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Posted: Monday, September 28, 2009 11:00 pm

Summit teachers recognized for excellence in teaching

Summit School of Ahwatukee middle school teachers Andrea Yocum and Amy Lecky have received the 17th annual Xavier College Preparatory Golden Gator Award for Excellence in Teaching. Xavier high school recognizes junior high teachers who have been inspirational to their freshmen students.

This is the second Golden Gator for Lecky, who teaches middle school language arts and literature. In previous years Summit math teacher Melissa France has received this award.

Yocum, Summit’s middle school science teacher, was also one of 288 teachers selected worldwide to attend this year’s Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy program at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama. The programs focus on space science and exploration in a variety of classroom, laboratory and real-life astronaut training, providing teachers with innovative techniques to educate their students about science and math.

Yocum instills a passion for science in her students. Because her focus is hands-on, experimental-based learning, students are successful in mastering advanced concepts like eighth-grade chemistry and physics and seventh-grade human body systems. In fact, 100 percent of her students passed AIMS science in 2008 and 2009, with 91 percent of Yocum’s eighth-graders scoring in the “excelling” range.

Lecky is responsible for an important rite of passage for Summit eighth-graders called ROPES (Right of Passage Experiences). Lecky inspires students to reach for their dreams. Under Lecky’s guidance each student ventures into the community to be mentored in a brand new life experience. Research papers and 20-minute presentations, including demonstrations, mark the culminating event for each student. The experience not only prepares students for the future, but also gives students a life changing opportunity. 


Courtney ‘Rides the Rez’ to raise funds for education programs

Local realtor broker and owner Randy Courtney of Courtney Valleywide Properties is doing more these days than helping clients sell and buy houses. He’s also putting in 70 miles a day on his mountain bike to ride the 2009 “Ride the Rez” Bitahochee 350, a fundraising bike ride to benefit the Rancho Feliz Charitable Foundation, Inc., a local nonprofit that raises funds for Volunteers in Residence Programs for American students and additional educational programs in Mexico and on the Navajo Indian Reservation. 

From Oct. 18 to 23, Courtney and 40 other American and Mexican cyclists will ride 350 miles together across the Navajo Indian Reservation in northern Arizona.

Courtney signed on to be a “Guardian Warrior” and raise his share of the goal of $750,000. Randy’s share is $7,500. To learn more or to donate, visit

For more information, call Courtney at (602) 615-6500.

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