Highland High School

Hawk Talk May 2017

Melinda Murphy

Highland High School


Melinda Murphy

Hello Hawk families,

We are at the end of another great year for the Hawks. As we wrap up the year I just want you to know how much we appreciate all you do to support your students and the staff at Highland. I am always amazed by how much work goes into ensuring that kids are on the road to success and you are at the center of that work. Thank you for partnering with us.

Baccalaureate and graduation are right around the corner. Due to how large baccalaureate has become we are going to have two sessions. Session one will be at 1 pm and session 2 will be at 3 pm on Sunday, May 21. All seniors were emailed instructions to their school email accounts on how to go about signing up for a session. Please remind your student to do sign up and join us. Baccalaureate lasts about an hour and is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on the last four years. Graduates attending should wear their cap and gown to the ceremony.

Graduation will take place at 7pm in Hawk Stadium on Tuesday, May 23. We hope you will come join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2017.

Thank you again for all of you help and support through the year. I am incredibly fortunate to work with all of you and your students.

Melinda Murphy


Highland High School

Highland High School

CLASS OF 2017 Commencement Information

In addition to the below information, it is important Seniors do the following: Keep grades up, attend all classes, have transcripts from online classes turned in (classes outside of GPS should have been completed by April 28th), clear themselves by May 17th through the Bookstore and Library (books & fees) and possibly Athletics, and Music (uniforms/equipment), and complete all discipline assignments.


Baccalaureate Ceremony, sponsored by the Class of 2017, will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 1:00pm and 3:00pm in the Highland High School Auditorium.

Baccalaureate is a more solemn and uplifting ceremony, in comparison to the celebratory atmosphere of the Graduation ceremony. It is intended to be a family ceremony that celebrates this achievement in your children’s lives.

Due to overflowing turnout and capacity constraints in recent years, we will be hosting two Baccalaureate sessions this year to accommodate the Class of 2017. The schedule for Baccalaureate will be as follows:

Sunday, May 21st 2017

Session 1 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm (graduates report to Hawk Hall at 12:30pm in cap & gown attire)

Session 2 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm (graduates report to Hawk Hall at 2:30pm in cap & gown attire)

Students who plan to participate should be dressed in their graduation cap, gown and tassel and meet in Hawk Hall by 12:30 pm for the 1:00pm ceremony and at 2:30pm for the 3:00pm ceremony. Students may sit with their friends.


Commencement Rehearsal will be on Tuesday, May 23, at 7:00 am, in Hawk stadium. The seating assignments for Commencement will be posted on May 19th in the Office, Hawk Hall and the Bookstore. Please check your seating assignment for row number and stadium side (East or West); faculty member assigned as your line leader; and evening room assignment. Rehearsal is MANDATORY; Seniors must be in attendance and on time in order to participate in commencement. Seniors, please see Mr. Bassett, Assistant Principal with any questions.

Commencement Ceremony will be Tuesday, May 23, at 7:00 pm. Students must report to assigned rooms at 6:00 pm. Students not in rooms at this time will not be allowed to walk. Keep in mind, graduation night traffic will be heavy, please give yourself extra time.

ATTIRE for Graduation Activities

· Gown, Hood, Cap, & Tassel–Your tassel should be placed on the right side of your cap. Caps are not to be altered in any manner. Bring bobby pins for your cap if necessary.

· Gentlemen – Shirt, dress pants, socks and dress shoes required. No jeans or shorts are permitted.

· Ladies – Dresses or blouse and dress pants and dress shoes required. No jeans or shorts are permitted.

· Students dressed inappropriately will not be permitted to participate in the ceremony.

· IMPORTANT NOTE: All Graduation caps and gowns must be purchased through Jostens to ensure continuity of Graduation attire. Contact Jostens at www.jostens.com or 602-765-7227 or visit the Bookstore if you have not placed your order. Please note: All Graduates will wear black caps and gowns.

