Highland High School

2nd Quarter

Melinda Murphy


Dear Hawk Fam,

We had the opportunity a few weeks ago to welcome Joe Beckman onto campus to speak to the student body. Part of his message was crafted around taking the opportunity to "look up." As he spoke to our students I realized that challenge is one that many of us need to take on- myself included. So, as I've walked the campus, visited classrooms, and attended a variety of student events, I've taken the opportunity to "look up." It has made a tremendous difference. I'd invite you to pause throughout your day and take a look around. In the middle of so much turmoil, there are also tremendous acts of kindness happening, kids engaging in the things they love, and teachers giving students the best experience they can during a time like no other. If one of those teachers has gone the extra mile for your child, I hope that as Thanksgiving approaches you will take the time to send a note and thank them.

Our November site council will be held on Monday, November 30 at 6:00 pm in the Commons. Anyone is welcome to attend. The meetings last an hour and focus on upcoming events, school data points, and seeking parent feedback. I hope to have some of you join us.

One of the challenges that we continue to face is around students wearing masks. Please remind your students that we are under a Maricopa County ordinance that requires us to wear face coverings. We spend an enormous amount of time and energy reminding students to put on or pull up their masks. While I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys wearing a face covering, we are in this together and we need everyone's cooperation. As the pandemic continues I recognize that it is wearing on us, on you, and on our kids. Our goal is to keep the school open and school events moving forward. We cannot do this without your help.

Thank you for a great first semester and enjoy the upcoming holiday season. We are grateful for you and your support of Highland!

Melinda Murphy


Highland High

Reese Neal

Assistant Principal, Seniors

Dear Senior Hawks and Senior Hawk Families,

They say hindsight is 2020, and I think I speak for more than just myself when I say I can't wait to see 2020 in the rearview. Class of 2021, here's to a better year--your year--and a brighter future ahead!

Speaking of the future, your graduation date is just six short months away--Thursday, May 27, 2021--and you are going to need a cap and gown from Jostens.

In addition to ordering your cap and gown (the deadline is DECEMBER 1), there are a number of other important action items you may need to plan to tackle as well, so be sure to check out the Seniors-Only Newsletter - Edition #1 for more details on all things "Class of 2021."

Happy Thanksgiving...and Go Hawks!

-Reese Neal

Dr. Lauren Harmon

Assistant Principal, Juniors

Please keep your eye out for Registration information and dates for the 2021-22 school year in December's newsletter! Lots of important details to come! In the meantime, I wish all of our families a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Brandon Larson

Assistant Principal/Athletic Director

Fall sports are in full swing! As we begin the fall sports season, there are restrictions on the amount of people we can have at events. Details on this can be found on the home page at www.athleticshawks.com. If you attend an event, we ask that you please wear your mask as this is allowing us to participate in sports and have fans in the stands at this time. Can't make it to a game? We have several viewing options for you! Volleyball and Football can both be viewed online through the NFHS network, or if you go to the team's page on our website, there are some free viewing options for the varsity games. We're excited to see what we can do this year as we have several teams that are working hard and have a chance to make post season runs. Good luck to all you Hawks out there!

On a side note I would like to thank all the parents through this process. I know COVID has thrown all of us for a loop, but your grace and patience while we navigate this with your children is recognized and appreciated.

Stacia Cantrell

Dean of Students, Freshmen

Freshmen families,

As we approach the end of the semester, please check your student's grades and have conversations with them about the importance of passing their classes. If a student does not pass a course that is required for graduation, they will be required to make up that credit in summer school, online, or in their schedule in a future year. If they are struggling, feel free to reach out to their teacher to discuss their grade and opportunities for extra help.

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Hispanic Heritage Month

Last month we celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month. What exactly is this month and why do we celebrate it? According to hispanicheritagemonth.gov:

Each year, here in the United States we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of U.S. citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Rasa, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

What might you do to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

Club Spotlights

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we would like to spotlight two of our clubs on campus: Spanglish Hawks and Latino Advocacy Club. Check out their info and photos below! Reach out to the faculty sponsor if you are interested in joining.

