A Knightly Newsletter May 2021


Summer is here! We hope you all have a very safe and amazing summer vacation, that you take time to enjoy family and friends, and that you stay healthy. To our 8th graders and students who will be somewhere else, we wish you the best! To our returning students, see you in the fall! -Nikki Wilfert, Principal and Sidney Williams, Interim Principal


Congratulations to our newly-elected officers! You have clearly demonstrated the IB trait, risk-taker. President- Joey Sandoval; Vice President- Kieralyn Kennington; Secretary- Davis Sterling; Treasurer- Abigall Allport; Publicist: Lauren Cooper

Favorite Character Day @MAAS!

Our last Spirit Day had great participation and without a doubt fun was had by all! Our MAAS Knights are very creative. Way to end the year. Thank you Knights- Student Council

8th Grade "KNIGHT" Awards

Academy Knight Citizenship Award

The Citizenship Award goes to CJ MOORE who is both caring and principled. CJ demonstrates compassion, respect, and empathy for others. CJ takes responsibility for HIS actions, and acts with honesty and integrity as HE strives to make a positive difference in the world.

Knowledgeable Knight Award

The Knowledgeable Knight Award goes to Evan Reeves who is both knowledgeable and open-minded. Evan Reeves demonstrates mastery of academics in every class in which he participates; he is passionate in his genuine desire to learn more about the world. Evan is not afraid to see things from other viewpoints and cultural perspectives, and is eager to learn from new experiences.

Notable Knight Award

The Notable Knight Award goes to Delaney Duffalo who is reflective, balanced, and a communicator of global ideas. She is thoughtful and understands the need to lead a balanced life as supported by Delaney's ability to assess her personal strengths and limitations. Delaney is a well-rounded individual who understands and expresses ideas through a variety of means, and is confident when collaborating with others.

Knight of Distinction

The Knight of Distinction Award goes out to Natalie Reeves who is a risk-taker, thinker, and inquirer. Natalie uses strength of character to delve into new and uncertain situations, always ready to use creative and critical thinking skills to challenge intellectual norms. Natalie is someone who regularly processes information and turns it around to ask "what if", "why not", and "how about"? Natalie loves to learn and will continue to use her natural curiosity to acquire skills to further her learning all her life.


The Final IB Academy Awards for the IB Profiles celebrate one individual from each grade level that embodies each of the traits. These students were nominated by their teachers. The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. As IB learners, we strive to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective.

Inquirers develop their natural curiosity, acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research, and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives. Ian Nunez-(4th Grade) Ryker Proffitt- (5th Grade) Jessie Olmedo-(6th Grade) Abbie DeWeese-(7th Grade) and Amelia Guerin-(8th Grade)

Knowledgeable students explore concepts, ideas, and issues that have local and global significance. In doing so, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines. Preston Rule-(4th Grade) Chase Anderson- (5th Grade) Paul Trendler-(6th Grade) Anton Magda-(7th Grade) and Caden Rencher-(8th Grade)

Thinkers exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems and make reasoned ethical decisions. Julia Norton-(4th Grade) Colson Anderson- (5th Grade) Kendall Von Burg-(6th Grade) Cora Hanna-(7th Grade) and Peter Dimuzio-(8th Grade)

Communicators understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others. Madilyn Clements-(4th Grade) Silas Norton- (5th Grade) Jazzylin Pascacio-(6th Grade) Vivian Merrill-(7th Grade) and Jose Verbeck-(8th Grade)

Principled students act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice, and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups, and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them. Aaron Jury-(4th Grade) Jay Flood- (5th Grade) Adriana Cardall-(6th Grade) Claire McNamee-(7th Grade) and Christina Little-(8th Grade)

Open-minded students understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values, and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view and are willing to grow from the experience. Joshua Lopez Acosta-(4th Grade) Lucas Angulo- (5th Grade) Cristian Laurean-(6th Grade) Tommy Holliday-(7th Grade) and Anaiz Daniels-(8th Grade)

