Student declining to remove bandana escorted by police from Apache Junction High School

Apache Junction Police Department officers escorted a teenager from Apache Junction High School Aug. 10 after he allegedly refused to remove a bandana from his head, according to a youtube video and a letter from the district. The video can be seen by searching for “Apache Junction High School” at with a filter of […]

Apache Junction public safety workers prepare for an active shooter

Apache Junction law enforcement and fire/medical personnel train constantly to prepare for an active shooter. There’s no such thing as being over-prepared, so the Apache Junction Police Department officers and Superstition Fire and Medical District paramedics trained in June doing active shooter exercise drills at Apache Junction High School, according to a press release. “This […]

Apache Junction High School history teacher McDaniel receives national educator award

Instead of merely teaching history, Alec McDaniel is making some history of his own. The Apache Junction High School teacher was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. Mr. McDaniel was nominated by a student for showing outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the […]

Elks Lodge No. 2349 presents scholarships to high school students

Apache Junction Elks President/Exalted Ruler Heather McClellan, left, presents $5,000 scholarships to Claire Hoffman and Jade Orrantia and $1,200 scholarships to Catlin Richards and Reid Machajewski at the annual Apache Junction High School Scholarship Night. Apache Junction Elks Lodge No. 2349 awarded more than $15,000 in scholarships for the 2017-18 school year. The Elks Lodge […]

Running, walking series benefits Apache Junction High athletics

Join Apache Junction Parks and Recreation and Apache Junction High School Athletics for the pilot program — I Run For Prospector Football. The Prospector Football program will host the last event in the spring downtown running series on Saturday, May 5 featuring the run/walk at Flatiron Park located 100 N. Apache Trail, according to a […]

Apache Junction High School volleyball starts season Aug. 29 at Buckeye

Apache Junction girls volleyball is gearing up to start their season on Aug. 29 against Buckeye High School. “We are hitting the basics, doing the fundamentals,” Coach Jake Heermans said.“Working hard so that we have the basics of passing and hitting down.” While the team is young, Heermans said he has high hopes for his […]

AJ softball shuts out Coolidge High at home

After the first two innings, a spectator would have guessed the Apache Junction softball team was going to run away with the game against Coolidge after scoring eight runs. But the last five  innings were scoreless for either team. Coolidge, had a quick top of the first due to Mikayla Gilgert’s pitching, three up, three […]

Athletes honored: Apache Junction High honors players at ceremony

The winter sports season came to a complete close on March 9, when Apache Junction High School hosted its award banquet. The students were honored in two waves, first cheer, boys and girls basketball then wrestling, and girls and boys soccer. The time was for the athletes to receive their varsity letter or pin and […]

Montesa residents raise $4,000 and counting for Apache Junction High School band

Mike Weaver calls JoAnn Ochs’ fundraising efforts “selfless service.”
Julie Shangle calls them “paying it forward.”
Mrs. Ochs says she is simply having fun and feeling fulfilled by helping to raise more than $4,000 for the Apache Junction High School band.
For the past two years she has overseen a 50/50 drawing during the Wednesday morning breakfasts at Montesa at Gold Canyon, 7373 U.S. Highway 60 in Gold Canyon. The social gatherings enable residents to chat and learn about the upcoming week’s activities at the retirement community.
One of those activities used to be a 50/50 drawing, during which a winner received half of the money paid into the prize pool. The other half can go to the organization conducting the drawing or one of its choice. The fundraiser was discontinued for a while, but Mrs. Ochs said during an interview she was inspired to bring it back while watching the Apache Junction High School marching band lead Montesa’s golf cart parade around Thanksgiving 2014. It was shortly after a general election in which voters turned down a 15-percent maintenance and operations override for the Apache Junction Unified School District, which includes the high school.
“It was my discontent with the election that started it off,” Mrs. Ochs said. “I thought, at our age we’ve already helped our own kids. Now what can we do to help these kids?”
She said Montesa residents enjoy the free concerts performed at the retirement community by the high school band twice a year.
“The way things are these days, our grandchildren are dispersed across the country. We love when the band plays for us,” she said.
Mrs. Ochs enlisted the help of Marian and Don Williams and other residents to count the 50/50 money while she sells tickets at the weekly breakfasts. She said it took a few weeks to get organized so that the money would be counted by the end of each gathering in time to be awarded but they now have the system down pat.
During the first year, the drawings had raised about $3,000. She estimated they have raised $1,500 since Thanksgiving 2015 and are on track to raise another $1,000 or so.
Mrs. Shangle is a new Montesa resident. She observed Mrs. Ochs’ fundraising efforts and offered to help. Mrs. Shangle is a designer for jBloom, a company that offers patrons the opportunity to personalize jewelry in a home setting. She said she likes to hold two fundraising parties a month during which she donates 25 percent of the sales to a designated organization.

AJHS gives out academic letters for second year

Apache Junction High School awarded 90 academic letters and pins to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students on Thursday, Nov. 5. The classic chenille letter “A” recognizes students who have earned a 4.01 grade point average or better. “It isn’t enough to earn straight A’s,” Principal Larry LaPrise said. “In order to achieve a GPA that is higher than 4.0, these students have all excelled in honors or advanced placement classes with weighted scores.”

With 884 students enrolled in the three qualifying grade levels, AJHS can boast more than 10 percent of the non-freshman student population meeting the stringent qualifications for this prestigious honor.

This is the second year that AJHS has offered the academic letters. In 2014, the kickoff year for the program, 88 students earned letters. Once an academic letter has been initially earned, students who continue to qualify can add an academic bar for each additional year they attend Apache Junction High School. Qualifying students are identified at the end of the academic year and awarded in the fall of the following school year.

Editor’s Note: Dana Hawman is the public information officer for Apache Junction Unified School District