Cortez Colts Honored at Governing Board Meeting

Cortez High School's Achievement Above All Recipients Honored at Governing Board Meeting
Posted on 10/22/2021
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October 2021- Glendale Union High School District’s Governing Board honored Cortez High School’s Achievement Above All recipients, including Teacher of the Year, Student of the Year, Student Group of the Year, Support Staff of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year during Wednesday’s meeting. Principal Brooke Parsons spoke about all recipients as well as presented them with a certificate or award for their achievements.

Billie Lamkin, Read 180 and Sophomore English teacher, is Cortez High School’s Teacher of the Year. Ms. Lamkin first started her teaching career in Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University. She then relocated to Arizona, where she obtained her Masters of Curriculum and Instruction at Arizona State University. Although Ms. Lamkin has only been with the district for three years, she is on her way to a successful career at Cortez High School, according to Cortez Principal Brooke Parsons.

When asked about teaching at Cortez, Ms. Lamkin said, “Every day over the span of my career has been a different day. The students bring different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, so it adds to the diversity of our classroom. The students teach me just as much as I teach them.”

Billie Lamkin

Cortez High School Senior Luis Andrade can be described as having a heart of gold that shines through his service, compassion, and smile, according to his former teacher Mrs. Starchman. Andrade is heavily involved in campus activities including, the National Honors Society, Student Council Treasurer, member of Health Occupation Students of American, and President of Future Business Leaders of America. Andrade participates in all of these activities while still maintaining a weighted GPA of 5.0. He is academically ranked in the top 1% of his class as well as this year’s Student of the Year.

Andrade says his goals and plans for the future are to attend Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University to study Biophysics and Forensics.

Luis Andrade

Student Council, one of the most active and influential groups on Cortez High School’s campus, is Cortez’s Student Group of the Year. Cortez’s Student Council is made up of 29 student leaders led by Omar Sultani. Cortez teacher Mr. Kevin Starchman expressed his admiration for Student Council members by saying, “Their commitment to their school, classmates, and community has been guided by positive and caring leadership.”

Every officer elected must take a leadership class. After speaking with the group sponsor, Omar Sultani, he had this to say about the class, “ Students utilize the time to plan, organize, and coordinate activities such as Homecoming, Prom, school assemblies, spirit weeks, various fundraisers, and community service projects.”

Student Council

No stranger to Cortez High School, Don Hestand is Cortez’s Support Staff of the Year. Mr. Hestand is going into his thirteenth year working at Cortez High School. However, this comes after many years of being enlisted in the Marine Corps, working for Nestle Chocolate, a wine producer, and a window company. Principal Brooke Parsons says, “Don is a very compassionate person who not just cares about the school but cares about the individuals that make up Cortez High School.”

When asked about his goals and plans for the future, Hestand said, “Spend more quality time with parents and care for parents. Preparing to relocate in a couple of years. Finally to enjoy the rest of our lives around family and friends on the water’s edge.”

Don Hestand

A mother of five boys with two Cortez High School alums, one current senior, and two future Colts, makes Nola Dewey the perfect candidate for Cortez’s Volunteer of the Year. Ms. Dewey can be seen around campus in numerous ways. She is part of Booster Club and Cortez’s Site Council where she raises money and informs the school of community activities. Principal Brooke Parsons says, “The genuine support she gives and continues to give the Cortez community is commendable and appreciated.”

After her many years of volunteering, Nola Dewey says it is important for her to volunteer because she wants to set a good example for her children so they can become compassionate, helpful, and productive members of society.

Nola Dewey

Congratulations to all 2021-2022 Cortez High School Achievement Above All recipients!