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Sunday, March 29, 2020

A product of Herald/Review Media




Your Energy Cooperative is a Proud Scholarship Sponsor for


2018 Academic All-Stars Adriana DoPadre Avery Baltunis    A W SENIOR



Golden Apple &Awards


when he was a little, tiny kid,” Mike Baltunis said. “He was always super smart and super athletic. We don’t have to worry about him — doing homework or doing well in school. He’s kind of self-motivated. He wants to do well.” Avery Baltunis credits much of his success in school to his parents, who are his biggest inspirations. He’s always felt a strong sense of support from his parents to do well in everything he does. “I look up to them for the confidence they gave me in school and athletics,” he said. “They always taught me to do my best and to try no matter what. They just taught me great qualities like how to be motivated and stay motivated in school.”

Publisher: Sorenson Publisher: Jennifer Jennifer Sorenson Editor:Tim TIm Woods Editor: Woods Photos: Mark Levy, submitted Writers: Dana Cole, Alexis Ramanjulu, Stories: Shar Porier, Lauren Renteria, Lyda Longa, SharDana Porier, Alexis Ramanjulu, ColeAndrew Paxton Photos: Mark Levy, Dana Cole, file

Age: 18 Grade: Senior School: Buena High School Extracurricular: Mountain biking team Grade point average: 4.574 Future plans: Baltunis plans to go to the Colorado School of Mines to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. He hopes to work with renewable and sustainable technology. Nominated by: Allen Wright

Scholarship winner


bsorbing every high school class and having a passion for learning made multiple community members nominate Adriana DoPadre for the Academic All Star award. “Adriana is an extremely hard working student who gives her hen the and lastoutside schoolofbell 100% inside the classroom,” Wesley Wood wrote rings and hisofhomework in her nomination DoPadre. “She is a friendly face around the is finished, community and isAvery always motivating those around her to be their Baltunis eagerly hops on best.” his bike. DoPadre takes classes “Every after school, I at day the high school but also always ride myCochise bike, ICollege always through look forward it at the She end of the via dualtoenrollment. day,” hesaid said. “It’s aisnice stresseducation something reliever.” that she has always been Academic All Star Baltunis, a senior atShe Buena passionate about. feels High Nomination School, that is atomember of the school’s move further in life mountain team. For the Name: Adriana youbiking have to have a strong last foureducational years, he’s been ripping DoPadre background. and rolling Afterthrough graduatingtrails she and School: Buena High competitions member plans onasattending theof the School mountain biking junior varsity Walter Cronkite School Grade: 12 and varsity teams. and Mass of Journalism Cycling is something Baltunis Communication at Arizona Extracurriculars: has been into since he was a young State University and Film, Color Guard and boy. Hisstudying father,sports Mikejournalism. Baltunis, Marching Band always loved sport and even Film the is something Nominated by: owns M&M Cycling on Fry DoPadre is passionate about Wesley Wood, Olivia Boulevard. would takeathis and isMike working on while Wells, Donna Willard, son biking and loved watching him the high school. She is part Robert D. Stachel, Carl grow. of the school’s film club, Roubicek Joe Winney “I would take on bigger which she him said takes up and Deana Winney rides and, freshman moststarting of her time. DoPadre year, he racedsaid forthey thewere Buan Mountain working on Biking Team,” Mike Baltunis a promotion video for the said. “Now, he’s surpassed me, I’m Salvation Army which she old now andwas he’s young anda fast. It’s enjoying being part of. pretty cool a parent whoband does a “If as I didn’t join (the) sport toorsee your kid, who’s film I wouldn’t be the young and a little weak, but asand they person I am today, I get better andprobably betterhate they startand lose my love of learning,” the would school beating17-year-old you. You’re said.proud and mad at the same time.” DoPadre started a program called “Buena Mirror Messages” But, where Avery where she puts Baltunis teen statistics, positive and inspirational quotes in Golden, this shines especially bright is inplaces the themMines on sticky notes. She then throughout the schoolColorado, for fall. There,got hethe plans classroom. her fellow peers who need a pick me up. DoPadre idea to major mechanical and The 18-year-old is after set to graduate from a website one of her friendsin committed suicideengineering after hopefully work with sustainable at the end of bullied. the school year with being andunderstood renewable a 4.574 grade point average.bullying, He’s Adriana “Having experienced thetechnologies. “It would be Satchel interesting to work a math difficulties and science whiz who of growing up in today’s world,” Robert D. renewable energy at some loves physics, and wrote in chemistry his nomination of the senior.with “She now posts positive said. “It’s engineering. messages: ‘Buena Mirror Messages’ aspoint,” her way he of dealing with always been an interest Baltunis hasofalways been the loss her friends andajoined the Kindness Clubof at mine Buena to make the environment better and I think good student, but his passion for High School.” renewable energy is a great way to science, technology, DoPadre said engineering it’s an honor to be recognized for her hard work and math during andstarted is rewarding for allhis the efforts shestart.” has put in during her Mike Baltunis couldn’t be freshman year at Buena. His education career. more proud of his son, but he 21-year-old brother, Aiden, took isn’t surprised at his success. similar classes during his time at Buena and Avery Baltunis thought Avery Baltunis has always been successful in academics and is STEM classes looked like fun. incredibly driven. It wasn’t long before he fell in The elder Baltunis never had love with math and science, so to worry about his son’s grades much so that he plans to pursue a because he knew he loved to career in engineering. succeed. Avery will start his freshman “He’s always been driven, even year at the Colorado School of




Daniella Pando




Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.


Malcolm X

he is like a sponge, always wanting to learn and retaining everything.” Daniella Pando was highly praised by Sonya Chairez and other teachers at Willcox High School in her nomination as a 2020 Academic All-Star. She was called “the best student in the district,” “constantly studying,” “willing to work harder than almost all those around her,” “motivated and brilliant,” by her teachers. Academic All Star With grit and determination, she Nomination maintained a 4.0 average through middle and Name: Daniella Pando high school while at the same time playing Age: 17 softball, managing the wrestling team and participating in a number of extracurricular, Grade: 12 volunteer and church activities. Pando was one School: Willcox High of 30 students in the state accepted into the School elite University of Arizona Student Research Fellowship in 2018 and worked side-by-side Parents: Jesus & with biomedical scientists in a lab for eight Mireya Pando weeks. In 2019, she was accepted into the Extracurricular University of Arizona Med-Start summer activities: Volleyball, program and learned all the aspects of health Softball, Manager careers and while she was there, took three for Football and courses. Wrestling, Science How does she manage all that? “While being Club, Allies Club, highly involved in my school and community, I National Honor have kept my academics a top priority. Finding Society a balance has been difficult, but our sports teams, group activities and clubs usually ‘share’ Grades: 4.0 GPA students. Therefore, everyone is usually very Favorite subject: considerate and patient with student schedules. Chemistry I find keeping a calendar updated at home in Favorite teacher: Mrs. the kitchen helps visualize where I need to Lee Miller be every day. I also keep my phone calendar updated with my schedule. My coaches, teachers, and club leaders have been very understanding and have even at times helped work out my busy schedule,” she said. As for her goal, she said, “At the start of high school, my desire was to pursue a career in sports, but in the spring of my freshman year during softball practice an injury occurred and I was sent to visit with a specialist in Tucson. That eventually sparked interest in the medical field, but it wasn’t until I spent two summers at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine that it cemented my decision. I have always noticed the health disparity that my community faces, which is what has motivated me to seek a career in the medical field. Ultimately, I want to be an example to later generations of what a kid from a small town can do and bring what I have learned and accomplished back to underserved communities.” When asked what the most important lesson she learned in high school was, she replied, “Throughout high school, athletics has taught me countless lessons. I would say that building the correct mindset to accomplish what one wants to do, is the most important lesson that I have learned. This mindset has been instilled in me through athletics. For example, going into the games with confidence and positive thoughts of winning would create a winning environment for the team. This lesson translated to my academics in a similar way when taking tests or assignments. This lesson will be very beneficial in my future endeavors because I believe everything that I have done has prepared me for the next step in my educational path and I am determined to become a doctor.”