Spanglish Hawks

Spanglish Hawks is the Spanish Club here at Highland High School. Students don't need to be enrolled in a Spanish class or be fluent in Spanish to be involved, but they should have an interest in the Spanish language and all of the cultures associated with the language, including those in the United States. Surprisingly, the United States has the second largest number of Spanish speakers in the world only behind Mexico! In Spanglish Hawks we learn about Spanish-speaking countries, celebrate a number of holidays and expand our culinary talents by preparing (and then eating) various dishes from the Spanish-speaking world. We also take local and international field trips, COVID permitting.

Faculty Sponsor: Jessica Mejer

Latino Advocacy Club

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The purpose of the Latino Advocacy Club is to insure the success of its members. We do this setting up study sessions and requiring members to come up with a solid plan for after high school. The members will be required to speak with counselors two times a year to help with their post-high school plan.

In addition the club does plan to have fundraisers and community service projects. The money that is raised would go to funding a college field trip to an instate university for the club, or to a cause specifically helping Latinos in need. In turn, this gets students more involved with the school, makes them a more well-rounded college applicant, and a successful student. This club is not just for Latinos, we want everyone to participate to create a more harmonious community at Highland. We hope that with time and hard work it will grow into the vision we have for it.

Faculty Sponsor: Jennifer Castillo

ACT Testing Updates

On October 20th, over 600 seniors took the ACT test at Highland High School. We are so proud of our students who stepped up to the challenge and participated in this free opportunity to prepare for college and experience a high-stakes testing environment. If you missed out and still want to take the ACT, you can sign up to take it at another location on ACT.ORG. The cost of the test (without the writing section) is $55.

Highland High School Juniors will have the opportunity to test for free on April 6, 2021.


Message for Seniors & Parents

Seniors - Every year the seniors organize a game that they call "Assassins" which involves teams of kids "eliminating" other teams by using squirt guns. This is in no way sponsored or supported by Highland High School. Our job is to make sure that students are safe while at school, so the game is not allowed on campus or at school sponsored events. Every year we get calls complaining that our students are trespassing, blocking driveways, and driving recklessly. We ask that if you are the parent of a senior, you discuss their participation in Assassins with them. Any calls we receive related to the game are directed to Gilbert PD.

A+ School of Excellence

Congratulations Hawk families and Staff, Highland High was recently named an A+ School of Excellence.
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COVID-19 Communication

We have had some questions about the types of communication that are sent when a student tests positive for COVID. Below you will find an explanation of two types of communication you may receive.

Exposure Letter - These letters are sent to notify parents that their child may have been exposed to a student who tested positive for COVID in one of their classes. If you receive more than one letter, it means that your child may have been exposed to the same student who they share more than one class with OR that they may have been exposed to multiple students who they share class with. Please check the schedule that is listed in the letter to determine in what classroom the exposure occurred. Students who are exposed to a student who is positive for COVID do not automatically need to quarantine, but should be monitored closely for symptoms of COVID. Students should be kept home should they have symptoms or are waiting for COVID test results.

Quarantine Letter - If you child needs to quarantine as a result of exposure you will be contacted by the Highland High health office. This is determined only after Maricopa County conducts an investigation and determines it is necessary for a student to be quarantined based on the information gathered regarding exposure. The Maricopa County Department of Health has set the quarantine period as 14 days. Gilbert Public Schools follows Maricopa County guidelines and does require that students remain out of school for the entire duration of the quarantine period.

If you decide to keep your child home due to exposure to COVID or if you are told that your child has to be quarantined we will do our best to keep students caught up. Please reach out to your child’s teachers as they will be able to tell you what assignments are due and the best way to stay engaged in class (via Webex or other means). Your child’s teachers are always the best source of information when it comes to what is happening in the classroom.

