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Education notes

Three TUSD schools get free internet connections, STEM resources

Mariachi Aztlán de Pueblo High School, shown here in a previous year, is raising money to attend an event in Albuquerque.  

Three Tucson Unified schools will be participating in Verizon Innovative Learning, a program that equips every student and teacher with devices with a four-year data plan, as well as STEM-focused resources to teach to students.

Alice Vail, Secrist and Utterback middle schools were among 50 schools chosen throughout the United States to be a part of this year’s Verizon Innovative Learning program.

Another three TUSD schools — Mansfeld Middle Magnet, Pueblo Garden K-8 and Lawrence 3-8 schools — were already participating in the program.

“This is a stellar example of our district relentlessly working to narrow the digital divide and provide opportunities for our students to be future ready,” said James Butler, the district’s senior director of instructional technology.

Whitmore Elementary benefits

Whitmore Elementary School of Tucson Unified School District was one of the benefitting parties at this year’s Coaches for Charity Bowlathon, held at Lucky Strike Bowl earlier this month.

Gaby Kunk, a Whitmore teacher and summer school coordinator, received a check for $1,250 to invest towards equipment and/or uniforms for Whitmore sports teams.

Coaches for Charity is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for schools to encourage and support healthy, active lifestyles among young people.

Mariachi Aztlan raising money

Pueblo High School’s Mariachi Aztlan group is trying to raise funds to cover the costs to attend the three-day Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque event this July.

The students have managed to raise funds to pay for registration fees, as well as the charter bus that will take them to the event. However, they’re still hoping to raise more money to cover the costs of hotel and food during their stay.

The Mariachi Spectacular event offers students in-depth lessons of mariachi history, as well as music classes that help them connect with other musicians from around the country.

To learn more about the fundraising efforts for the experience, or to donate, visit

Have any questions or news tips about K-12 education in Southern Arizona? Contact reporter Genesis Lara at

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Lara joined the Star in 2021. She previously worked for the Nogales International, where she was named the 2019 Community Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Press Club & 2020 Journalist of the Year for non-dailies by the Arizona Newspaper Association.

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