Brinley Carrillo



rinley Carrillo has been enrolled with Tombstone Unified School District since fourth grade where she started out at Huachuca City School. As one of Tombstone High School’s stand-out students, she will be graduating in 2020 toward the top of her class. Throughout her school career, Carrillo has excelled academically while involved in a number of extracurricular activities. She finished eighth-grade as valedictorian of her class, was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and participated in track, softball and cheer through junior high school. As she approaches graduation, Carrillo has managed to maintain a 4.12 weighted grade point average while working a part-time job through her senior year, along with serving in a number of clubs and Academic All Star organizations. Nomination “I was involved in so many extracurricular activities all four Name: Brinley Carrillo years of high school, and through School: Tombstone those experiences, I was able to High School work with fantastic coaches and Grade: Senior teachers,” Carrillo said. “I also met some of my closest friends. GPA: 4.12 weighted, Getting involved in school activities 3.86 unweighted helped me discover who I am and Extracurricular: what I want to be. My four years at National Honor Tombstone High School have been Society, Student a great experience, with wonderful Council, FCCLA, teachers who work hard to help Cochise Leadership their students succeed.” Academy, Girls State, One teacher who stands out tennis for Carrillo as both a mentor and inspiration is math teacher Daniel Matchette. “He’s really patient and takes his time explaining concepts until he’s sure we understand the work,” she said. “I think he’s an excellent teacher and I credit him for helping me become more proficient in math.” Carrillo was nominated for the Academic All Star Award by Tombstone High School Principal David Thursby, who praised her academic achievements and leadership abilities while balancing her involvement in organizations and extracurricular activities. “Brinley is ranked number one in her senior class,” Thursby said. “She has been a student council member all four years of high school and now serves as Student Body President. She has participated in Knowledge Bowl and Academic Decathlon and is a National Honor Society member. As a junior, she was the FCCLA Chapter president and qualified for the nationals at the state leadership conference in Tucson.” Thursby noted that while Carrillo strives to be the best academically, she also serves as a role model and leader on campus. Carrillo will be attending Northern Arizona University this fall where she plans to earn a bachelor’s in Philosophy, Politics and Law.

Anthony J. D’Angelo


Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.





Hunter Perry



unter Perry, soon to be a graduate of Bisbee High School, has managed to achieve success on and off the football field. His mom, Elizabeth Enriquez, who nominated him for the 2020 Academic All Stars, said, “He has demonstrated his leadership as a senior football captain and running back for the Bisbee Pumas. Hunter has the gift of kindness towards others. He is always there to help with family and friends, no matter the situation. He is a perfect example of an exceptional student and is most deserving of recognition for his hard work and efforts in his daily routine at school and away from school.” Bisbee’s running back was essential in the winning season last fall and helped bring home The Pick after the win over Douglas with three touchdowns. He was also named to the 2A East All Region 2nd team after the season. Perry knows he wants to keep playing ball and has plans to go to the University of Jamestown in North Dakota and study Radiology thanks to his interest in the medical world. He credits a lot of his success in school to sports. To play, he had to keep up his grades which helped him make it to college to keep playing. “I keep my grade point average so high during sports, because that’s when I work the hardest. I can’t let my team down. I would go to school, practice and then do homework,” he said. Football also helped him make new friends, he added. “The kids that came from Naco School didn’t want to play football, but everyone on the team recruited them. We all became brothers.”

Academic All Star Nomination Age: 17 Grade: 12 School: Bisbee High School Parents: Elizabeth Enriquez, Clyde Perry Grades: 3.16 GPA Favorite subject: Math


Favorite teacher: Brian Vertrees

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin


Name: Ashley Saldana School: Benson High School Grade: Senior


Academic All Star Nomination

Extracurricular: Student Council & Senior Class Representative Nominated by: Marv Sorensen

Ashley Saldana B

positions, Saldana is responsible for taking care of her younger sisters and also assists an elderly couple with daily housekeeping chores. Saldana often volunteers her time as a tutor for struggling students and, outside of the classroom, volunteers at Benson Community Hospital. “Ashley’s faith is also important to her,” Sorensen said. “She routinely helps her church raise money through such fundraisers as yard and bake sales.” After graduation, Saldana plans to attend Cochise College for two years, then transfer to the University of Arizona for a degree in education. “I want to teach elementary school,” she said. “I enjoy working with young children and I enjoy teaching, so it’s a perfect fit for me.” Another one of Saldana’s supporters is her student council sponsor, Katrina Jansson, who provided the following comment about the Academic All Star nominee. “Ashley is an incredibly compassionate student with wonderful insight and dedication to her commitments.” Sorensen said that because of Saldana’s love for learning, commitment to fellow students and volunteerism, he believes she is an excellent candidate for the Academic All Star Award.

Alfred Mercier


enson High School senior Ashley Saldana is recognized as an excellent student, leader, senior class representative, community volunteer and all around exceptional person. Her passion for learning and commitment to helping fellow students, along with her community volunteerism are reasons that Saldana was nominated for an Academic All Star award by Benson High School Social Studies teacher Marv Sorensen. “I’m very honored that Mr. Sorensen nominated me,” said Saldana who holds several leadership positions at the high school while involved in drama club, creative writing club, international club and her high school’s book club. “I’ve really enjoyed my four years at Benson and the amazing teachers and opportunities we have here,” she said. Saldana’s academic achievements, leadership roles and compassion for others do not go unnoticed by all who know her. “Ashley has continuously demonstrated her capabilities as an outstanding student by earning excellent grades in all her classes, including dual credit classes such as English and pre-calculus, as well as a class for students interested in a career in education,” Sorensen said. Along with her responsibilities as a graduating senior and leadership

What we learn with pleasure we never forget.




