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Yuma High School News

Regional Officers speaking on stage in front of SkillsUSA students

More than 360 Yuma Union High School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) students competed in the SkillsUSA Region One competition from Thursday, February 1 to Friday, February 2, 2024 at Arizona Western College (AWC).

More than 360 Yuma Union High School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) students competed in the SkillsUSA Region One competition from Thursday, February 1 to Friday, February 2, 2024 at Arizona Western College (AWC). 

Region One includes AWC, Antelope Union High School, and middle school students. 

Students competed in 40 events where they were able to show their skills in areas such as stagecraft, prepared speech, job interview, video production, welding, automotive technologies, and many more. 

“For me, SkillsUSA is about being able to meet different people, getting to experience new things, and learning so much,” SkillsUSA State Secretary and KHS senior Hunter Daniels said. “It’s been a good growth experience for me. I’m excited for the state competition this year and I’m going for gold.”

More than 80 percent of the students who participated in regionals, including Daniels, advanced to the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on February 28-29. 


More about SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure the United States has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations. More than 14,500 instructors and administrators are professional members of SkillsUSA. The state of Arizona has been part of SkillsUSA since 1966.

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Merchandise displayed in rows with Yuma Criminals across the top of a blue ribbon

Beginning Monday, Jan. 29, the Cell Block will transition from a brick-and-mortar location on the high school’s campus to an online-only store that is expected to service Criminal alumni across the world.

Yuma High School’s Cell Block store is entering the digital world.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 29, the Cell Block will transition from a brick-and-mortar location on the high school’s campus to an online-only store that is expected to service Criminal alumni across the world.

“While we love seeing faces on our campus, we believe the new online store will benefit the Yuma High School campus in a variety of ways,” YHS Principal Mike Fritz said. “We have more than 100 years of history, which means there are alumni everywhere. An online store will allow Criminals past and present to have regular access to merchandise. That expanded reach will help increase funding for school activities and other areas.”

In addition to providing expanded reach, the online store is expected to help increase student safety by no longer permitting customers during school hours, and allows the school to keep a broader and more well-rounded stock of inventory.

The current Cell Block is holding a liquidation sale on Friday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in hopes of selling as much merchandise as possible during its final day of activity. The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Club that operated the Cell Block will still have an opportunity to sell merchandise at school events in the future.

The new online store can be accessed here: https://shop.game-one.com/arizona/yuma/yuma-criminals

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Four students in black dance in a straight line in front of a mirror.

Yuma Union High School District’s Mastery of the Arts Program (MAP) will host an open house gala on Wednesday, November 29 from 5-7 p.m. at Snider Hall on the Yuma High School campus. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

Yuma Union High School District’s Mastery of the Arts Program (MAP) will host an open house gala on Wednesday, November 29 from 5-7 p.m. at Snider Hall on the Yuma High School campus. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

"The Mastery of the Arts Program offers seven different arts extension classes, from musical theater to film making and many things in between,” MAP certified teacher Lauren Spurlock said. “I'm thrilled we have a chance to share who we are and what we're up to at our open house. Each class has exciting work to showcase, and if you haven't visited Snider Hall recently, you'll be amazed by the remodel that has taken place - it's beautiful. This event is for friends, families, colleagues, and anyone in our community that is interested in what YUHSD is doing to broaden arts education in our town."

During the event, guests will be able to tour the facility, meet MAP students and staff, and even experience some of the courses, which include musical theater production, “garage band” music sessions, and choreographed dance.

"I never knew I had the potential to be a Master of the Arts until I joined this program,” said MAP student Isrrael Padilla, a junior. “It's all about discovering our own creativity and expression and going beyond the bounds of our imagination. I can't wait for the open house and hope you can join us & see our imagination come to life."

MAP, which is in its inaugural year and is the first of its kind in Yuma, is designed for all YUHSD students who have a purposeful interest within the arts. It is open to students in ninth through 12th grade. The intent is to work collaboratively with each of the YUHSD high schools’ fine arts programs and community artists to grow, enhance and refine a student’s skill sets within the art disciplines. All program courses are designed to be an extension of a student’s fine arts high school experience.

"After a year and a half in the making for this program, we are so excited and ready to show off its inaugural students and new look to the community,” MAP Executive Director Virginia Legros said.

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Two students see a person at a red table with colorful things on top.

All seven schools hosted 30-minute mini-events this week from Tuesday, November 14 through Thursday, November 16 on the Canvas Learning Management System. 

