Greenway Achievement Above All Recipients Honored

Governing Board Honors GHS Achievers
Posted on 03/04/2016
Volleyball team

March 2016 – The Glendale Union High School District Governing Board honored Greenway High School’s Achievement Above All recipients on March 2. The special event recognizes distinguished members of Greenway, including volunteers, teachers, support staff, students and student groups.

Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient:

Being the Physical Education Department Chair at Greenway means more than an understanding of sports and physical fitness, said Achievement Above All Teacher recipient Heather McDonald.

“I love teaching students about the body. Different ways to exercise, different muscles and their purpose for the body; but my favorite muscle to teach is the heart,” she said.

For her, “heart” is an acronym for honesty, enthusiasm, attitude, respectful and teamwork.

“This ‘heart’ can be so much more important in life than any other muscle or exercise that I could ever teach,” she said.

Ms. McDonald has coached for the district for more than 15 years, is Greenway’s badminton coach, an AIA basketball official and an official at the Junior Level as well. She has been awarded the section coach of the year award twice and held the state championship title for badminton in 2006.

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Achievement Above All Student Recipient:

Student of the Year, Matthew Barnes, is a Greenway student by choice, he said.

His parents were Greenway graduates, as well as members of his extended family, but his real reason for becoming a Demon extended beyond his family tree.

“What began as an intent to be a part of tradition, soon took a backseat to the opportunities and impacts the Greenway community has made in my life,” he said. “That is what has driven me to become a Greenway Demon, which I will always be proud of.”

Mr. Barnes was elected by his peers to serve as the senior class president, is a member of National Honor Society, a LINK leader, president of the literacy club, treasurer and counselor for Unitown and has competed on the football, wrestling, swim and dive and track and field programs.

“Matt is probably one of the biggest goofballs at Greenway but that is what makes him such a stand out kid, said Jenn Fowler, the Literacy coach. “His outgoing personality has led him to leadership roles throughout campus, but it helping organize events for the literacy club or getting the students pumped at an assembly.”

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Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient:

Greenway’s volleyball team had an exceptional year. The girls’ season included a 40-1 record; three invitational tournament wins; four players named to first team all division; three players named first team all section and one player named first team all state. Additionally, they produced district player of the year, district coaching staff of the year, the section player of the year, the section coach of the year and the small schools player of the year. MaxPreps ranked their season 39th – in the nation.

Those stats are impressive, but team co-captain Sadie Anderson said the credit goes to the teachers and coaches who have supported them since day one. The team is coached by Sarah Peterson.

“Many people don’t realize how much effort and time our coaches put into building character, leadership and team bonding, which begins at our summer retreat and is continued throughout the season,” she said. “Of course, we have six practices weekly, and our coaches push us to be the best players we can be, but they also care about how we are as individuals and students of Greenway.” 

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Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient:

Ron Kordonowy has been an integral part of the Greenway support staff for more than 26 years. He began in 1990 and split his time between Greenway and Moon Valley High School, where he served as an athletic trainer.

“Ron takes care of hundreds of kids each and every day making sure they are safe and well cared for,” said Jeff Feldman, the Operations and Resources Administrator for the campus.

He has seen the profession change from one where the majority of his time was on taping athletes and accessing overall fitness to a comprehensive education.

“Now, not only are we providing baseline concussion testing to every freshman, rehabilitating athletic injuries, training our coaches in CPR, as well as providing the much needed health care for our athletes at our schools daily,” Mr. Kordonwy said.

He even began a Student Athletic Trainer program for teens interested in the field to work in the training room and at sporting events to gain practical experience.

His work and dedication to his trade were recognized this year on a state-wide level. He was awarded the Earl Puttman Excellence in Sports Medicine Award and was recognized as the AIA Athletic Trainer of the Year.

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Achievement Above All Parent/Volunteer Recipient:

The volunteer of the year recipient can often be seen behind the lens of a camera. Ed Naujokaitis volunteers as a photographer for sporting events.

Mr. Naujokaitis and his wife, Rose, are former Greenway parents who were very involved on the campus. A love for taking pictures of his own children led Mr. Naujokaitis to extend his talents to other Greenway athletes.

“What started out as a passion for his children, quickly grew to where now, Ed can be seen taking pictures of Greenway student athletes at a number of school events and competitions,” Principal Ed Barnes said.

His “hobby” gives him an opportunity to decompress from a hard day’s work as a business administrator for Honeywell, he said.

Congratulations to all Greenway Achievement Above All recipients! We’re proud of your accomplishments and the commitment you have to the Greenway community!

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Please enjoy this highlight video from the evening’s presentation.