Academic All Star Nomination Name: Yasmín Morales Age: 16 School: Bisbee High School. Parents: Brenda Morales and Ramon Morales. Extracurricular activities: Volleyball, basketball, cross country and track. President of the junior class and president of the prom committee, student council, National Honors Society and BHS health club. Grade Avg.: 4.0 Favorite Subject: Home Health Aide which is a dual credit course through Cochise College. Favorite Teacher: Ms. Merrill, Home Health Aide


Yasmin Morales T

he 11th grade instructional team nominated junior Yasmin Morales for being “an excellent student and hard working athlete”, but more importantly, for being “a dynamic human being.” Her teachers state she “exhibits leadership in the classroom in a positive manner, which mirrors her kind disposition, particularly through her willingness to assist others.” Morales, Junior Class president and a member of the Student Council, is also a tutor in the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) elective class and is taking courses at Cochise College as well. They say, “Her enthusiasm shines through in everything she does, whether on the volleyball or basketball courts or in the field running track. She is also a great storyteller who is unafraid to express herself.” She belongs to St. Patrick’s church and is a lector there every other Sunday at 7:30 a.m. mass. “I feel it is important to be a part of my church community, because of the support and love they show me,” said Morales. In addition to her heavy school schedule, sports, and church, she manages to hold down weekend jobs at Thuy’s Noodle Shop and the Namsen Tea House. “Both places are very enjoyable to work at. My bosses are kind, and supportive of my academics and athletics. I love working at these places and don’t know what I would do with the free time if I didn’t,” she noted. “I am a busy person, but I love what I do. After doing all this, I also volunteer at the Bisbee Mining Historical Museum and the Bisbee Animal Shelter, when I have time. Yes, it is hard to keep my grades up with all of these activities, especially sports, but it is so worth it. I love being busy. “Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my family. I could not do nothing without the endless support of my parents. But, I am so fortunate to be a part of so many wonderful organizations. The love and support I get is overwhelming. “

Sebastian Ramsey



espite still being an underclassman Sebastian Ramsey knows what he wants, which is what prompted Buena High School counselor Elaine Carlson to nominate the 10th grader for the Academic All Star award. “I was impressed with Sebastian the first time I met him,” Carlson wrote in her nomination of Ramsey. “As his counselor, we discussed future classes and goals. His sights are set on the stars!” Ramsey said he hopes to join the Marines like his father after graduating from college. He is currently in his second year of JROTC at Buena and is a Squad Leader. As a Squad Leader he helps guide five to six new cadets on how to be successful in the program. “I want to go into the Marine Corp,” Ramsey said. “My dad was in the Marine Corp and retired after 26 years so that’s what I know.” In Carlson’s nomination of Ramsey, she noted he is taking challenging honors classes and has received A’s in every class he’s taken at the high school so far. “This young man is an ace,” Carlson wrote. “I can easily envision him continuing to be a ‘servant leader’ as he progresses towards his goal of serving our country; (I also know) he will be involved in giving back to his community in a variety of ways.” Outside of the classroom, Ramsey represents the Colts on the cross country

and track teams. He first started running distances because his mom told him to give it a try because she felt he was good at running. Ramsey says his coaches and teammates make the sport even more enjoyable. Next year he plans to add key club to the list of his extracurricular activities. “If I’m not running I’m icing or studying,” Ramsey said. “I want to run in college and do ROTC.” When asked about what it means to be recognized for his academic success Ramsey said it’s nice to be recognized and is a validation of his hard work over the last couple of years.

Academic All Star Nomination Name: Sebastian Ramsey School: Buena High School Grade: 10 Extracurriculars: JROTC, Cross-Country and Track Nominated by: Elaine Carlson


Ella Southard




Academic All Star Nomination Name: Ella Southard School: Buena High School Grade: 9 Extracurriculars: JROTC Nominated by: Unknown



ven though Ella Southard in her first year of high school, the freshman has found her footing at Buena High School. The freshman joined the school’s JROTC team which she plans to continue to be in though her high school career. “I wanted to join (JROTC) because my (grandfather) and dad did it,” Southard said. “I’ve made a lot of friends through it and it’s not as scary as I thought it would be.” The freshman was promoted to Corporal within four months of being in JROTC. She said she hopes to attend West Point because she wants to join the military. “She works harmoniously and effectively with others,” the anonymous person who nominated Southhard for the Academic All Star Award wrote in their nomination form. “She conveys positive influences to others and her leadership skills allow her to carry the ball during difficult events.” One of the events that helped shape her is living in two homes since her parents were never married. She said having to go between her parents homes made her more independent and do things for herself. “During Ella’s formative years she survived a quarrelsome struggle between two loving parents who could not live with each other,” the anonymous person wrote. “During that time she developed coping skills that allowed her to use her brilliant mind positively rather than having her situation hold her back.” In middle school Southard participated in volleyball and track but once she entered high school she decided to focus on her academics. Now in her free time she likes to hang out with her younger brother and help him with his schoolwork so she can help him create a passion for learning. “I wanted to focus on my classes because I’m in all honors classes,” she said. “(Academics is important to me because I want to get into a good school.” When asked what it means to be nominated for the Academic All Star award she said it is nice to be recognized because she values her education while others take it for granted. “I feel like more people should care about their grades because you can get into good colleges and schools (with good grades).”





Sophia Rosa

hether it’s achieving scientific goals, or advocating for the wellbeing of individuals who might not otherwise be heard, Sophia Rosa is on top of it. And she’s only 14. An eighth-grader at Colonel Smith Middle School on Fort Huachuca, Sophia is a dynamo who has been nominated for the Herald/Review 2020 All-Star Academic Award. Colonel Smith Principal Sandy Larson, who nominated the teen, says this youngster is not only a good student who maintains a high grade point average, she is also a gifted volleyball and softball player and a public speaker who became the “first ever middle school student from Cochise County to be chosen as a member to the 2019-2020 Superintendent Kathleen Hoffman’s Arizona Department of Education Student Advisory Board Council,” Larson stated in her nomination. “It is my honor to nominate Sophia Rosa for the Sierra Vista Herald 2020 Academic All-Star Award,” Larson wrote. Sophia’s athletic abilities are not limited to stamina and strength, Larson says. The teenager also encourages her teammates to stay positive during competitions and do


their best despite challenges. The youngster also was chosen to represent her school as a member of the Chief Science Officers organization. As part of that, Sophia was tasked with “increasing STEM awareness programs within the school,” Larson said. She also meets weekly with her fellow CSO members to plan strategic partnerships, Larson said. Sophia is also organizing a STEM Night for the community in April. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Besides athletics and academics, Sophia is also quite the public speaker, Larson said. That talent allowed Sophia to represent Colonel Smith and Cochise County in Phoenix this past December at the Arizona Board of Education meeting. The teen’s goal, Larson said, was to create a “platform where voices from rural and military communities were heard.” At the Phoenix event, Larson said Sophia spoke about the “critical need for mental health resources for students and educational resources for military families.” Sophia attends the Board’s quarterly meetings in Phoenix. “I feel she would be an excellent candidate, like many other students,” for this award,” Larson said.