Gilbert Education Foundation: Power of One

THANK YOU – Gilbert Public School Families and Staff Rock!

WE DID IT! Not only did we hit our goal of $33,000 we surpassed it and raised a total of $33,350.

Thanks to the dedicated and fabulous families and staff of the Gilbert Public School District, and a matching donation from Albertsons, our Power of One Campaign raised $33,350!

These donations will make a gigantic impact on the district through classroom innovation grants, student and faculty scholarships and our S.H.A.N.E. social services program.

Congratulations HIGHLAND HIGH SCHOOL who won first prize! They received $1,000 to use for their campus where it is needed. Way to go Hawks! Pictured are: Stacia Cantrell, Dean and Lauren Harmon, Assistant Principal receiving the prize from GEF’s mascot “Owlbert Einstein.”

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The Girls Badminton regular season finished with a record of 4-1 in our section and 6-5 overall. The girls have gone through some adversity but all have stepped up to do their part to help the team be successful. The girls will go to State for team play starting Monday, November 9th against the Mountain View Toros at 4:00 at Mountain View High School.

Also, Allison Teague was ranked 8th in the State Singles Tournament and will play on Saturday, along with our double team (Audrey Cluff and Sammi Lerch) that will compete in the State Doubles Tournament. Please help me in congratulating all of the girls for this crazy season.

Allison Teague

Audrey Cluff

Emily Smith

Haile Kealoha

Abby Scanlan

Addy Fraughton

Sammi Lerch

Coach Donaldson

Cross Country

Congratulation to the Hawks XC team who won the Gilbert City Championships. Beating Campo Verde, Gilbert, Mesquite, Desert Ridge, Gilbert Classical Academy - Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Races. The boys team also won the Chandler Relays with the girls team coming in 2nd. Our team also brought home tons of medals in the Phoenix Classic with the Freshmen and JV boys and girls teams taking 1st place, Varsity boys taking 2nd and the Varsity girls taking 3rd. Way to go Hawks!

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Cross Country Sectionals

Congratulations to the Highland XC teams for winning Sectionals. Senior Emma Baugh took 1st place and Freshman standout Crew Resendez took 4th place

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Varsity Football

2020 Hype Video
Hawks Football 2020 Hype Video

Congratulations Ammon Allen for being awarded the Marquis Cooper Scholarship.

Our Highland Touchdown Booster Club was proud to award the 4th annual Marquis Cooper Scholarship to Ammon Allen at our game on Friday night. This scholarship is awarded each season in Marquis’ name to one of our deserving senior athletes. We are grateful for an anonymous donor who donated the funds for this scholarship this season! We are also grateful for the Cooper family who continues to support Highland Football! You can see an interview with the legendary Bruce Cooper on our Booster Club Facebook page today, and the memorial locker set up in our new locker room dedicated to his sons memory. We believe that when we honor our past, it helps our athletes to build a program that will be successful into the future! Congrats Anmon! (Thanks to Donna Mundy for the pic!)
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Boys Golf

Girls Golf

Congratulations to our Girls Golf team who received the award for Division 1 Central Section Girls Golf Champions at State.
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Swim & Dive

Congratulations to the following students who qualified for the State Meet on November 5th & 6th!


In the state qualifier......The boys had 32 personal bests and 2 season bests. They qualified for state in 6 spots in individual events and all three relays....thereby we will take 10 boys to state! They are: Carson McDonald, Easton Martin, Nick Armstrong, Clayton Pace, Pelaki Folaki, Carsen Halls, Dallin Hanson, Austin Bingham, Jerry Merrill, Scotty Newberger


For the ladies, they had 18 personal bests and 12 season best.

There are 12 ladies headed to state qualifying in 9 spots for individual events and all three relays! They are: Sevilla Groebe, Sadie Khalil, Nalani Curry, Hannah Harvey, Amanda Johnsen,

Hailey Price, Claire Rohner, Ebey (Elizabeth) Thurmond, Emily Lewis,

Federica Miele, Karli Cosseboom, Elyse Dilbeck-Stover

Congratulations to the following three divers who also qualified for State: Carter Reed

Benjamin Hunter, and Emily Thurmond.