The Senior Class has requested that no noisemakers be used at their graduation ceremony.

Many times, names of fellow students cannot be heard because of noisemakers.

Thank you for supporting their request.


May 17 - Senior Finals - 7th hour - Assigned Rooms

May 18 - Senior Finals - A, 4th, 5th and 6th hours - Assigned Rooms

May 19 - Senior Finals - A, 1st, 2nd and 3rd hours - Assigned Rooms

May 19 - Senior Picnic - 1:30pm-3:30pm - HHS Practice Fields

May 21 - Baccalaureate - 1:00pm & 3:00 pm - Auditorium (Seniors arrive @12:30pm or 2:30pm --Hawk Hall in cap & gown attire)

May 23 - MANDATORY Graduation Rehearsal - 7:00 am - Hawk Stadium (regular school attire)

May 23 - Graduation Ceremony - 7:00 pm - Hawk Stadium (Seniors arrive @ 6:00pm in cap & gown attire.)

GRADUATION NIGHT Procedures & Expectations

1. Graduates must report by 6:00 pm, to assigned classroom and check in with line leader.

2. Graduates will then assemble in Hawk Hall.

3. The graduation procession will walk south from Hawk Hall towards the stadium where they will split in 2 to walk through the “Walk of Honor” from each side of the field while the traditional bagpipe band leads them onto the field.

4. The ceremony begins with presentations from Eagle Scouts Honor Guard, HHS choir and HHS band.

5. Diplomas will be distributed, as follows:

· One full West and East row will stand and move out to line up along the field approaching the appropriate side of the speaker’s platform. At the direction of the line leader and usher, rows will stand and proceed to these lines.

· Student Council names will be called and then the Senior names will be called in alphabetical order, alternating with one senior from the West and a senior from the East, until all diplomas have been awarded.

· When a graduate’s name is called, they will step onto the platform and receive their diploma. Once all graduates have received their diplomas and have returned to their chairs, Spencer Gurr (Senior Class President) will direct graduates to move their tassels from RIGHT to LEFT.

· When the ceremony is over, line leaders will distribute diploma inserts. Immunization records will be included with the diploma insert. KEEP this record, DO NOT throw it away.

· Professional photographs will be taken as you receive your diploma cover.

· Both sides of the stadium will be open for seating of parents, relatives and friends. The main gym will be open and air-conditioned as another seating option. Limited handicapped seating will be available on the track, but is restricted to 4 seats per family. Call 480-813-0051 x4057 to request special seating.

6. Behavior:

· Students with inappropriate objects (balloons, beach balls, signs, noisemakers, etc…) in their possession will have the object confiscated and/or the student will be removed from the ceremony.

· Students seeking to disrupt the ceremony in any way will be removed by Gilbert Police and security.

· Students smelling of/or under the influence of alcohol, drugs, etc. may not participate in the ceremony and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with District policy.

If you should have any questions, please call Rene’ Warren at 480-813-0051 x4057.

Lauren Harmon

Student Schedule Summer Information

The former mail-in bookstore packet will be accessible on-line through Highland High’s website, in late June. The following information/forms will be accessible online: Your student’s schedule, fee schedule, parking application for Juniors and Seniors, and a schedule change form. All of the fees associated with this mailer will be able to be paid through Infinite Campus, in late June. The name for this information is “Student Schedule Summer Information”. Additional information will also be sent out via Infinite Campus over the summer. Therefore, it is important to update your email addresses, as well. Please contact our Records Clerk, at 480.813.0051 x 4058, if you need to update personal information.

Student Parking Updates

For Juniors and Seniors that would like to purchase parking passes for the 2017-2018 school year, you must do so before the school year begins. Fees can be paid through Infinite Campus in late June. After the permit is purchased the parking pass must be picked up in the bookstore, no later than, August 11th, 2017. If the parking pass is not collected by the student by this date, the pass will no longer be valid. The pass will be awarded to students on the waiting list. A refund for the parking pass will be given upon student/parent request. If a student who applies and purchases a parking pass and no longer wishes to use the pass may receive a refund. Refunds will be granted no later than October 6th, 2017. As usual, students will have to provide their driver’s license when they pick up their parking pass, in the bookstore. Last, Seniors receive parking pass priority.