Academic All Star Nomination Name: Sophia Rosa School: Colonel Smith Middle School Grade: Eighth Extracurricular: Volleyball and softball Nominated by: Principal Sandy Larson

Jack Potter



e is only 13 years old, but Jack Potter already displays the maturity, compassion, kindness and leadership of someone twice his age. A student at Colonel Smith Middle School on Fort Huachuca, the youngster was nominated for the Herald/Review’s 2020 Academic All-Star Award by the team of seventh grade teachers at the school. “He is one of the kindest students we have encountered in our combined 68 years in education,” the four teachers wrote in their nomination for Jack. Academic All Star The teachers said seventh-grader Jack goes out of Nomination his way to help students who otherwise would not Name: Jack Potter have a voice. “We have all witnessed him striving to forge a School: Colonel Smith relationship with the special education students in Middle School our school,” the teachers said. “It is exceptional that Grade: Seventh he takes the initiative to make friends with those Extracurricular: who he normally would not come into contact with. Swimming, theater He has a special knack for seeking out students who need to be seen or heard.” Nominated by: One of the tasks Jack performs regularly is helping Colonel Smith 7th a visually-impaired child with his math. He also grade teachers volunteers to help other students who may need assistance, the teachers said. On top of that, Jack maintains straight A’s. Outside of class, Jack is never bored. He’s a competitive swimmer who was recently tapped to join the junior Olympic team. He is also quite the Thespian, having won a Topper Award for best actor in a musical. Topper Awards honor members of theatre programs across Europe. This youngster also has found the time to teach 5- and 6-yearolds how to dance ballet, his teachers said. “Jack lights up our school simply by attending each day,” the teachers said. ”It is clear to everyone that he comes in contact with that he has the brightest of futures and is so very deserving of this award.”


iam Swearengin is a star student and a star athlete. The sixth grader at Colonel Smith Middle School on Fort Huachuca has been nominated for the Herald/Review 2020 Academic All-Star Award. And the team of sixth grade teachers at the school think the world of this youngster, said Jennifer Martell, who nominated Liam. “Liam is a kind person,” Martell wrote in her nomination. “I have seen him help others. He makes friends easily and ensures that his peers feel included in activities both in class and outside of class.” Martell said Liam has “high expectations” of himself and proves it daily in class. She said he volunteers to help teachers, as well as other students. He has been recognized as a Star Student at the school and was placed in an honors math class, Martell said. Liam is also a soccer player and member of a traveling team, Martell said. He practices several days a week and plays on weekends, going to different competitions. “Even with all the practice and travel, Liam maintains high scores and work ethic,” Martell wrote in her nomination. “He is often chosen as a leader in class and in games. “He is a deserving young man,” Martell said.

Trevon Hopkins H

importance of being active and has convinced classmates to come up with various physical activities during recess. Most importantly, Trevon understands the importance of a quality education, wrote one of his nominators. He completes his homework daily and on time, often asking if there is anything more he can do. The fifth-grader is also a voracious reader, who often won’t put a book down until he’s finished, or until he’s told there’s another task to complete. Outside of school, Trevon is active in his church and was successful in getting the church to provide 16 care packets for Sierra Vista’s homeless population through the Good Neighbor Alliance. He also selects and sings worship songs for services each week. “(Trevon) promotes positive behaviors in and outside the classroom,” Scull said. “He turns any negative situation into a positive one.” Scull added, “Trevon is wise beyond his age and we are so proud to have him as a member of this family.”

Name: Liam Swearengin School: Colonel Smith Middle School Grade: Sixth Extracurricular: soccer Nominated by: Jennifer Martell


Academic All Star Nomination Name: Trevon Hopkins School: Huachuca Mountain Elementary School Grade: Fifth grade Nominator: Multiple, including grandmother Delcy Scull


uachuca Mountain Elementary School fifth-grader Trevon Hopkins is not only an exceptional student, he’s also an active member in and a leader of his community. Hopkins was named to the Huachuca Mountain National Elementary Honor Society in 2019 for promoting leadership, responsibility and community service. Hopkins’ grandmother, Delcy Scull, says Trevon is a true leader of men (well, in his case, children and young up-and-comers) and does so by example, providing assistance to fellow classmates who need help and he does it with a smile. “He is polite and assists in providing a good learning environment for everyone in the classroom,” Scull said. “He confronts students if they are being bullies. He is willing to tell the truth at all costs.” Trevon participates in health and safety challenges at school and has received awards for his outstanding conduct. Trevon also understands the

Academic All Star Nomination


Liam Swearengin




Abigail Lewis



bigail Lewis is a fourth grade student who always takes her classes at First Baptist Christian Academy seriously. She is interested in her own learning and works hard to be at the top of her class, said nominator Jim Carter. Abigail is known to ask questions and push herself to learn new things and understand new concepts. Both a wordsmith and a mathemagician, Abigail has competed in spelling bees and has tested for the Math Olympics. She has also been chosen by her peers as a representative and leader, when she was voted to the student council and then selected as vice president of the organization. She is known to always be there to lend a helping hand to teachers and fellow students, with her aftercare teacher saying Abigail is “her biggest helper,” Carter said. Away from the classroom, Abigail enjoys playing on the Ponytail All-Star team as the youngest member last season. She is also a team captain on the Coronado Athletic Club 10U soccer team. Her soccer team took first in a tournament in Tucson last year, Carter added. “Abigail is a strong leader with a competitive spirit that allows her to excel,” Carter said. “She is always trying to lead the pack, which is why she finds leadership roles so easily.”


Marissa Garcia

Academic All Star Nomination Name: Marissa Garcia Age: 9 Grade: Third School: Greenway Elementary


Parents: Teresa and Mario Garcia Extracurricular activities: softball, honeybees- girls charity group, after school singing program Grades: 4.0 Favorite subject: Math Favorite teacher: Mrs. Borquez and Mr. Porter


arissa Garcia is already showing her academic prowess and she’s just in third grade. Her second and third grade teachers nominated her as a 2020 Academic All Star and said, “Marissa’s love for learning and commitment to this community is evident every day. Not only do we admire her work ethic and total classroom engagement, her classmates are inspired by her willingness to rise to any academic challenge.” She insists on doing her best and has managed a 4.0 average, shows mastery of her multiplication tables and is already showing signs of a good writer producing “enjoyable to read” work. They say she also has a “heart of gold” and is a friend to all her classmates and “eager to help and share her developing understanding of the new concepts her teachers presents.” Garcia participates in the Boys and Girls Club of Bisbee and enjoys volunteering her time there. She belongs to the Honey Bees, a BGC community service group, and helped fill baskets for the needy families for Thanksgiving and Christmas. To add more zest to her life, she plays softball and is now in her third year of the sport. Okay, coaches, keep your eyes on this one! “Marissa is very deserving of this Academic AllStar award. She stands out in school and in the community,” they concluded.

Academic All Star Nomination Name: Abigail Lewis School: First Baptist Christian Academy Grade: Fourth grade Grades: 4.0 GPA Nominator: Jim Carter


escribed as a “stellar student who always goes above and beyond,” Oldemar “Papo” Castillo has been nominated for an Academic All Star award because of his hard work, leadership qualities and willingness to help fellow classmates. This Huachuca Elementary City School second-grader is no stranger to certificates of achievement, as he’s been awarded several through his brief, yet impressive, scholastic career. In a February Tombstone School District governing board meeting, he was recognized as the district’s “Super Student” for academic achievements, always doing the right thing and positive attitude. Castillo, who was nominated as an Academic All Star by his secondgrade teacher Christina Henry, is the son of Jeanette Paz and Oldemar Castillo Sr. This straight A student says he enjoys school because he likes learning new things, especially when it comes to science. “I like all my classes, but my very favorite subject is science,” he said. “I really like studying about wildlife, especially big wildlife like bears. My teacher is Mrs. Henry and she makes

science fun. We learn a lot in her class.” In her nomination packet, Henry praised Castillo “because he knows the meaning of “effort, responsibility and integrity,” and for applying those characteristics on a daily basis, both inside and outside the classroom. “One of his interests outside of school is karate, and for his age, he’s one of the more advanced karate students in his program,” Henry said. “Oldemar is an advanced purple belt, which is a testament to his self discipline and focus.” Castillo, who has been a karate student for five years, says he enjoys karate because he’s always learning new moves and it’s a fun action sport that keeps him active. “Right now, I’m an advanced purple belt, and my next level is brown belt,” the youngster solemnly said. “I like karate a lot and want to keep working at it so I keep getting better.” It’s that discipline, focus and passion for learning that Henry says makes Castillo a model student. “His love for learning is going to take him to big places as he continues through his education,” she said. “I truly can’t wait to see what he becomes.”