Caring students show empathy, compassion, and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service and act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and to the environment. Kiley Vlahoulis-(4th Grade) Angel Osuna- (5th Grade) Davis Sterling-(6th Grade) Maya Anderson-(7th Grade) and Matthew Pastorin-(8th Grade)

Risk-takers approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas, and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs. Calob Lowe-(4th Grade) Alyssa Smith- (5th Grade) Arianne Rencher-(6th Grade) Joey Sandoval-(7th Grade) and Sebastian Arellano-(8th Grade)

Balanced students understand the importance of intellectual, physical, and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others. Ugochukwu Ubosi-(4th Grade) Alice Hancock- (5th Grade) Kendall Cox-(6th Grade) Lily Krzeminksi-(7th Grade) and Savannah Hunt-(8th Grade)

Reflective students give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development. Ada Thompson-(4th Grade) Manuel Aguero- (5th Grade) Ryan Weinstein-(6th Grade) Cosette Sampson-(7th Grade) and Lucy Carter-(8th Grade)

A few words from this year's New Knights:

We asked a few of our new Knights about their expereince this first year at MAAS and here is what they had to say: My experience here at the Academy for my first year was overall pretty good. All the teachers are super nice and helpful and always understand when I needed help. The students here were also really nice and I had no trouble making friends. It was kind of stressful, but that might just be the transition from 6th grade at a different school to 7th grade here. I really like this school, and I look forward to coming to school here in 8th grade.- Anise C.C. (7th Grader) It was very different. The work load was slot harder and the material was a lot more advanced. I had to work and think while I was just kinda laid back at my old school.-Ryan W. (6th Grader) I really liked this school. All the kids are really nice and the teachers are really good. I've had a lot of fun here and I am happy that I came here for 7th grade!- Maja W. (7th Grader) I learned a lot more then I would've in my old school and everyone here is friendly and I now feel like I have actual friends.-Emma H. (6th Grader) I really like this school and it feels like lots of people welcomed me. I also am really grateful for the teachers. They always provided good information and learning for me.- Adri C. (6th Grader)

Our 8th Graders have some great advice for our current and incoming 4th graders...

Time management is soooo important. If you struggle with that like I did, try writing out schedules. Specific schedules. Spend a half hour on this assignment, a half hour on that assignment, then a fifteen minute break. Things like that. Those can also help with motivation if you take those fifteen minutes to do something you like.- Carena T.
Don’t freak out too much about grades, not everything has to be perfect (okay I’m not saying there shouldn’t be effort put into your work) but try to relax a bit more and have fun.-Autumn V.
Don't be scared or shy and just be yourself. Ignore people telling you what you should and shouldn't be and try your best, but be able to recognize when something was your best or if you weren't trying. Have fun and make great friends because you'll be with them for five years! 🙂- Katie K.
Stay on top of the work and don't get behind. Make as many friends as possible.-Brody

What are our 8th graders looking forward to in high school?

Learning more about other subjects that I am interested.-Adam Matsukawa

Meeting new people.-Ella Thomas

Probably taking advanced academic courses.- Caden Rencher

Moving to a the next chapter in my life. Growing up and becoming more and more independent.-Olyssa Muñoz

Marching Band- Amelia Guerin

Let's give a round of applause to our new teachers!:

This school year, Mesa Academy had the privilege of inviting a remarkable orchestra teacher, Dr. Dianne Greiser. Previously teaching at Kyrene school district, Dr. Greiser decided to fill in for now mother of three kids, Mrs. Brazier. Dr. Greiser is proud of everyone and has seen so much growth. Despite the remote learning difficulties, Dr. Greiser has appreciated being a part of the Mesa Academy family! We will miss you, Dr. Greiser. Make sure to wish her the best of luch as she transitions into high school orchestra!