Lauren Harmon

Junior Administrator

Link Crew: Getting Geared up to Welcome the Class of 2021

Next year, HHS is excited to introduce Link Crew, a freshman transition program designed to both welcome and support freshmen by assigning each freshman to a junior or senior Link Leader as a mentor during this first year. This Link Leader is a responsible older student who was hand-selected from a large pool of applicants and has met the qualifications for being a good role model and a positive leader on our campus. Hawk Link Crew leaders have already been hard at work, training to welcome and lead their 750+ freshmen next year. Most recently, they participated in the Arizona Governor’s Youth Commission Youth Leadership Day at GCU, as well as the HHS May Leadership Development Day. They will also undergo another intensive multi-day training during the summer as the new school year nears in order to help ensure that the Class of 2021 soars through their first year as Hawks!

Reese Neal

Dean of Students

Link Crew Leadership Training

Finals and Exams Schedule

Senior testing begins on Wednesday, May 17th click the link below to see the entire finals schedule.

Jessica Holbrook

Freshman Administrator

Final Exam Schedule Spring 2017


S - Service, helping others

O - Opportunity, embraces challenges and new experiences

A - Accountability, uses time and resources wisely

R - Respect, accepting of others

Ashley Dodd - Accountability

Ashley is a great student athlete, as a 4 year cheerleader, 3 of them on Varsity, she has become a very responsible young lady. I think that accountability is only one of her many qualities. I can always count on Ashley to do the right thing, this year as a Senior she took a very important role within the team, helping me with different activities. Ashley had a very busy Senior year, balancing school, cheer, one image, work and community service and doing it all with great success. Ashley is exactly the type of student that any teacher or coach would love to have.

Bradley Thompson - Service

Brad is always looking out for others. He willingly jumps in to help with group work and labs. He offers to loan pencils or other supplies, turns in items that have been left behind, and steps up to clean up the classroom. He is always kind, responsible, and helpful to teachers and classmates alike. He's the kind of young man that everyone knows they can count on!

Colby Quackenbush - Opportunity

Colby demonstrates excellence inside and outside of the classroom on a daily basis. As an educator and former coach, I believe Colby epitomizes what a student/athlete should be. He is a young man of character, intelligence, and talent. In light of his demanding athletic schedule and workload in my class, he continues to rise to the challenge and take hold of opportunities that come his way. Colby embraces challenges with optimism and dedication. He enjoys learning and is true scholar. Colby demonstrates great initiative, interest and motivation to learn in all aspects of life. He seeks out help and his natural ability to self-advocate for himself is illustrated on a daily basis. I cannot think of student more deserving of this award than Colby as he exhibits all aspects of what is means to S.O.A.R.

Marvin Read - Opportunity

Marvin has made the most of his opportunities here at HHS in his four years. He is a member of the track team, was on the football team and is also a member of our concert orchestra. I have watched him show up early and leave late every day for the last four years. Give great effort in everything he does, and on top of all that he is always gracious and good to others. It has been one of my great pleasures to watch him become such an outstanding young man.

Reese Neal - Service, Opportunity

Service - Anytime he's needed, Reese is there. Constantly on the move and a true workhorse, he does a great job of taking care of students, parents and staff, in a thorough and timely manner, always remaining calm and collected and professional.

Opportunity - Mr. Neal looks for ways to impact students. First, he actively reaches out to students. He comes into my classes frequently and plays guitar, asks questions, plays Quizlet and in general listens. He takes the time to get to know students.