Academic All Star Nomination Name: Oldemar Castillo


Oldemar Castillo


School: Huachuca City Elementary School Grade: Second Extracurricular: Karate Nominated by: Christina Henry




Emma Sara Quinn



irst grader Emma Sara Quinn is 7 years old, but already this youngster is a leader amongst her peers. A student at Colonel Johnston Elementary School on Fort Huachuca, Emma has been nominated for the Herald/Review 2020 Academic AllStars Award. And according to Mary Gutierrez, who nominated the youngster and Emma’s mother Sara Bornfleth, this is one great kid. “She [Emma] is the prime example of the saying, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ ” Gutierrez wrote in her nominee application. “She is always willing to help a friend in need and is so kind and caring to all.” Gutierrez said Emma always participates in class and is a “leader to her peers.” She said the youngster loves to learn something new daily. That’s because Emma loves to read, said Bornfleth. And school is not this youngster’s only interest. “Emma Sara loves animals, she loves to take care of her chickens and her three big dogs,” Bornfleth said. “She also loves to cook and loves gymnastics.” And what does this youngster want to

be when she grows up? “One day Emma Sara would like to be a teacher, veterinarian, chef, and a hair stylist,” her mother said. Whatever she decides to do, Emma will shine, according to Gutierrez. “Emma Sara is an amazing young lady who strives to do her best in everything she does,” Gutierrez said. “This young lady is going to go places, no doubt about it.”

Academic All Star Nomination Name: Emma Sara Quinn School: Colonel Johnston Elementary School Grade: First Extracurricular: Cooking, gymnastics Nominated by: Mary Gutierrez

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Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. W.B. Yeats


or the past 18 years, science teacher Donna Savill has met the challenges to ensure her students leave Douglas High School with a sound knowledge of science and some direction on where they might land after graduation. Shannon Savill stated in her 2020 Golden Apple nomination of Donna, “Her philosophy is when there are challenges and no opportunities, stop the excuses and bring the opportunities to the students.” That is just what Donna did as she worked with Northern Arizona University and the BSCS Science Center to build a science program for her students which enhanced their AIMS Science test scores. She was also the first teacher in Arizona to bring in Project Lead the Way to Biomedical (PLTW). The program empowers Golden Apple students to explore and Nomination find solutions to some Name: Donna Savill of today’s most pressing medical challenges, Age: 52 explained Shannon. Family: married to She even brought in a Shannon Savill, son Phlebotomy Technician Nicholas Savill. Certification program which teaches how Education: Bachelor to take bodily fluids of Science from NAU, for testing so students master’s in biology have the opportunity to NAU go to work right after Most influential graduation. person: My entire Savill, with 25 years of family experience in teaching, Favorite quote: is also a HOSA Future “Don’t let your fears Health professional stand in the way of advisor, head swim and your dreams.” author track coach and head of unknown the Career technology Department. She became a teacher thanks to her two sisters who needed help with homework while she was in high school, Donna explained. “My mom worked full time, so I helped with the girls. My sisters taught me the joy of working with children. In high school, my best friend and I promised each other that we would become teachers and return to our border town community to make a difference. We both kept our promises,” she said. “My goal as a teacher is to help empower students to be successful for their future endeavors. Students venture out and return to check in letting me know of the successes they have gained. They thank me for caring and giving them the tools they needed to help them down the path of success. For me, the most satisfying part as a teacher is knowing that one day I will be sitting in a medical office and they will be taking care of me,” she added. One of the challenges she faces as a teacher is the lack of urban opportunities for student’s in the rural border town of Douglas. So, she brings the opportunities to them to eliminate those obstacles. Donna said, “The students who stand out in my teaching career are the ones who have had so many obstacles to become successful. Although they often proved to be a challenge for me, they also served as a reminder as to why I even became a teacher. We grew together and we made each other stronger. Their failures and successes became mine and the day they obtained their goal, you say to yourself ‘This is why I am a Teacher’.”


Donna Savill




Maribel Gonzalez



ith children as her passion, Maribel Gonzalez has dedicated her life to youngsters and teaching. “I’m a teacher first and foremost because of the children. I started out as a special education teacher, an incredibly rewarding experience that taught me how every child is capable of learning,” said Gonzalez, a first-grade teacher at Huachuca City Elementary School. “Now that I’ve transitioned into general education, it’s rewarding to see how these students respond to my teaching as well. I adjust my teaching approach to accommodate each child’s learning style because all children learn differently. It’s most rewarding when you see a light come on and you know you’ve made a special connection with a student.” Those special connections and genuine commitment to her students are qualities that compelled Huachuca City School assistant principal Jeanette Paz to nominate Gonzalez for the Golden Apple Award. “Maribel (Gonzalez) is one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met,” Paz said. “Her passion for teaching is evident every time you step into her classroom. Most times, you’ll


find her on the rug with her students as she is telling a story, explaining a math concept, or reviewing the objectives for her lessons.” Students in Gonzalez’s class are always aware of expectations, responsibilities and classroom routines, and are encouraged to express their feelings while respecting and listening to others. As a teacher with 17-years experience, Gonzalez started her teaching career in Florida, then relocated to this area where she taught at Imagine Charter School, followed by teaching for Sierra Vista Unified School District. Now in her first year at Huachuca City School, Gonzalez is praised by her colleagues as a team player and as someone who brings tremendous experience to her field. As someone who seeks professional assistance when needed, Gonzalez also values constructive criticism in order to grow as an educator. “I love working at Huachuca City School,” she said. “Along with amazing students and parents, I have wonderful coworkers and great administrative support. It’s rewarding to know that the children are happy to be at school and it’s evident to me that the administration and staff value a warm learning environment.”

Name: Maribel Gonzalez School: Huachuca Elementary School Job: First-grade teacher Nominated by: Jeanette Paz

Julie DeCuir



Golden Apple Nomination

obody gets involved in K-12 education to get rich, but Julie DeCuir is one of those truly special educators who is in it purely because she feels called to raise the next generation of bright, young minds. DeCuir, and educator for nearly two decades, now teaching first-graders at Town and Country Elementary School in Sierra Vista Unified School District, is continually looking for ways to improve in her craft. A 2001 University of Arizona graduate, she became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018 and earned her master’s degree from Concordia University in 2019, evidence of her commitment to education and, especially, to educating her students. “Even though she has been an educator for almost 20 years, she continues to learn so that she can be the best she can be for her students … When she sees there is a need in her classroom, she does research, reads books, and attends classes or webinars to see how she can fulfill that need,” said colleague Brenda Bland, who nominated DeCuir for the Golden Apple Award. “Last year, she looped with her students from kindergarten to first grade because she felt it would be in their best interest to be with her for another year.” In their best interest, indeed, as Bland notes “the growth her students are making is amazing to see.” An important member of her districtwide team, DeCuir is willing to take on the difficult conversations necessary to ensure all of the students — not just her own — at Town and Country Elementary get what they need at all grade levels. Bland also beamed about the “learning community” DeCuir has created by welcoming parents into her classroom. DeCuir “makes sure to teach the whole child, not

Golden Apple Nomination Name: Julie DeCuir School: Town and Country Elementary School Age: 59 and loving it Family: Husband (married 39 ½ years), four “awesome” sons and four “wonderful” daughters-inlaw, brand-new granddaughter, three grandsons and one more due in August. Education: BA through University of Arizona 2001, National Board Certified Teacher 2018, Master’s Degree through Concordia University 2019 just their academic side,” Bland wrote. “She teaches them how to be compassionate, inclusive, friendly, and patient, among other things.” DeCuir is passionate about what she does, and says teaching children is a true vocation, a calling. “It is a God-given purpose for this season of my life AND I love it!” DeCuir exclaimed.

