Cortez Colts Honored at Annual Awards Ceremony

Cortez Achievement Above All Recipients Recognized by GUHSD Governing Board
Posted on 12/20/2018
This is the image for the news article titled Cortez Achievement Above All Recipients Recognized by GUHSD Governing BoardDecember 2018 – Cortez High School Celebrated its best at the recent annual Achievement Above All awards ceremony on Dec. 19. One teacher, student, student group, support staff member and volunteer were honored for their contributions and ongoing commitment to the Cortez community. 

All of the honorees embody the values of Cortez which empowers all to be lifelong learners, excel academically, have character strength and be of service for others, said Cortez Principal Walt Sampson in his opening remarks. Additionally, he went on to individually recognize each recipient to the GUHSD Superintendent and Governing Board. 

Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient: 

Ashley Wickert is a Cortez graduate who returned to her home high school to teach math to current Colt students after receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She has taught at the school for the past 14 years and continues to make a difference in the Cortez community, Sampson said. 

“Beyond teaching, she has been the Title 1 coordinator for many years and has helped organize many events from summer school to starting Adult English Classes on the Cortez campus this year,” Sampson said. In addition, Ms. Wickert has also coached the varsity and junior varsity spiritline for the past 3 years where she arranges the team’s choreography and routines. 

Her dedication and commitment to the school has made Cortez a better place, Sampson said. “Cortez is truly a better place because of your devotion to success for the staff and students, and your willingness to do whatever is needed and whatever it takes,” he said.

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Achievement Above All Student Recipient:

Adriana Quintero Pacheco exemplifies the meaning of a Cortez student.

“In the classroom, she strives to challenge herself to perform and exceed expectations,” Sampson said. “Her enthusiasm for learning and focus on the mastering of material serves as an example for other students.”

In addition to being placed in the top one percent of her class, Adriana is a member of the Math Club, National Honor Society and has been involved with Student Council where she serves as the president. She has also received the foundation for the Teaching Economics Scholarship, which allowed her to attend the FTE Economics Camp at Yale University this past summer. 

Cortez Council Advisor, Omar Sultani, adds that Adriana is a hard-working student who is always focused on her academics, he said. “Over the years, I have witnessed her exceptional work ethic and leadership qualities as a student,” Sultani said. “She is a diligent worker who strives for perfection and will settle for nothing else.”

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Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient:

Colt Buddies, sponsored by Daniel Van Tienderen, fosters a culture of inclusion in campus life by establishing peer interaction and common experiences with students in the general and special education programs. 

With 68 students involved, Colt Buddies have hosted various activities such as hosting school dances and Special Olympics sport events, preparing holiday lunches and creating an inclusive campus culture during assemblies.

“Through all of these events and activities, Colt Buddies has influenced the Cortez community by enhancing the understanding and interaction of all students with or without a disability or difference,” Sampson said. 

Colt Buddies hopes to continually improve campus culture through daily interactions, creating sincere friendships and forming a campus full of mutual respect, said Van Tienderen. 

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Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient:

Kay Beauchamp has served as the Cortez school nurse for the past six years but is in her 19th year of school nursing. Over the years, she has built a strong rapport with the entire Cortez community.

“No matter what the problem, issue or concern, she meets everyone with a smile, gives them her full attention and makes them feel cared for,” Sampson said. 

Cortez Social Worker, Tish Jefferson, admires Kay for her passion in the medical field and making everyone on campus feel cared for. 

“It’s always a pleasure working with Nurse Kay, as she is passionate and is very well informed about the medical community,” Jefferson said. “The best trait Nurse Kay possesses is that she is reliable. It is great seeing her work with the special needs population, as she is compassionate towards them and always makes sure every need they have is met.”

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Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient:

Jennifer Kingery has been very active on the Cortez campus for the past two years, helping the swim team. 

She is committed to doing anything and everything she can to assist the swim team which includes working the concessions, ensuring athletes are prepared for upcoming events, raising tax donations and showing an immense amount of support to the swim team members.

“During almost every race she would be at the end of the swimming lane cheering on for the Cortez athletes,” Swim Coach Martinez said.

In addition to her volunteer work with the Cortez Swim Team, Jennifer frequently visits the Desert Food Mission Food Bank to help give back to those in need. She also works at Thunderbird High School where she dedicates her time in the SIP Department.

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Congratulations to all 2018-2019 Cortez Achievement Above All recipients. We are grateful for your contributions to Cortez High School and the Glendale Union High School District community.

Our Schools. Our Community. Our Commitment. #WeAreGUHSD