Cat Chat Newsletter - December 2016


Dear Cienega Families,
I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving. We are now in the home stretch of our 1st semester. December is the month of finishing strong. Please take the time to go onto Power School and check your child's grades. High school grades are final at the end of each semester, and it is imperative that we push hard to finish strong academically. Please do not hesitate to contact your child's teachers if you need information about what you find on Power School.
December is also a great time to contribute your yearly tax credit. Tax Credit Contributions are a 100% dollar-for-dollar credit. For those that pay Arizona state taxes, for every dollar that is contributed, 100% will be returned back in their state tax return. People that are single can contribute up to $200 per year, and married couples can contribute up to $400 per year. 
Many of our extra-curricular programs at Cienega depend on tax credits to function. Tax credit contributions can be given to any club, sport, fine arts program, activity, or the greatest need. I would like to thank you in advance for contributing your tax credits to any of our programs. Below is our website for tax credit contributions. This website is a much simpler and improved way to make tax credit contributions.
Happy Holidays, and please be safe as we move into 2017.


Nemer Hassey
Benchmark Testing
Final Exam Schedule
Vail Jingle Trail
CHS Band Golf Tourney
AP Exam Fee Schedule
Senior Information
Senior Portraits
FFA HAppenings
STUCO Happenings
Science Dept Info
College & Career Chronicle
Eagle Scout Project
ACT Prep Courses
Yearbook Info
Volunteer Coordinator Corner
Phat Cat Winner


Writing Benchmarks - December 6 and 7 (Grades 9-11)
Reading Benchmarks - December 8 and 9 (Grades 9-11
Math Benchmarks - Week of December 5
Biology Benchmarks - Week of December 12


We know that many families leave for vacations around Christmas, so it is important to know the schedule for Final Exams. This year the semester ends mid-week, we are aware this is unusual; please use the following for your planning and remember that missing a final is not recommended.
Friday, December 16 - Finals for periods 3 and 4
Monday, December 19 - Finals for periods 0, 2, and 6
Tuesday, December 20 - Finals for periods 1 and 5
Wednesday, December 21 - No School!


Yes, we are into our 11th year of the Vail Jingle Trail 5k! As you can see this is truly an event that's part of Bobcat Nation. Students helping, faculty running, the choir singing,  student photographers and the community coming out to show their support.

This year the age group awards were made by the CHS Art Club and the overall male/female awards were made by TSW again this year.

It's an event that has always benefited one club or another on campus and has raised toys for underprivileged children in the community. Last year we raised 464 toys that were donated to the Shyann Kindness Project. 

If you sign up online, we have a discount code for $3.00 off.  The code is CHS11. Or print out your registration form and take $3.00 off.

Past participants always tell us they love the long sleeve shirts. We hope you'll join us to raise toys and funds to help the needy this time of year. We hope to see you out there!
The link is to the flyer:

This is the link to online registration:
Here are some photos from the event two years ago taken by a former CHS photography student. 



Hello Cienega Families:
If any of you are interested in golfing, please support our award winning band program. Attached is a brochure for their golf tournament fundraiser. Thank you for all you do for Cienega!!!



It is never too early to pay for your AP exams in the bookstore. The attached AP Exam Fee Schedule was sent out earlier in the school year so that parents could plan to spread payments out over time.  This was intended to help families reduce the stress of paying for many tests at one time in the spring. Even though the final deadline to pay for AP exams is not until March 31st, we encourage you to pay early. The tests cost $93. There are scholarships available for students that need assistance and you have the option to use tax credit money. Please contact Eric Tatham at (520) 879-2864 if you have any questions.

AP Exam Fee Schedule  


Testing Information :

SAT registration deadline for the January 21st  test is December 21st . Go to to register.

ACT registration deadline for the February 3rd test is January 13th. Go to to register 


SchoolWay App:
If you have not yet downloaded the SchoolWay, I highly encourage you to do so. The senior counselor sends push alerts to your Smart phone, or texts or emails if you don't have a SmartPhone. Go to to download the App. Join the Vail School District, then Cienega High School and then the GROUP: Class of 2016, or just enter the WayCode:


Financial Aid:
Any student attending college next year should have filled out the FAFSA by now. Go to for details.


In order to have the best chances of receiving scholarships or financial aid at any of the state universities, seniors should have already applied to these schools. Do not delay any longer if you have not yet applied. For out of state or private colleges, deadlines vary. Go to the specific college website for deadlines and information.


Scholarship opportunities are listed and updated on the Cienega Website on the "Counselor Page." Click here to see the page.
Attendance Issues:
Any student who exceeds eight absences (9 is 9) will not receive credit for that class. If it is a zero hour issue and other classes are not in line with the zero hour absences, the student will be required to drop zero hour and add a class after lunch. Schedule an attendance appeal with Juanita Mari (located in the library) after December 1 st to appeal the absence.