We are so grateful that a few teachers have decided to teach here at Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies. The new 4th, 5th, and 6th grade English teacher, Ms. Wylie, states that, “Joining the MAAS team was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My own two children went to the Academy, so I knew it provided a rigorous curriculum for curious students. In addition, it is also a very supportive community. When I saw an opening, I had to jump at the chance. I feel so lucky and excited to be an ELA teacher here! It's a pleasure to work with students who desire challenging activities, and have such incredibly insightful discussions.” Thanks so much for coming to the Academy to teach us, Ms. Wylie!!

My first impression of the academy was that the teachers, staff, and students were all very friendly and polite. I was so excited with my first class by the students’ excitement to learn and how you all tried so hard. I remember being impressed with all of the students writing and communication skills.-Mrs. Brown

Although not completely new, Sra. Sandoval has come back to MAAS! After five years away from the classroom I felt it was time to come back and apply some of the techniques I learned and was teaching other World Language teachers. What better place than Mesa Academy to make 'my come-back'. I left 5 years ago and I am so happy to be back. This has been a challenging year for everyone and I never thought I'd be coming back to a year that required so much flexibility BUT... I can't think of any other school I'd rather be at than Mesa Academy. I am grateful for the opportunity. Thank you MAAS!- Sra. Sandoval

And a final good-bye from Mr. Akey!

I knew from the very first day that I came to work at Mesa Academy that this was a special place where exceptional things could happen. The teachers and administrators here are brilliant and dedicated. The students are bright and eager to learn. And the parents care about their sons/daughters and the education that they receive. It has been an honor to spend the last 14 years here sharing my passion for music and life. I know that great things will continue to happen at MAAS. I look forward to hearing about all of the extraordinary students I have taught as they go forward and conquer life as the leaders of humankind's future! -Douglas Akey

Some of our favorite memories from this year's 8th Grade Class...

Many of our Mandarin students shared this as their favorite memory- When Mrs. Yang burned the croissants during the national anthem.

Delaney D.- When I sounded like an 80 year old smoker and had to read my English prompt - 7th Grade, Mr. Mitchell.

Tylee G.- Mr. Mitchell dressing up as a turkey 😆 and when I forgot my lines in a play 🤦‍♀️

Anneliese E.- My favorite memory of mesa academy is all of it, i cant really narrow it down do one but I really enjoyed my experience at the Academy and I am really sad to leave it all behind

Brody H.-Getting on the wrong boat during oceanography

Olivia A.- The sheer amount of times I've tripped and fallen over objects and tables is concerning. Though, it's made plenty of fun stories to look back on.

Carena T.- I accidentally scared my friend as they were coming out of a classroom on my way back from the bathroom and they legitimately screamed loud enough that a teacher came out and scolded us.

Kade K.- The glow dance that we did in first semester of when I was in 7th grade was very fun and there were a lot of fails and funny moments.

Assison W.- The end of school parties/ talent shows were fun, and any other spirit days.

Makena R.- One of my funniest memories was in 5th grade when some friends and I used to do handstands on the turf against a wall and we got mad at the wall so I tried to throw a shoe at it in anger and the shoe ended up landing on the roof so my friends (Anaiz Daniels) had to continue the rest of her day with one shoe.

Averie C.- My funniest memory would be just my whole Spanish class. I always had the funniest time no matter what we were dong.

Evan R.- When a deep conservation about gogurt occurred during a teacher swap

Christina L.- I think it was when I dropped my instrument in 6th grade and I cried so much. It was a funny event and I think I will miss these memories.

It has been a great year. Knights you have displayed every IB Trait and showed immense courage. We did it! We survived a year that will go down in history as one of the most challenging. Good luck to our 8th Graders as they venture into high school. Thank you for reading and taking part in our many surveys. -MAAS Newsletter Team, Sebastian Arrellano, Emma Huges, Evan Reeves, Arianne Rencher, and Joey Sandoval, and Sra. Sandoval. Have a great summer y'all!


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