Swim & Dive State Meet

The boys had a great day at state for diving!

Ben Hunter finished 10th with 337.75.

Carter Reed finished 9th with 343.20.

Please congratulate them when you see them in class! They have worked hard all season.

Please help congratulate Emily Thurmond who finished 16th with a score 331.75!!! Division 1 girls for diving had some tough competition and she did an amazing job.

Coach Bachner and Coach Bahena

Freshmen Boys Tennis

The Freshmen Boys Tennis team had an amazing season and finished 7-2. They had a group of 16 that put in a lot of hard work and had some incredible matches. Congratulations Jacob Giltinan who was undefeated and went 18-0 in his singles and doubles matches.
Photo courtesy of Donna Mundy http://www.donnamundy.com/

Athletic Trainers

Highland is proud to employ Certified Athletic Trainers to keep our athletes safe. Athletic Trainers are Licensed Healthcare Professionals that provide onsite healthcare for athletes. Highland would like to thank them for all they do!! #safetyinsport @hhs_sports_med

Girls Volleyball

Congratulations to our Girls Volleyball team for winning the 6A Central Region with a perfect

10-0 record! They're a record high #3 seed in the state playoffs which will start November 14 at home. This group of girls has completely redefined what Highland Volleyball is. They've been highly ranked locally as well as nationally with no precedent. They have a clear vision for what they wanted and absolutely attacked it. Our Girls Volleyball team also raised over $1500 for the Sideout Foundation in their Dig Pink game against Mountain Pointe.

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Banner Hawks

Thanks to training from Mrs. Barmettler and Alyssa Love, Banner Hawks made over 200 masks for medical workers.
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Banner Hawks had the opportunity to learn how to suture. GCU provided us with kits and instruction. Many of us got good enough with doing stitches that we're ready to learn more advanced suturing techniques!

National Honor Society

These pictures are from the 2020-21 NHS Induction Ceremony.
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Free & Reduced School Lunch

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This year, Gilbert Public Schools received an additional 5.9 million dollars in Federal funds based on income guidelines directly related to student free & reduced lunch eligibility. Taking the time to complete a GPS Free & Reduced Lunch Application means GPS can continue providing additional academic support and services for students (even if your child decides not to participate in the lunch program). Thank you for taking the time to complete an online application and to help ensure our school district receives its fair share of Federal funds. Click here to watch a short video to learn just how important these funds are to our schools and all of our students.

Performing Arts

Highland Orchestra

Social distancing and they still sound amazing!

Spirit Store

spirit store

Student Council


We are off to a great year and look forward to some awesome activities. Due to the restrictions of Covid-19 we were unable to have a Homecoming Dance but worked hard to continue the Homecoming traditions that are still possible, making Homecoming a success!

First, we would like to introduce our newly elected freshman class officers:

-President: Henry Hall

-Vice President: Anaya Suarez

-Secretary: Danica Singleton

-Treasurer: Andres Blanco

-Freshman Representative: Cody Skutnik

-Freshman Representative: Camryn Allen

Second, here are some of our upcoming events. We can’t wait to see you there!

*Football game November 13th @ Chandler (Tie Dye)

*Football game November 13th @ Higley (Camo)


Freshmen Cheer

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JV Cheer Squad

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Athletic Director, Mr. Larson supporting our Swim & Dive team at their Panda Express Fundraiser Night!

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Girls Golf heading to State!

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All dressed up for Halloween!

Senor Grover's 3rd Hour class

A shout out goes to Senor Grover’s 3rd hour class who have spent time talking about how they will build a better nest - and then literally repaired the nest that had lost some branches. Love my Hawks who show us how to #riseandsoar in small ways every day. #onebranchatatime

(FB post from Melinda Murphy, Principal)

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