Person who inspires her: “My students -- they continually inspire me.” Favorite quote: “The way to stimulate a child’s mind is by nurturing their heart.” -- She might have made that one up


or Cari Hanson, every school day brings new rewards. As a special education teacher with 17 years experience, Hanson teaches a multi-age, selfcontained classroom at Huachuca City Elementary School. And she says there’s nothing she would rather do. “I’ve always been in special education. I love working with kids with special needs because there’s nothing more rewarding than helping these special children work to reach their potential,” said Hanson, who was nominated for the Golden Apple Award by Huachuca City School Assistant Principal Jeanette Paz. “I have so many different disabilities in my class, and we are constantly working to make the students as independent as they can be.” Hanson’s ability to adapt her teaching style to meet the individual needs of a wide range of students is just one in a list of reasons Paz wanted this special education teacher recognized. “Cari is the right person for this role in our school,” Paz said. “In a class where students have intermittent outbursts, meltdowns and constant disruptions, Cari somehow manages to maintain order, keep to a schedule and is flexible as situations arise.” Described by Paz as someone who is eventempered with excellent coping techniques, Hanson is praised for taking the time to get to know her students, which allows her to better understand underlying issues behind a child’s behavior. Along with her self-contained class of eight students, Hanson also works with kindergartenthrough second-grade resource students for about 30 minutes a day, helping them with academic gaps

they may be experiencing. Prior to coming to Huachuca City School, Hanson was the special education teacher at Carmichael Elementary School in Sierra Vista for 13 years. This marks her first year with Tombstone Unified School District. Her teaching career started in Texas, where she taught for three years after graduating from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. “I love working at Huachuca City School,” she said. “It’s a great school with wonderful teachers and staff.” With six paraprofessionals who assist students in the self-contained classroom, Hanson praised her support staff for the work they do. “We have an amazing team and I appreciate each and every one of them,” she said. “I would not be able to do my job without them.” The feeling is mutual. “The paraprofessionals who work alongside Cari admire her leadership and exemplary teaching skills,” Paz said. “It is an honor to work with such a splendid individual who brings out the best in everyone.”


Cari Hanson


Golden Apple Nomination Name: Cari Hanson School: Huachuca City Elementary School Job: Special Education Teacher Nominated by: Jeanette Paz

Nadia Westen N

for Google. Westen’s pupils have placed nationally in Word Mania and have also been published in the Appelly Publishing National Student Poetry 2020 Rising Stars Collection, Ward stated. Because the gifted program is not funded by the state, Ward said Westen is constantly looking for grants to help her youngsters succeed. “This school year alone she has been awarded a STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics] grant for two 750 Electronic experiment kits and has won the Fort Huachuca Spouse Club Grant awarded for MakeyMakey classroom set,” Ward said. “The MakeyMakey classroom sets have allowed students in grades 5-8 to participate in hands on creative engineering, coding and electronic projects.” Additionally, Westen meets with students outside of classroom hours if any are falling behind in a course, Ward said. “All of her gifted students know they can come to her for assistance with work from other classes and she will make time to meet with students and staff outside of work hours,” Ward said.

Golden Apple Nomination Nominee: Nadia Westen School: Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District


adia Westen is all about challenging her students to reach new heights. Her dedication and high expectations of students, as well as assistance to other teachers in the Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools District, has landed Westen a nomination for the Herald/Review 2020 Golden Apple Award. “Ms. Westen creates a love of learning in students of all abilities and backgrounds as demonstrated by consistently meeting and asking core teachers if they need assistance with creating differentiation projects for their classroom,” said Rosa Ward, who nominated Westen. Ward said Westen is in charge of 50 gifted children in Kindergarten through eighth grades in the school district on Fort Huachuca. She engages her students in classroom debates in order to “stimulate though and provoke student dialogue,” Ward stated in her application for Westen’s nomination. Ward said Westen also prepares her youngsters to be their best by employing national competition materials in her classes, such as Word Mania, Appelly Publishing National Student Poetry Contest and Doodle





Bonnie Sikkema


onnie Sikkema has been serving students, schools and families in the Sierra Vista area for more than 20 years. She is currently the school nurse at Carmichael Elementary, where she has helped students there since 2006. “Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a missionary nurse and that desire continued,” Sikkema said. “I like helping them and encouraging them. And I like the relationships I build with diabetic students and chronic disease students and their families.” Sikkema and her family moved to the area in 1990 from Michigan to escape the cold and enjoy the warmer weather. When she arrived she worked at Huachuca Mountain Elementary School then moved to the Fort Huachuca Accommodation schools before moving to Carmichael. Sikkema said what she likes about Carmichael is that the staff is working toward a common goal. “I like working as a team with all the teachers and staff to bring structure to children’s lives,” she said. “And help them be productive members of the community.” Michelle Wambach, principal for Carmichael Elementary nominated Sikkema for the Golden Apple award because of her hard work and dedication

to the students and staff of Carmichael Elementary School. “Mrs. Sikkema is one of the finest nurses I have had the pleasure to work with,” Wambach wrote in her nomination of Sikkema. “I am always at ease when she is on campus because no matter what emergency arises she stays calm, cool, and collected.” Sikkema began her nursing career in medical and psychiatric nursing. She then decided to become a school nurse when her two sons started school because she wanted to be on the same schedule as them. Sikkema said what she likes about working at Carmicheal and in schools is that the relationships she forms with students continues after they leave the school building and in the community. In addition to serving as the nurse, Sikkema goes into the classroom and teaches hand washing, puberty and dental care to the students. She also administer vision, hearing and scoliosis screenings. “It’s a great honor because I work with a lot of qualified and wonderful staff who deserve this,” Sikkema said about being chosen as a Golden Apple. “It means a lot to be recognized and be in the same category with staff I respect.”

