Payson High School's Progress Complicates Routine

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The Payson High School is getting a $1.65 million facelift and that's great. The school will be made more comfortable, more contemporary and have several improved classrooms for science. But in the meantime, maintaining a routine for students and staff is a real challenge for Roy Sandoval, principal.

Because of the construction, many classes have to be relocated.

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The drama department at Payson High School continued to grow and excel in 2005. It brought home superior and excellent ratings from the statewide drama competition in early 2005.

"Finding places for everyone when none are really there has been tough," he said, and consequently, it has been hard to maintain a sense of routine.

Adding to the mix, Sandoval is the third principal the school has had in four years and 11 new teachers joined the staff for the 2005-2006 school year.

"It (the construction) is a minor setback," Sandoval said. "We're going to have a topnotch facility and people will really notice the difference."

The new teachers have varying levels of experience and are really good at what they do, he said. The school also has terrific support from the school board.

Reviewing the school's accomplishments during 2005, Sandoval pointed out the success the students enjoyed in football, volleyball, basketball and wrestling. "The drama department continues to excel," he said, adding the department will present the musical "Grease" in April. Sandoval said he thinks it will be the department's best production yet.

In 2005, the PHS Drama Department showed off its collective performing skills at the Central Arizona Acting Festival in Apache Junction, outperforming some 20 other high schools from around the state.

"Sisters," took top honors at the festival with a superior ranking.

The festival also had a number of individual events, including monologues, pantomimes, acting scenes, musical theater and a catch-all category for everything else, called potpourri.

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Beryl Jones spent her summer vacation as an intern at Translational Genomics Research Institute. She was one of only four aspiring scientists selected from among 56 college and high school applicants to the internship program.

A number of PHS drama students competed in these events and brought home superior ratings for dual acting, the potpourri category.

The PHS contingent also took a number of excellent ratings.

Another point of success at PHS, according to Sandoval, is the significant downturn the school has had in just about all areas of discipline.

Sandoval added the school has also enjoyed the benefit of the work done by the School Beautification Committee. The volunteers, spearheaded by Cari Day and Tawnya Allaire, have made a world of difference to aesthetics of the school, Sandoval said.

PHS had the honor of having one of its students, Beryl Jones, 16 at the time, selected for a prestigious internship with Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen for short.

TGen's internship program culls the top math and science students in Arizona.

Jones beat out 56 college and high school students; only 13 finalists were accepted. Jones is one of four who made the cut.

Jones' job at the laboratory has been to calibrate and program a machine that will be used to quickly set up large numbers of DNA samples for analysis.

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