Bookmans Video Contest
Down To Three
Arizona-Based Book Retailer Announces Cortez High School, Manzo Elementary and FALA Flagstaff As Finalists
An Apache Junction High School group in the The Apache Junction Unified School District has withdrawn from the Bookmans School Challenge.
By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine
Feb. 28, 2012 — The three finalists have been announced in the 2012 Bookmans Challenge, a new competition from the Arizona book retailer than recognizes Arizona schools for innovative and creative educational efforts.
A total of $21,000 in cash and prizes are being distributed, with $15,000 going to the winning school and $3,000 going to the other two finalists. Formerly the Bookmans Reading Challenge, the contest was retooled this year. For the 2012 event, applications explaining each school and the intended use of the available funds were open to every school in the state. Ten finalists were selected by the contest committee and they were given a video camera for a video presentation. One of the finalists, Cortez High School, received a free pass into the final round thanks to winning an online poll with more than 2,300 votes. The other two finalists, Manzo Elementary in Barrio Hollywood in Tucson and FALA in Flagstaff were selected by the contest committee.
The committee will be visiting the three schools over the next week and will announce the winner March 6.
Cortez High School, Phoenix
One of the mottos at Cortez High School is “Failure Is Not An Option.” If they win, Cortez High School intends to spend their winnings on expanding the video program (they are the only high school in the district without a video program) as well as buying some cameras and additional computers for editing. They also want to buy more books for the library since they have only 8 books per student — 25 books per student is considered adequate.
Manzo Elementary School, Barrio Hollywood, Tucson
In Barrio Hollywood, Manzo Elementary has developed a garden and a desert tortoise habitat to make the kids in the neighborhood have greater interest in school. The school believes ‘reconciliation ecology,’ the science of accommodating wild species within occupied landscapes, help their students to remain engaged. Manzo Elementary School is a Title I neighborhood school in the Tucson Unified School District.
Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, Flagstaff
FALA is a college preparatory, performing and visual arts school. The public charter middle and high school produces graduates that go on to pursue higher education at some of the country's most prestigious colleges and universities. They are seeking to expand their service learning program, get more funds for art supplies to make books for elementary students, and purchase materials for Spanish classes to produce Day of The Dead materials for local schools.
One school that made the cut to be part of the 10 schools to enter the video contest, the Gay Straight Alliance club at Apache Junction High School, withdrew its participation just before voting began. In conjunction with withdrawing their participation in the contest, the school district suspended all clubs on campus until permission slips could be approved by parents.
According to Brian Killgore, public relations director for AJUSD, the decision to not submit the completed video was made jointly by the club supervisor, the high school and the school district when they approached the deadline Feb. 10. All club activity was restored by Feb. 17.
Killgore said members of the Gay Straight Alliance Club at Apache Junction High School were victims of an inadequate school policy.
“This unfortunately was the test case that revealed gaps in our after-school club policy that we felt needed to be addressed immediately to avoid the situation from happening again with any existing club — hence our decision to suspend all clubs until the changes were made. We regret that GSA members were caught in the middle and appreciate their understanding,” Killgore said via e-mail. “This decision was not made out of any dissatisfaction with the video or the GSA Club as a whole; it was made to ensure proper guidelines were in place to make parents and guardians aware of their child's activities while on school grounds. AJUSD and AJHS fully support the GSA and look forward to its opportunity to submit its video now that our revised policy is in place.”
John Guzzon is editor of Modern Times Magazine. Follow him @johnnyguzz.