Golden Apple Nomination Name: Bonnie Sikkema School: Carmichael Elementary School Job: School nurse Nominated by: Michelle Wambach


Terry Kimbley



Golden Apple Nomination Name: Terry Kimbley School: Buena High School Job: Culinary Arts Instructor Nominated by: Wesley Wood and Adam Steiner

ive years of teaching has taught Terry Kimbley that he should have been in the career long before he started at Buena High School. “I should have been teaching my entire life,” he said. “When you’re doing something you love you don’t have bad days.” Kimbley, who graduated from Buena in 1990, returned to the high school as a culinary arts teacher after being persuaded by Sarah Avalos, who is also a culinary arts teacher at the school. Kimbley teaches the introductory culinary arts classes and had roughly 125 students this year in his classes. “I like giving them something new that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives,” he said. “(Cooking) is a life skill everybody should use.” Most of Kimbley’s culinary background comes from working in restaurants for 20 years. He said he started as a bartender and moved his way up through the ranks before becoming the director of marketing for a food and beverage firm in Los Angeles. He moved back to Sierra Vista to take care of his parents and worked for the City of Sierra Vista before transferring to the high school. “I wanted to nominate him because being in CTE I know how hard it is being a specialist with an industry and becoming a teacher,” Wesley Wood said. “Mr. Kimbley has done that seamlessly and takes the teaching profession very seriously.” Kimbley says his favorite part of his job is the connections and impact he can have on his students, whether it’s teaching them something they will use years from now or helping a student during a tough day. “In some way I’ve been teaching my whole life,” he said. “Just not in a formal setting like I am now.” Kimbley’s passion for teaching isn’t lost on Adam Steiner, the CTE director and an assistant principal at Buena. “Terry has a love and passion for learning that he imparts to his students every, single day,” Steiner wrote in his nomination of Kimbley. “His leadership qualities are exemplary in and out of the classroom.”



irsten Zamora’s passion for art and inspiring her students is evident when walking into her eight grade classroom at Joyce Clark Middle School. From a hand-drawn treehouse “with incredible detail” to “excellent expressionist portrait paintings, prints and chalk pastel pictures,” the many works on display show “just one example of the many excellent activities she creates for her students,” said Golden Apple nominator Roger Hill. Zamora is a favorite of the students on campus, with her name often being mentioned when pupils are asked their favorite teachers, Hill said. Her classroom atmosphere is always “upbeat and positive,” he added. Although the life of an instructor is often hectic and busy, “she is always prepared to teach” and her lessons are designed to help students meet state standards, Hill said. “There are excellent projects students enjoy and are successful completing,” he said. “Students at all skill levels are successful and enjoy her class.”


Kirsten Zamora Golden Apple Nomination Name: Kirsten Zamora School: Joyce Clark Middle School Teaches: 8th grade art Nominated by: Roger Hill

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ith pride and patience, Amneris Perez loves her work with special needs children. This paraprofessional at Colonel Smith Middle School on Fort Huachuca is studying to earn her teaching certificate and her work ethic has impressed her colleagues so much that one of them nominated Perez for the Herald/Review 2020 Golden Apple Award. “Amneris is totally committed to serving students and she goes above and beyond to perform her duties daily,” Jan Andreini-Camps and Lee Ann Howell wrote in their nomination of Perez. “She is one of the most dedicated and diligent employees you will ever meet. It is an honor to work with her.” Perez works with special needs students in the sixth through eighth grades at Colonel Smith, Andreini-Camps and Howell stated. She is a military spouse who daily sets high standards for the youngsters she works with, looking beyond their limitations and challenging them to do their best academically and socially. Her colleagues say Perez exudes pride when working with special needs students and while pushing them to be their best, she is also supportive and understanding when pupils seek her guidance, Andreini-Camps and Howell wrote. Because of the nature of her job, Perez has an ability to adapt to any given situation and improvise, her colleagues say. “She is cooperative and pleasant no matter what the situation,” Andreini-Camps and Howell said. “Amneris excels as a team player and models collaborative behavior on a regular basis. “She definitely ensures all students receive the best education,” Andreini-Camps and Howell said.




Amneris Perez

oanie Cowden loves helping her students learn the skills they need to get through life. “My job is very rewarding,” said Cowden, a Tombstone High School paraprofessional who works as the “Transition From School to Work” (TSW) specialist for special needs students. “One of my greatest rewards is when past students contact me to tell me how they’re doing. I’m always excited to hear from them and learn about their accomplishments after leaving high school.” Cowden was nominated for the Golden Apple Award by Tombstone High School Principal David Thursby, who describes her as a wonderful instructor who understands her students. “She is firm but fair, and helps students realize their vocational needs while setting goals,” Thursby said. “She doesn’t put up with sass or excuses, and expects everyone to give their best effort.” Thursby says it’s Cowden’s “can do” encouragement that helps her students believe in themselves as they strive to be as independent as possible in the real world. “Joanie works tirelessly with students, helping them learn job skills both at school and in the community of Tombstone. She has created job shadow opportunities for them that meet their interests and needs.” An 11-year Tombstone High School employee, Cowden started out as a bus driver, but soon stepped into the transition specialist position. “I still drive a bus when needed, but the transition specialist work is my main role.” Through the job shadow program that Cowden started, two students work at a convenience store in Tombstone where they stock shelves once a week. Other members of the class work with one of the high school’s janitors, cleaning the cafeteria. With the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic, Cowden said the students put a tremendous amount of extra

Golden Apple Nomination Name: Amneris Perez School: Colonel Smith Middle School Job: Paraprofessional Nominated by: Jan Andreini-Camps and Lee Ann Howell

Joanie Cowden effort into cleaning and sanitizing, and have been paying close attention to what is asked of them. “I’m very proud of all my students, and I’m grateful for the people in the community who work with our transition program to help these young people succeed.” Along with her roles as bus driver and transition specialist, Cowden also works as an academic coach after school to help athletes achieve a “C” grade so they can participate in extracurricular activities. “So, I’m the SPED (special education) paraprofessional and bus driver by day and academic coach after school,” Cowden said. “I thoroughly enjoy working with all the students and watching the successes they make as they work to achieve personal goals.” Praising Tombstone High School as “an excellent place to work,” Cowden said she is deeply honored that Thursby nominated her for the Golden Apple Award. As far as Thursby is concerned, the recognition is well deserved. “Tombstone High School is lucky to have someone as dedicated as Joanie on our staff,” he said. “She knows that all students are capable of learning, and she does a great job of figuring out how each student learns best.”

Golden Apple Nomination Name: Joanie Cowden School: Tombstone High School Job: Paraprofessional and Support Staff Nominated by: David Thursby


imothy Well is a upperclassmen teacher at Buena High School. He teaches 11th and 12th grade Government and US History at Buena High School. When notified about his selection Wells told the Herald/ Review “While I consider it an honor to receive a Golden Apple and be recognized as teacher, I typically decline to be placed in a position where my work is recognized above the outstanding work of my peers. If at all possible I would like to decline the award or be recognized in absentia. I wanted to make certain that I wasn’t taking away an opportunity of a student to recognize an educator who made a profound impact on their lives.” Buena High School Principal Kristen Hale nominated Wells for the award. This is what she said in her nomination of Wells. “Mr. Wells is dedicated to helping students become the best version of themselves through the work that he does on a daily basis. When students are asked about their time in Mr. Well’s class they smile and their response typically includes some sort of recognition for his respect for students and their beliefs. Mr. Wells is skillful in his ability to provoke thought from students and provide opportunities for healthy debate on the topics while keeping in mind alternate perspectives. In addition to the excellent Social Studies Lessons that take place in his classes he had created an environment that truly helps our upperclassmen gain valuable skills in communication and presentation. Mr. Wells celebrates individuality with respect for differing opinions and perspectives on life. Buena students, staff and administration are fortunate to have him on our team.”

