the Oro Valley Rotary Club, according to the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

The Spirit of America Youth Leadership Program is put on by the Freedoms Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization promoting civics education.

Estes elementary is 1 of 3 named 'Beat the Odds School'

Estes Elementary is one of three Arizona campuses to be designated a "Beat the Odds School."

Beat the Odds Schools have overcome obstacles and improved academic performance in six areas, including having "a clear bottom line, ongoing assessment, collaborative solutions, a program built on individual student needs and a commitment to stick with the program."

Estes - in the Marana Unified School District - was identified as a Gold Award winner, which requires consistent growth in math and reading over two or more consecutive years, among other criteria.

Fifteen schools received silver and bronze awards.

Catalina Mountain Elks team is 2nd at aquatic center event

The Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge No. 2815 entered a team dubbed Drowning Elks into the Tucson Special Olympics Polar Plunge event March 2, placing second and collecting $2,400 in donations.

Fifteen teams competed in the event, which took place at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center and featured costumed contestants taking a dip in the water.

Lee Cook, Arizona Elks Association Special Olym-pics Committee chairman, collected the most donations with $1,500. Gloria Cisneros won second place for best female costume, while lodge member Doug Harpold and his son, Isaiah, placed third for their costumes.

The event raised $13,980, with proceeds benefiting Special Olympic athletes in Arizona.

Alexis Huicochea contributed to this report. Send school notes to Phil Villarreal at pvillarreal@azstarnet.com