Second, he is committed to programs that improve HHS. He is 100% committed to Link Crew through twitter, making sure the program is being implemented with fidelity and is willing to do the hard work to ensure Link Crew's success. He also spends lots of time and energy on making sure HHS is on the cutting edge of technology though going to GAFE, tweeting links and sharing his expertise.
Mr. Neal works hard to ensure that he is connected to HHS students.

Katie Rizzo - Service

Katie Rizzo is not only a hero for kids but a superhero for the science department and our biggest cheerleader! Her ability to lead and model in a way that inspires is unique and thoughtful. While she encourages the team approach, she's also masterful in the handling of individual needs and knows how to make each member feel special and valued. Even though her role demands much of her time and attention to detail, she welcomes the daily challenges of teaching with open arms and always helps us maintain a positive outlook. She's taught us all how to SOAR with wings of pride and determination.

Jamie LaBoissiere - Service

Oftentimes, this category seems to pertain to those teachers who organize blood drives and community services. However, there is something to be said for the person who provides daily support and inspiration for those of us "in the trenches" --both students and teachers. Jamie is that person. First, she has been vitally instrumental in mentoring our two new tenth grade teachers and making their transition to Highland a successful one. We lost our tenth grade lead teacher last year, but our regular tenth grade department continues to output a high caliber of work due, in large part, to her strong leadership skills, her high level of professionalism, and her ability to motivate her colleagues. In addition, she offers herself sacrificially to her students--before school, during lunch, after school--even when her extended hours at school mean that she goes home exhausted to meet the demands of her own household and children. Sometimes, we forget to honor those who give up their lunches, their personal time, and their home time to be here and offer additional help to that one student who is struggling to make it all happen. It is not only the big efforts, but the small, often unnoticed, sustained efforts that really keep this school going and that make a difference in the individual life of a student. Jamie is that individual who "cares." Every day. Every hour. Every minute-- She has her head bent over some student and is trying to make sure that he/she leaves this place with a skill set to make it in the world. The results are demonstrated in her students' test scores which are always among the highest in the department. I know that many teachers live out this paradigm, but Jamie does all of this in a way that inspires everyone around her. Even though her dedication and endless work may not be "high profile," she deserves to be recognized for the amazing professional that she is.

Diane Green - Service

Diane is the clerk/secretary for the special education department and one of HHS's unsung heroes. Diane provides Service to the HHS through her primary role as the scheduler of all IEP and special education related meetings throughout the year. She is also a go to person in the department and will step in to provide support in self-contained classrooms when we've been short of parapro's at times. Diane always looks for Opportunities to benefit or help the department to efficiently process our mountains of paperwork. In regards to Accountability, Diane's efforts are unsurpassed. She schedules 350-400 meetings annually each of which involve juggling the schedules of 7-10 required participants. Each meeting involves verbal, written, and email notifications to various participants and Diane handles this task flawlessly. In regards to Respect, Diane is a champion for our special needs students. She has many student visitors who stop by to say Hello and Diane is always gracious, gives them her undivided attention, and often converses with them on their unique areas of interest. Diane is truly a HAWK that S.O.A.R's!

Chandler Gilbert Community College Teal and Silver Award

In addition to performing her full-time high school administrative duties at Highland High School, Dinah Guhy has taken on the role of serving as the school's dual-enrollment liaison for the past 10 years. During her tenure, Dinah has worked diligently to improve communication between high school instructors and dual enrollment staff in order to aid students in completing the college admission and registration processes. Her organizational skills have made dual enrollment on-site registration visits effective and efficient.

Dinah maintains regular contact with parents and students informing them of deadlines, gathering missing documents needed to complete the enrollment process, and helping them to resolve concerns or issues. She schedules and proctors the Accuplacer placement test for hundreds of Highland High School students each year so that students can take advantage of dual enrollment classes through CGCC. Because of Dinah's hard work and commitment, Highland High School consistently has one of the highest number of students participating in the dual enrollment program in the District.

