Payson High School students and teachers have been shining around the state and the nation recently. They have caught the attention of judges, critics, chefs and coaches everywhere they have gone.
Take, for example, the Payson High School Longhorn Cheer Squad, under Coach Elicia Morigeau.
The team competed against 20 other cheer squads at the regional qualifiers competition in Paradise Valley and placed fifth. They will represent Payson at the state cheer competition in Prescott Valley in February.
Culinary arts students earned their just desserts in a competition called Getting Our Just Desserts with C-CAP (Careers Through Culinary Arts Programs). Teacher Devon Wells supervised students as they designed and decorated, baked and built original gingerbread houses for the event held at the Art Institute of Phoenix.
Both professional chefs and everyday people judged the creations. Senior Elle Eavenson won second place and $100 in both the Chef’s Choice and People’s Choice voting. Junior Shoshanah Wright won third place and $50 in both categories.
The PHS thespians are not about to be upstaged. They won, for the 14th year in a row, the Gold Honor Troupe Award from the Arizona State Thespians.
Because Payson High School students have won this award so many times, the thespian board raised the bar. PHS Drama meets the higher standards and continues winning. Students change but the high expectations set by PHS and Arizona Drama Teacher of the Year runner-up Kathy Siler remain the same and enable these young actors and theater technicians to set their own standards for outstanding student drama.
Those high standards led to the thespians’ one-act play, “Paper or Plastic,” directed by auditorium manager Thomas Walling, taking state runner-up honors.
Payson High’s score was a scant three-tenths of a point below the winning school’s score. Should the winning school not be able to attend the national competition, PHS drama students will compete nationally with their play.
Traveling nationally, Payson High School’s DECA group, a co-curricular club of the Business Marketing Career and Technical Education Program, recently attended the DECA Western Regional Conference in Washington, D.C. in November.
Students participated in leadership workshops, competitive events and motivational addresses. They used their own leadership and teamwork skills to complete an educational search on the National Mall. Sightseeing was part of the trip, with visits to Arlington National Cemetery, Smithsonian Museums, National Archives, the Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln, Jefferson and Vietnam Memorials and the White House. Teacher Joe Parone reports that the students’ favorite activity was a four-hour “D.C. at Night” tour.