The Wall of the Future is growing rapidly. Any senior who brings in their acceptance letter to a college or trade school, or a letter of enlistment is publicized on our Wall and is entered in the drawing to win an iPad at Honors Night in May. Cienega Seniors are C2G!


Cienega FFA's Food Science and Technology team placed first at the South Central District Mid-Winter Conference on November 22nd at Central Arizona College. Students were asked to identify aromas, food safety scenarios, a taste test to identify the generic product from the brand name and create a food product including calculating nutrition facts, production and retail costs, packaging and then present it to a panel of judges. The team is made up of Samantha Reece (1st place individual), Megan Dailey (2nd place individual), Trevor Crawford (5th place individual) and Layne Donnelly (9th place individual). Please help us congratulate them as they prepare for state on December 9th at Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus. 
Cienega's Agriscience students have been working on many new and exciting things including updating the livestock barn, working in the greenhouses learning to make successful plant cuttings, evaluating and selecting their animal projects for the Pima County Fair. Students got a chance to complete a surgical castration on a goat and will put it into practice again when the dairy goats are born in the next few weeks.

On Saturday, 3 December, 35 NJROTC Cadets assisted Rincon Vista Middle School with their annual Silver Bell 5K and Pancake Breakfast.  The cadets set up signs, placed cones on the race route, set up the water stations and acted as route monitors.  The cadets were happy to be a part of this successful Vail School District event.  



Things are changing in the science department and your student's every day is not just lecture, notes, and discussions.  In AP Biology, students are REALLY motivated to go way deeper into labs, specifically using the CLARITY method. 
CLARITY is a method of being able to clarify the neurons in a brain to help see the pathways and connections between them.  In order to see this, AP Biology students have been learning about how to get a hydrogel into the neurons, crank up the heat, create a gel mesh to lock everything in place, and then eliminate the lipids, or fats, that make up the membranes around cells.  
Once this happens, you can virtually have a transparent brain that you can label with fluorescent antibodies.  
Conducting this lab over the course of the spring semester would be a huge accomplishment and is one that, quite frankly, that college labs are barely attempting.  Enough of the basics behind the protocol. These students have been in contact with the lab at Stanford that created it and have composed a grant application and now a GoFundMe page! You can help these eager and aspiring scientists raise money to buy supplies and support their exploration. The class plans to update the GoFundMe site like a blog so donors may make this journey with us. Talk to an AP Biology student or Mr. Farr today, and of course, you can learn a lot more here:  


Scholarship Opportunities
Do you know what your child can do now to earn money for college?
Parents, were you aware that many of our students (including freshmen) have already earned scholarship money for college? A few weeks ago, the Cienega High School counseling department introduced a free scholarship program to students in grades 9 through 12 called This scholarship program was established through a collaboration between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and more than 180 U.S. colleges and universities. Through students establish an online profile, update it periodically and earn scholarship money for college by participating in clubs and extracurricular activities, doing volunteer work, earning good grades, etc. Imagine that, earning money for doing the things they are already doing! As a parent you can learn more about this program through the following website:
More Advanced Placement Opportunities Coming Soon  
Great News! Cienega High School has earned approval by the CollegeBoard to be an AP Capstone School. Students who complete the AP Capstone Research and Seminar courses learn valuable critical analysis, collaboration, and independent research skills. The skills students gain upon completion of the AP Capstone program are highly sought after by colleges across the U.S.
Now that we have earned approval, we are in the preliminary stages of developing our program. Additional information regarding this program will be included in future issues of the Cat Chat.
College and Career Fair  
Our College and Career Fair is scheduled for January 25, 2017 from 8:30-12:40. We will have over 1,000 students (mostly sophomores and juniors) circulate through the browse style fair throughout the morning. Each year we have a few parents who come to share their career skills with our students. Would you consider coming to share your college and career opportunities with our students? If you would like to participate, please contact me no later than January 13, 2017. Please contact me at the email or phone number listed below and we can discuss this opportunity farther. Thank you for your consideration.
Dainah L. Graham
College & Career Counselor
Bobcat Scholars Academy
(520) 879-2819


Two Cienega students, Caeden Andersen and Skylar Cavanaugh completed their Eagle Scout projects on Cienega's campus in early December.  Along with about 30 students, parents, and family members, Caeden and Skylar not only beautified a section of campus, but continued to help build a multi-use walking path for anyone and Cross Country path at Cienega.  A few years back, another student completed an Eagle Scout project creating a desert loop.  These projects continue that tradition.  

This path, which involved adding about 15 tons of decomposed granite, multiple bushes, trees, and rip rap rock, is located behind the Cienega Softball Stadium and in-between the preschool.  The path emerges along the right field line of the Cienega Baseball Stadium and connects to the northwest corner of the freshman football field.  This path will continue to embrace the desire of many to have a walking path around campus and improve the Cross Country team's home course.  

Here's some pictures of Caeden (blue shirt) and Skylar (copper sweatshirt) and their path project.

Congratulations to these Eagle Scout Bobcats and for their hard work and dedication to improving our school. 