Golden Apple Nomination Name: Timothy Wells School: Buena High School Subject: 11th and 12th - Government and US History



Timothy Wells



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I Golden Apple Nomination Name: Katrina Jansson School: Benson High School Job: English, Spanish and Leadership teacher, Student Council sponsor Nominated by: Marv Sorensen




Katrina Jannson

t’s “Spring Fling” at Benson High School. Amid the sea of Hawaiian-clad students, teacher Katrina Jansson is on the microphone, making announcements and directing traffic in the school gymnasium. The event rolls from one activity to another while students in grass skirts, leis and flowered shirts celebrate their last big hurrah before the start of spring break. Organized by Benson High School Student Council members, as the group’s sponsor Jansson works with the council students behind the scenes. “She does this along with teaching English, Spanish and leadership classes,” said Marv Sorensen, Benson High School Social Studies teacher who nominated Jansson as a Golden Apple Award candidate. “Katrina is an energetic, fun teacher and her students respect and appreciate her, not only as a teacher, but as someone who truly cares about them and their success.” When it comes to struggling students, Sorensen said that Jansson “goes the extra mile” to assist them. Describing her as a “top-notch” teacher, he praises Jansson as an inspiration to all her students. Jansson, who has worked at Benson High School for five years, says she loves teaching because it allows her to “open up the world to students by showing them the possibilities for their future.” In the Golden Apple nomination packet that Sorensen submitted, Jansson talks about what teaching means to her through the following quote. “Every day I enter my classroom I make it my goal to bring back the creativity and love of language that has disappeared into today’s society of immediate gratification,” she said. “I see it as my job to help students find their niche in the world and open up a new door to imagination and excitement within the classroom that provides students with a pathway to life-long learning. My students make me outstanding. Students have to have a buy-in to invest themselves.”

Efrain Galvez

t was in 2013 that Efrain Glavez coached his first basketball team through a summer program called Zona Sports. His team won the Zona playoffs that year and Galvez, at the time a 20-year-old Cochise College student, was hooked on coaching. Today, Galvez teaches physical education at Huachuca City School, coaches multiple sports for Tombstone Unified School District’s athletic programs at the middle school level, and serves as the district’s middle school athletic director. “Efrain is absolutely amazing,” said Jeanette Paz, Huachuca City School assistant principal and the person who nominated Galvez for the 2020 Golden Apple Award. “He’s young, driven and a huge advocate for kids. Efrain makes sports fun and kids really relate to him.” While Galvez admits that basketball is his passion, he loves all sports and coaches year ‘round, along with his role as PE teacher for children from kindergarten through eighthgrade. “I’ve been working for Huachuca City School five years now, and since that first year, I’ve taken on more responsibilities. I coach basketball, football, track and field, and for the first time this year, I’m the middle school athletic director. I go to a lot of the CAC (Cochise Athletic Conference) events and meetings where I work with other athletic directors from all over our conference.” While sports are Glavez’s passion, he also serves as an academic coach for students who need extra support in their classes. “Efrain emphasizes to the students that they are student-athletes, and academics must always come first,” Paz said. “He works closely

with teachers to ensure that students are doing their part in achieving state standards and remain eligible to participate in sports.” In his free time, Galvez coaches Huachuca City Thunder, a traveling basketball team for middle school boys from all over Cochise County, a program he started in 2016 with his younger brother, Orlando. Known for instilling sportsmanship among his players, Galvez also runs the Summer Splash program for the town of Huachuca City, which gives elementary school students a safe place to go during the summer months when school is not in session. “Through that program, he works tirelessly to provide fun, engaging, educational activities for our students through the summer,” Paz said. Galvez is the father of three young children, including a pair of infant twins and their older brother, Efrain junior. With sports as a family affair, the three youngsters and their mother, Celeste, are at every athletic event where she assists with scoring or is kept busy at the concession stand. “Efrain is truly dedicated to his students, but first and foremost, he is a family man,” Paz said. “I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for this award.” As for Galvez, the nomination comes as a “very unexpected surprise.” “To say that I love what I do is an understatement,” he said. “I’m especially honored about this nomination because it was so unexpected. You don’t really know that you’re doing a good job, or even think about it that much, and then something like this comes up. I’m truly humbled.”

Golden Apple Nomination Name: Efrain Galvez School: Huachuca City Elementary School Job: PE teacher, Middle School Athletic Director, Basketball, Football, Baseball and Track & Field Coach Nominated by: Jeanette Paz

Tammi Wilson



or 32 years, Tammi Wilson has dedicated her life to a career in teaching. Now she is not just a teacher, but a principal and school superintendent as well, at Double Adobe Elementary School. She started as a library aide and then worked as a Title I paraprofessional at Naco Elementary School. Work with role models found in Steve Young, Linda Marshall and Ruthe Thursby made her decide to get a degree. “University of Arizona South was relatively new and I was able to complete my degree in the evenings and continue to work in the day,” she explained. “I remember starting out, and on occasion still do, thinking ‘I get paid to do this?’ I stayed at Naco from August 1988 to May of 2011.” She obtained her degree while raising her two daughters. Next, she moved on to a position as a reading specialist in Bisbee and worked at both Lowell and Greenway Schools for three years, all the while obtaining her master’s degree Educational Administration. Then in 2014, she took the positions at Double Adobe School. “The job has changed over the past six years,” she explained. “The accountability and paperwork at each level has increased. The bonus is that I see the overall picture of how a school district runs as I am involved at every aspect: teaching/standards, testing, accountability, grants, budgeting, discipline, etc.” Though the school is small, just 37 students in grades K-6, she still has the same responsibilities of all the roles she fills at Double Adobe Elementary School. She hopes

Golden Apple Nomination Name: Tammi Wilson Age: 53 Family: Wayne, husband; Kyndra Ortiz, and Kylie (JJ) Wilson, daughters, and Emmy and Deegan, grandchildren.

to increase enrollment by adding full-day kindergarten classes in the fall. “Enrollment has declined, but it is reflective of the population loss in general, of Cochise County,” she said. Most satisfying to her “is seeing students gain confidence in their abilities and be successful human beings. I am a believer in treating children with respect and kindness. Investing in children results in an educational relationship that is win-win.” The hardest she says, “Though not an issue at Double Adobe, if I am being honest, is probably the increased class sizes, coupled with the increasing and changing performance demands placed on teachers. Politics and

unsupportive parents also impact teaching.” Her daughter writes in her nomination form: “I think she embodies the characteristic ‘promotes positive behaviors in and outside the classroom.’ At work, she demonstrates all the personalities that you want from an educator: kind, confident, authentic, responsible and understanding. She has lived her entire life with the awareness that young eyes are watching her.” Wilson is grateful for her family’s support and nomination. “I have many wonderful memories,” said Wilson. “I have been blessed to work with so many talented and generous people. I hope that I have made a difference.”

Education: Cochise College (Associates degree), University of Arizona (Bachelor of Arts Elementary Education), Grand Canyon University (Master of Education Administration).



Influential people at different stages of my life: mother and grandmother, high school English teacher Ms. Speed, professional mentor Patricia Marsh. Favorite Quote: “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”-A.A. Milne Nominated by: Her daughter

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