Since Dinah took on her role as a dual enrollment high school liaison, the number of student taking dual credit classes increased by 75%. Highland High School presently serves over 500 dual enrollment students annually. CGCC is honored to present Dinah Guhy with a 2017 Teal and Silver Award for her continued support of and dedication to the dual enrollment program.

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Valedictorian - Logan Seaburg

Logan will be attending ASU Barrett next year studying computer science.
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Salutatorian - Allan Jiji

Allen will be attending ASU Barrett next year studying mechanical engineering.
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ASU Senior Signing Day

Freshman Orientation

Required Freshman Orientation in the auditorium (west side of HHS - follow the signs):

Last name begins with A- L: Thursday, July 27, 2017, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Last name begins with M- Z: Friday, July 28, 2017, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

** ALL Marching Band Kids will attend on Friday regardless of last name

Please click the link below for the entire letter.

Freshman Orientation Letter

GES Scholarship Recipient

Alison Cully, pictured with Career Center Director, Francia Ward and HHS Mascots, received a scholarship from the Gilbert Education Foundation
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Highland Hawks YouTube Channel

Coming Soon! The entire school participated in a Lip Dub on May 15th. Check out the Highland Hawks YouTube Channel for the Grand Reveal!

Highland Hawks YouTube Channel
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Off to Space

Last month we found out the Rian Espinosa and his team had won the state level of "Go for Launch" we are now excited to announce that Rian and his team won the national competition. His team attended a 3 day workshop titled Go For Launch! which was hosted by Higher Orbits and one of the things they did was design an experiment that could be tested in space. His project involved peanut plants and their ability to convert ("fix") nitrogen in space. Their experiment will actually be tested by astronauts in space!

Here is the link to the grand announcement:

Announcement of Winner on Facebook
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Way to Go!

Lidia Cifuentes Santander, finished 6th out of over 300 Arizona teams in the Arizona Council on Economic Education's Stock Market Game. We traded online for most of the semester and she turned her $100,000.00 dollars into $109,234.58 in three months.
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Highland Honors Chemistry

This was a dilution lab we did in Honors Chemistry. From left to right is Taggert Greene, Colby Quackenbush, and Romir Parmar.
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Fun with Science

Mr. Tallent dressed up in his Turkish Wizard costume to motivate students.
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The biology team had a viral outbreak!

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Highland Choir

The Combined choirs from Highland Junior High School and Highland High School performed the National Anthem at the Diamond Backs game Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
Under the direction of Steve Hickman.

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Teacher Prep Program

How Time Fly's!

Highland High School Teacher Prep Program

In this program students who would like to be teachers, perform field experiences in elementary school classrooms. This year at Carol Rae Ranch we had six students who were mentored by their elementary school teachers from their Carol Rae days. We love our teachers!

HERO at JA You’re Hired Competition

JA You’re Hired! Is designed to help students explore concepts and skills that are important in the global job market. Proud of our Hawks for all their hard work!

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Highland Globetrotters

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Travel to Peru

This summer there are 20 students and 5 chaperones that are going to Lima Peru to participate in a Medical Clinic. The program that we are working through is called MedLife. This is how they describe their program: "A MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic is a basic medical clinic that we bring directly to the poor. Staffed not only by general practitioners, each Clinic provides patients with dental, OB/GYN, and pediatric care, as well as access to preventative tests. Mobile Clinic participants have the opportunity to work closely with and learn from our medical professionals as they identify individuals in need of follow-up care. Participants will work alongside our staff at patient intake, triage and pharmacy, and also help run our educational programs. The typical Mobile Clinic week includes three days volunteering on-site at the Clinic, one day working with local community members on a development project, one day completing a tour of the project site, and two days of cultural tourism."
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Blood Drive and Food Drive Winners

Wow, Hawks!! Talk about a double dose of awesomeness....