Please see the attached document for the updated schedule of ACT Prep courses we are offering on our campus in the spring.  These courses are super important so that your student will be prepared for this high stakes college entrance exam.  If you have any question, please contact Eric Tatham at (520) 879-2864.

 ACT Test Prep Flier 


Students remember to pre-order your yearbook for $90 right now by going to and typing in Cienega in the box next to  "Get Started Now". Price of the yearbook goes up to $100 once they arrive in April. Please Contact our Yearbook advisor Chance Calgher with any questions.

Parents, show your Senior how proud they make you with a Senior Recognition Ad. You can either create one your self through or have one of our wonderful yearbook students create one to your liking. Deadline to start your Senior Recognition Ad is January 13th. Please Contact our Yearbook advisor Chance Calgher at  to get started or with any questions. 


Thank YOU Bobcat Volunteers! I would like to thank YOU all for donating your time, talents, food, drinks, monetary donations and muscle to Cienega this school year! YOU GUYS ROCK!!! 
~ Bobcat Volunteer opportunities ~
VOLUNTEERS needed to COOK/BAKE for our annual Holiday staff appreciation luncheon on FRIDAY, December 16th. We need VOLUNTEERS to help SET-UP, SERVE LUNCH and CLEAN-UP. 
Volunteer opportunities:
Set-up - 9:30am-11:30am
Serve - 11:30am-1:30pm
Clean-up - 12:00pm-2:00pm
Items Needed: 
Crock Pots of Chili
Crock Pots of Soup - any kind
Finger Food Desserts 
Salads - All kinds 
Cornbread/Rolls/Muffins/Crackers/Tortillas - 
Soda Cans - Regular Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Root Beer, Diet Dr Pepper
Water Bottles - 
Details coming soon, watch your email or contact me to volunteer or to donate food/drinks at 879-2811 or
Upcoming volunteer dates:
College and Career Fair at CHS
Wednesday, JANUARY 25th 
Set-up - 7am-8:30am 
Assist/Serve - 8:30am-12:00pm
Clean-up - 12:00pm-1:15pm
Auxiliary Gym  
Science Fair Judging at CHS 
Science Fair Judges Needed! 
Wednesday, FEBRUARY 8th 
CHS Library /Education Center  
Thank you for your consideration and support! Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Blessings!    

Amy Burton 
Volunteer Coordinator

Congratulations to McKenzie Youngblood for being our Phat Cat Drawing Winner on Friday, November 10th! McKenzie won perfume from Abercrombie and Fitch and a $50 Gift Card. Congrats McKenzie!
Congratulations to Kelsey Morgan for being our Phat Cat Drawing winner on Tuesday, November 22nd. Kelsey won a set of Skull Candy wireless headphones. Congrats Kelsey!



Thank you, parents, for your support of Cienega. We truly appreciate your involvement! 


Cienega High School


- FINALS Half day for students

12/21-1/3 - Winter Break

1/16 - No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday 
1/25 Half Day for Students

2/5 - Parent/Teacher Conferences

2/17 - Half Day

2/18 - vail Pride Day

2/23 & 2/24 - Rodeo Break

3/13 - 3/24 - Spring Break



Cienega High School
Vision Statement
Cienega High School creates an educational environment utilizing partnerships among community, parents, and staff to assist students in maximizing their academic potential and promoting life-long learning.
Front Office   - 879-2800     Attendance   -  879-2803   
Bookstore     -  879-2824 
Registrar       - 879-2812

Health Office - 879-2810
Volunteer Coordinator

Front Office/200 House   
Nemer Hassey
Secretary - Chris Rich 879-2816 
Senior Counselor
John Tritz - 879-1843 
Bobcat Scholars Counselor
Dainah Graham - 879-2819
300/700 House
Assistant Principal
Dean Nourse

Secretary - Kim Thielke 879-2855
Freshman Counselor
Eric Boxley - 879-2854

400/600 House/Athletics     
Assistant Principal
Kelly Hadden
Athletic Director - Whitney Holland - 879-1813            

Secretary -  Sandy Morrison
Counselor A - L
Colette Alvarado 879-2904

500 House/Special Education/Security          
Assistant Principal
Kim Middleton
Secretary - Cassandra Bahrychuk 879-2874

Counselor M - Z
Sylvia Lewandowski-879-2817

Special Education Secretary Patty McKnight 879-1804
Communications Coordinator
Elizabeth Taggart - 879-2878  
CHS website:               


Silhouette Photography - 886-1710  (Senior pictures for yearbook)
Sodexho - 879-2090 or   

District Office - 879-2000

Transportation - 879-2475

Get your YEARBOOK today!


CHS Online Store
Spirit Wear & More!

 Click here for Online Ordering  





Job Openings

Are you looking for a job?


The Vail School District is looking for dynamic, energetic and positive staff members. Please click on the link below for the job descriptions, qualifications, salary guide, and the application process.


Click for job openings here   


Cienega High School

It's that time of year again to pre-order your yearbook.