Independence Achievement Above All Recipients Honored

Governing Board Honors IHS Achievers
Posted on 04/07/2016
Support Staff

April 2016 – The Glendale Union High School District Governing Board honored Independence High School’s Achievement Above All recipients on April 7. The special event recognizes distinguished members of Independence, including volunteers, teachers, support staff, students and student groups.

Principal Rob Ambrose spoke about the dedication and pride of each of these individuals who contribute to the success of Independence.

Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient:

Rex Foster has been a teacher at Independence for nine years and educates more than 170 students in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) program. His involvement and leadership on the campus has been a vital part of what makes Independence great, Ambrose said.

“He is described by his colleagues as one of the most pleasant and positive teachers on our campus,” he said. “He is kind to everyone but runs a strong program where students respect him. He was so committed to making his relay team successful that he began running with the kids on the cross country team to help motivate his students. Rex ran miles every day with those kids and now he is proud to claim that his NJROTC relay team is the current holder of the traveling trophy for first place.”

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Achievement Above All Student Recipient:

Social Studies teacher Matt Blankenship said senior Cristina Oregel is completely worthy of receiving the Achievement Above All Student award.

“She best exemplifies the qualities of what a high-achiever should strive to be,” he said. “She is both hard-working and a deep-thinker who is able to problem-solve and come up with solutions in an efficient and timely manner. Cristina makes other students and classrooms better and Independence is lucky to have her.”

Cristina has been involved with the peer tutoring program for two years and also helps students participate in the Special Olympics program. Additionally, she is a three-sport athlete, competing in volleyball, soccer and tennis.

Upon graduating from Independence, Cristina will attend Northern Arizona University and pursue a career where she can continue to help others.

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Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient:

The Varsity Girls Soccer team has earned a multitude of accomplishments, including making it to the state championship playoffs for three consecutive years. The local and state girls’ soccer player of the year is a member of the team and the coaches have been named coaching staff of the year for the last three years in a row as well. Members of the team are very involved on the campus and are proud to contribute positively to the Independence culture, all while maintaining good grades, Ambrose said.

The 46 team members are coached by Michelle Monaghan, Curtis Morgan and Chris Millett.

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Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient:

Jose Brambila began working for Independence 11 years ago as a member of the custodial staff and he is now the foreman of the maintenance department. His “can do” attitude and positive outlook led to his earning the Achievement Above All Support Staff recognition.

“He has an extremely positive attitude toward his job and is influential in helping others become motivated to get things done on our campus,” Ambrose said. “He is eager to make sure that the campus is running efficiently and he sees to it that all events are set up and ready whenever we have guests at Independence.”

No job is too little or too big to capture his utmost attention to detail.

“He leads his crew by example, never shying away from getting involved in any task no matter how big or small or disgusting it may sometimes be,” Ambrose said. “His positive leadership has had an impact on not only his team, but the entire campus.”

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Achievement Above All Parent/Volunteer Recipient:

Ramiro and Laura Andrade volunteer with the volleyball team, even going so far as to coach the athletes when necessary.

“The Andrades have stepped up and become the team parents without even being asked,” Coach Michelle Monaghan said. “In the summer, we play in a league and the coaches were not going to be able to be at a game. Mrs. Andrade offered to coach because she did not want the girls to miss out.”

Their volunteer actions include looking out not only for the team, but for the coaches, too.

“Most importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Andrade make sure the coaches have their coffee so that they can function properly as coaches,” she said. “They are an amazing family that is always willing to help out.”

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

Please enjoy this highlight video from the evening.