Sacred Heart's boys basketball team went undefeated all the way to the championship Dec. 11. (Photo from Facebook)
Sacred Heart’s boys basketball team went undefeated all the way to the championship Dec. 11. (Photo from Facebook)

Students across the Diocese of Phoenix are spreading Christmas cheer and earning recognition for their work in and out of the classroom.

St. Theresa students lent their voices to ABC 15’s Operation Santa Claus effort last week. Their peers at St. Gregory sang their hearts out for seniors in Sun City. Third-graders at St. John Bosco donned Christmas hats and antler headbands while singing for patients at Mercy Gilbert Hospital in Gilbert Dec. 10.

Lauren Hickey, a sophomore at Xavier College Preparatory, had her piece featured on the annual holiday card sent out by the National Art Education Association. Her piece appears just below the greeting in the top row, second from right.



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Most of the first and second-grade class at St. Matthew brought the prayerful matachines dance to the parish and school community Dec. 11-12 in honor of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They also performed at a nearby auto dealership that had a Marian altar on display.

Back on campus, junior high students at Brophy’s Loyola Academy enacted their teacher’s original production of “A Tale of Two Storytellers” to critical acclaim.

Paul Rodriguez, who graduated from Bourgade Catholic High School in May and went on to Grand Canyon University, heads a club that pioneers tech projects. Connor Willey will graduate from Brophy College Preparatory in May, but has already found success with a startup featured in AZTechBeat.

Students are doing well academically too. Brophy seniors Anthony Gutierrez and Martin Rodriguez Nunez, were recently awarded four-year scholarships to Columbia and Tufts University through the prestigious QuestBridge program. They were among 501 students selected nationwide because they proved themselves to be high-achieving despite coming from low-income families. Some 77 percent of recipients are first-generation college students.

St. Francis Xavier eighth-grader Francisco Gamez won a full-year scholarship through the Ted Novak Memorial Scholarship program. It’s in honor of Novak, an alum and former Spanish teacher at the Jesuit school, and intended for a Spanish-speaking St. Francis Xavier student who exemplified the qualities of humility, kindness and commitment to learning.