A decade that was: we look back at the last 10 years

Female graduates preparing to walk. The 2017 graduating class is the last to hold graduation at Perry.

*An earlier published version of this story said the “dungeon” (F-130’s) were built with the F-building expansion in 2014. That was incorrect. The classrooms in the F-130’s are part of the original building.

The end of 2019 marks the end of a decade for PHS. We take a look back at the last ten years on campus, and have ranked the top-10 stories from our archives

10. A Super opportunity
Kicking off the list from least to most impactful event is when Perry band got the chance to perform with Katy Perry. In 2015, a few Perry students were given the opportunity to perform in the Super Bowl XLIX half-time show.  The band, along with a few dancers, were chosen after they sent in audition tapes.


9. Hot, over-flowing crowds cause admin to move graduation
As of 2018, graduation was moved off campus to Arizona State University’s Wells Fargo Arena. The graduating class of 2018 consisted of 967 students, which was the largest class at that time. A year later in 2019, Grant Williams became the last valedictorian when Perry changed to a summa cum laude system. 


8. Enrollment grows rapidly; PHS expands
In the 2014-2015 school year Perry made its first plans for expansion. The “new” F-building was created to give CTE classrooms a place of their own. With the building came the new student store, now known as the Puma Den. The current store came with the school’s first expansion, an additional building meant to accommodate the rapidly increasing student population. Since then a new locker facility has been built between the baseball field and John Wrenn stadium for 600 students. 


7. Campus expands again; bats invade C-building
In 2018, another building was put in on the opposite side of campus to relieve traveling teachers and help stuffed rosters. A bat infestation accompanied this construction project, and since bats are legally protected in Arizona, the school could not kill them through fumigation or poison. This meant campus security was put in charge of capturing the bats individually and releasing them outside the buildings.

On one weekend, we spotted principal Dan Serrano and his wife Cindy, catching bats so they could drive them away and release them. Teachers, security guards, district personnel and bat experts came in to join the tall task of safely removing the endangered Mexican free-tailed bat.


6. Hamilton football team’s hazing scandal rocks CUSD
In 2017 a tipster emailed their school’s police officer as well as to an official from the Chandler Unified School District of  sexual assault, igniting the Hamilton Hazing case. Besides giving Hamilton some bad reputation, the incident effectively altered the way the district views their athletes. In the wake of the Hamilton hazing incident, district sports teams adopted the “Character Matters” program in 2017. The goal is building young athlete’s character to prevent future incidents. 


5. Student Emery Miller begins “Team Emery” charity
In 2013, Emery Miller brought his annual bear drive to Perry. Having spent some of his holidays in the hospital, Miller decided to give back to the hospital that helped him through his childhood. Then emerged the Emery bear drive, where students can donate stuffed plushies to kids who have to spend the holidays in hospitals.


4. Nowhere to park? Students flock to Flipside
While these new buildings compensated for the influx of students on campus, they did nothing for the cars belonging to those students. In November 2016, the school had 3000 students, but only 800 parking spots. By 2017, students had resorted to parking in the Flipside parking lot. This was quickly banned in February 2017 by the owners of Flipside as they felt the students were taking up too many spaces. While some students tried parking in nearby residential areas, anyone caught faced severe fines.  The school decided to move the buses off campus to create more spaces. Then, in 2018, an additional parking lot was built next to the seminary building.


3. PHS paves way for inclusion in sports
A group of inclusion/special education teachers launched the Unified Sports program in the spring of 2012. Perry was one of the founding six schools to bring Unified Sports — team sporting events for students with special needs — to Arizona Initially only basketball, other sports have since been added.The program partners people with disabilities with student volunteers that do not have disabilities.


2. Student’s accuse admin of infringing their rights
Last spring during a “USA” spirit day before MORP’s Red, White and Boom dance, a small group of students accused administration for targeted them for wearing “Make America Great Again” attire. National criticism ensued – including a protest on Queen Creek across from campus the following Monday. A report released by CUSD explained that only one student was disciplined for not showing their ID to security. Further investigations came to the same conclusion – that the school never infringed on any student’s rights to wear MAGA clothing on campus.


1. PHS becomes first school to offer STEM programs
Each high school in CUSD has something different to offer its community. In 2012, assistant principal Joe Greene helped the school become the first campus in the district to offer a STEM-specific curriculum.

The degree program focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and was introduced in 2012 with two diplomas possible: STEM diploma and STEM Scholar diploma. Since its inception, hundreds of students have successfully completed the rigorous program, which includes strict class schedules and internships.

AG: families cannot ‘Opt Out’
*In 2015, the Arizona general attorney prohibited schools from “opting-out” of state standardized tests. However, in 2018 the Arizona state superintendent declared that the testing was optional. Unfortunately, they were wrong and standardized testing was reinstated across the state the following year.

Deep Equity sparks controversy
The extremely controversial Deep Equity program became a popular topic of debate as of this past November. Some in the community say schools are over-stepping their roles and teaching a political curriculum, while CUSD argues it is not a curriculum and there is nothing political about Deep Equity.

Red for Ed teachers walk-out
In April 2018, teachers across America staged walk outs in hopes of getting better funding for schools. In Arizona, the “Red for Ed” movement lead to a six-days of public school closure. The walk-out lead to Gov. Doug Ducey giving teachers a 20 percent pay raise.

Campus heart-broken in two consecutive fall breaks
In 2017, sophomore Brayden Mason passed away after a tragic drowning accident. The following year, Leslie Jones, a film teacher, passed away after an unexpected heart attack. 

District schools were faced with numerous bomb threats in Feb. 2016
In the spring of 2016, schools all over the district received bomb threats via social media, voice mails, text messages and notes. Finally in February, assistant superintendent Craig Gilbert had enough, releasing a statement saying that even if the threats are jokes, people — even students — will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if they make a threat.

A mindful PHS
The “Mindfulness Room” was added on campus this year to give students a safe space to talk to someone about their mental health.

Stuck in South Korea
In November 2015, Daniel Shin withdrew from the district after not being able to return from South Korea after a family vacation when his visa expired.

‘Pretty’ controversial
The Perry Pretties established themselves on campus in the fall of 2016 to “support the football players” despite concerns from Serrano and other faculty.

Students, staff, dodge ball!
A student-staff dodge ball tournament became an annual occurrence after its initial success.

MORP re-boot starts new spring tradition
Stu-Go and Hannah Bashford collaborated to bring MORP back in March 2017.