Yuma Union High School District’s mission is for students to graduate from one of the district’s seven schools college, career, and community prepared. For the third consecutive year, all students got a head start on their futures by taking part in a weeklong event geared towards learning about college, career, military and community opportunities. 

All seven schools hosted 30-minute mini-events this week from Tuesday, November 14 through Thursday, November 16 on the Canvas Learning Management System. 

"The College, Career, Community, and Military fair is a great opportunity for our students to have hands-on experience of different pathways and preparation while in high school,” Somerton High School counselor Maria Dillard said. “Some students were building their resumes and downloading it, ready to use it for a part time job. This gives me joy to know that they are already effectively planning to use it."

Each day’s content had a unique focus, with lessons planned during their third-period class to give students insight into available opportunities. Content was curated by a team of community partners and YUHSD counselors and the district’s teaching and learning team.  
“The CCCM fair gave students the opportunity to explore career options,” San Luis High School counselor Elva Lozano said. “We provided students in-person interactions during lunches to gain a different perspective of what is available in our community.  This tied both into the major clarity aspect and helped make it relevant for our students.”

For nearly a decade, YUHSD schools have hosted some form of the College, Career, Community and Military Fair. Beginning with in-person events during the 2010s, the event became digital-only in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as students returned to in-person learning the following year, the district transitioned the event to be a hybrid of in-person and online with some schools hosting in-person events with outside agencies as a supplement.

In the more traditional events, which were held on campuses on a rotational basis from year-to-year, approximately 500 individuals would on average be in attendance. By hosting the event during the school day on Canvas, more than 11,000 students have the opportunity to participate with the content remaining online throughout the school year, so students can return to it.

“I'm interested in the military so this was helpful because it was the first time I interacted with information about the military,” SLHS junior Gael Cota Flores said. “They also give us a little bit of information about what they do and what we can do to get into the military.”

Somerton freshman Alberto Gonzalez added: “When I was a kid, I wanted to join the Navy, because it was based on water, and I like swimming, and so when I was reviewing the Career Exploration my fit scores were a little low in that area. But I was able to explore the different branches on Military day. Seeing the first-hand experience from other people in the field, it helped me visualize, if I ever join the Navy, I will know what I will go into. I feel it will benefit me in two ways: 1. How it looks and 2. I have a different view of what a Navy career looks like."

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A baseball player jogs off the field from third base

The Yuma High School Hall of Fame Committee will enshrine five individual members and one team into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023

The Yuma High School Hall of Fame Committee will enshrine five individual members and one team into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.

The class includes athletes Kelly Cleaver, baseball (1981) and Malcolm Ellis, football, basketball (1948); coaches Ed Soergel, Sr., football and track (1960s-1975) and Curt Weber, football (1992-94, 2013-19) and basketball (2017-present); athletics supporter Bobby McMorris, participant of the cheer and football Club, volunteer football coach; and the 1923-24 football team.

The group will be formally enshrined on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. The enshrinement ceremony will be held in the Yuma High School Cafeteria at 11:30 a.m. followed by the presentation of their Hall of Fame inductee plaques at the Palace Gym at 1 p.m. The ceremony will be live streamed on the Yuma High School Facebook page.

The ceremony is the final portion of a three-day celebration for enshrinees, including a gathering at Lute’s Casino in downtown Yuma on Thursday, lunch on campus, a tailgate barbeque and reserved seating and recognition during the Oct. 20 Yuma High football game versus Paradise Honors High School.

“Yuma High School staff and students are honored to be a part of creating memorable experiences to all of the Hall of Fame members, inductees and families,” YHS Athletics Director Cecile Lopez said. “ We are looking forward to celebrating with past, present and future criminals!”

The 2023 class is the twelfth inducted into Yuma High’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Beginning with the inaugural class in 2010, each member has been honored with a plaque in the east wing of the Palace Gym.

The Hall of Fame was organized to maintain the rich heritage and tradition of successful athletic programs at Yuma High School. It recognizes, preserves, and honors the athletes, coaches, and individuals who have made significant contributions to Yuma High athletic programs. Many individuals have been influential in the “Criminal Tradition” of excellence and have had exemplary accomplishments in the school’s athletic programs. 

The Hall of Fame honors the contributions and accomplishments of those individuals who are worthy of recognition and have set examples for others to emulate. Nominees for the Hall of Fame must exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and moral character. All candidates are judged on their significant and/or long-term contributions to athletic endeavors.

There are 136 individuals and ten teams enshrined in Yuma High’s Hall of Fame, including members of this year’s class.