Highland won the award for the highest number of of blood donations in the state (year #10), we also just received word that we won the high school challenge for the food drive competition in our region!!!

Many Thanks to Mr. Allen and Ms. Schlessinger for all their hard work.

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Unified PE

This is the Unified P.E. end of year slide show put together by students in the class. We wanted to share our wonderful year with you all.​

Unified PE Slide Show

Female Athlete of the Week Honors Alena Ellsworth

School: Gilbert Highland

Class: Senior

Sport: Track and Field

Two-year captain ... Varsity runner and state contender in the 400-meter and 800-meter since she was a freshman ... Also ran cross country ... Shattered her personal record of 55.36 (from her freshman year) in the 400 dash with a blistering 54.68 seconds at the Sun Angel Classic ... "I get to push myself to the max in track, and I love how healthy my body feels," she said ... Third in state for the 800 with her 2:11 minute performance at the 14th Annual Hohokam Invitational ... Signed with BYU to run track ... "She is probably one of those athletes who could do anything and do it well," coach Robin Hagen said.

Alena has also received an athletic scholarship at BYU next year.

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Arizona State Track Meet Champion

Congrats to Sophomore Cierra Tidwell, who high jumped 5 feet 6 inches at the Arizona State Track Meet for the win. She did this in 30 mph winds. She can now say she's a State Champion.

Congrats to Coach Erica Rogers, her coach.

Great job!!

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Senior Bryce Clemons 300 Hurdle Winner

Please click the link below to watch Bryce's interview after winning the 300 Hurdles at the Desert Vista Invitational.

Bryce Interview Video

Athletic Scholorship

Congrats to Sydney Rhodes for signing an athletic scholarship to run Cross Country and Track at University of Tampa.
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One Image

Congratulations to the following One Image dancers for their induction into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts; Alexis Watson, Olivia Richardson, Morgan Karns, Leslie Martin, Sophia Thurow, Ashley Dodd, Savanna Peterson, Celin Ramirez, Madigan Clancy (not pictured: Jessica Mills). These dancers were inducted for their hours of dedication to the art of dance and the community.
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Boys Volleyball

The HHS BOYS VB Team had a great 2017 season. They ended up with a 31-13 record overall, remained undefeated at home, won the Central Region Championship and made the State tournament, eventually losing to Boulder Creek in the quarter finals in the State playoffs. These boys worked extremely hard in the off season and throughout the entire season and were a blast to watch play. Our 2017 team was led by (9) seniors, and included (5) Juniors and (2) Sophomores. GO HAWKS!!!
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Spirit Store

Highland Spirit Store!! For all your school needs! We sell PE Uniforms, Hawk clothing, balloon bouquets, Chromebook cases, snacks and cookies, and school supplies! Open from 7am- 5th hour on school days. We will be closed after May 18th this year, opening again on July 31st.
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Healthy Hawks!

Healthy Hawk News From the Nurse

If your student has medication in the Health Office, it must be picked up by an adult by 12:00 pm on May 23rd. Per district policy, medication will not be sent home with students. Any medication that is not picked up by this time will be discarded.

Hearing and vision referral letters have been mailed out throughout the school year and summer reminder letters will be going out soon. If you have not been able to address these concerns, summer is a great time to schedule any needed appointments. These factors have an impact on your child's learning and success in school. If you need assistance in regards to obtaining these services, please call the Health Office 480-813-0051 ext. 2203.

If your student has outstanding immunization requirements for the upcoming school year, letters will be mailed out the last week of school. Please plan to get your child any needed vaccines over the summer and turn in a copy to the Health Office at the beginning of the school year. Notification is sent in regards to immunizations required by Arizona state law for school attendance. A reference sheet for local vaccine clinics will be included with the letters and are also available in the Health Office.

Continuing Education

Social Studies Teacher Laura Brendle, graduated from ASU on Friday, May 12 with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Multiple Literacies, this is her 2nd Masters degree.

Congratulations to Laura!

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