Here is a full list of the 1923-24 Football team: Coach: Power; Assistant Coach: Jenks;  Members: Blake, Bradford, Cannon, D. Cox, V. Cox, Dorris, Finch, Fisher, Garret, Hansberger, F. Hobart, G.Hobart, Lewis, Lloyd, Lorona, Lothridge, Magdaleno, Odle, Smith, Stahl, Steiert, and Townsend.

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Sixteen people standing on stairs outside of Kofa High School

Yuma Union High School District educators took part in a district-wide professional development day on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023 led by inspirational keynote speaker and educator, Rick Ramirez. 

“My hope is for teachers to reflect and operate as they are and understand the impact that they have on students can never be measured,” said Ramirez, who was an educator for nine years before helping motivate educators, beginning in 2017. “If I was able to just lift someone up and help inspire someone even just a little bit then my job is done.”

Ramirez’s presentation was centered around his background as a student who faced and overcame many struggles and then became an educator himself. He focused on how reaching students on a personal level helps students succeed. 

After the presentation, a teacher from each school was surprised by their principal with a school championship belt, signifying the champion that they are for their students. This belt will be passed to teachers and staff who make an impact in their students’ lives. 

The goal of the professional development day was to help teachers improve their teaching skills and better serve their students. Staff members participated in various group activities throughout the day, including a focus on personalized learning, lesson planning, IEP strategies, the Canvas learning management system, health and wellness, and more. 

“It was great to be able to see what the other campuses are doing and some of the amazing resources they have so we can come together and make the district even better,” said Vista High School teacher Katherine Lloyd, who was one of seven teachers who earned a championship belt. “I’m really excited to bring a lot of things back to my campus.”

YUHSD typically hosts professional development days for teachers and staff once a semester to give them an opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. Support staff members also took part in a variety of activities at various sites throughout the district. 

While the district was closed to the public, students were engaged through Canvas, while working from home. School resumed as regularly scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 26. 

Here are the school champions for fall 2023: 

Larsen Jones, Cibola High School; Erin Pierce, Gila Ridge High School; Jeff Frazine, Kofa High School; Lucio Sanchez, San Luis High School; Andrea Lomeli, Somerton High School; Katherine Lloyd, Vista High School; and Teresa Garcia Diaz, Yuma High School  

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Blue graphic with fish and white text reading Ocean of Possiblities

Yuma Union High School District libraries have launched their sixth annual reading challenge for students across the district.  

Yuma Union High School District libraries have launched their sixth annual reading challenge for students across the district.  

This year’s theme is ‘Ocean of Possibilities.’ Cibola High School, Kofa High School, Gila Ridge High School, San Luis High School, and Yuma High School are all participating in the challenge. 

Students may participate by “swimming” through different literary genres and reading the requisite books required to explore the ocean. Each time they read a book associated with an ocean animal, students are asked to submit a review or project of their choice on the library’s Canvas page.

“Students are encouraged to enhance their literacy skills and explore new interests and topics by swimming with different ocean animals associated with various literary categories” Cibola librarian Jessica Peralta said. “This is a fun and engaging way to promote literacy across all of our campuses.”

Winners will be determined by the most ocean animals visited and/or the total number of points earned for submitting reviews/projects. 

The top three students with the most books read will earn special prizes. All prizes are provided through donations or are personally donated by librarians.

Prizes are as follows: small prize - won after each submitted review/project read and evaluated; First place - $50 Barnes & Noble gift card; Second place - $40 Barnes & Noble gift card; and Third place - $30 Barnes & Noble gift card.

YUHSD Librarians include: Cait Zaksheske at Yuma High School, Jessica Peralta at Cibola High School, RJ Kirkevold at Kofa High School, Lourdes Aranda at San Luis High School, and Lisa Dinwiddie at Gila Ridge High School.

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Student standing against blue rails on YHS campus

Yuma High School senior Sofia Sauceda has earned the National Hispanic Recognition Award from the College Board National Recognition Program for excelling on College Board assessments and in the classroom.

Yuma High School senior Sofia Sauceda has earned the National Hispanic Recognition Award from the College Board National Recognition Program for excelling on College Board assessments and in the classroom. 

“For me, it's nice to have my hard work recognized,” Sauceda said. “This award can help me get scholarships for college to help me reach my goal of becoming an accountant.”

More than two dozen Yuma Union High School District received recognition in various categories this year. However, Sauceda is the first from Yuma High School since 2017. 

The National Recognition Programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and help them stand out during the admissions process. 

Students who have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams; and are African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, and/or attend school in a rural area or small town, can apply during their sophomore and junior year to be awarded.

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