Sunnyslope Achievement Above All Recipients Honored

Governing Board Honors SHS Achievers
Posted on 10/21/2016
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October 2016 – The Glendale Union High School District’s annual Achievement Above All recognitions began this year with Sunnyslope. A teacher, student, support staff person, student group and volunteer were honored Oct. 19 at the Governing Board meeting.

The event recognizes the dedication, service, skills and contributions these individuals and groups have made to Sunnyslope.

Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient:

Sarah Stahlbush has been a part of the Sunnyslope community since she attended and graduated from the high school. After graduating from Arizona State University, where she studied communication and Spanish, Mrs. Stahlbush, joined as a faculty member in 2001. She is now the foreign language department chair and teaches Advanced Placement Spanish. Last year, 100 percent of her 89 Advanced Placement Spanish students took and passed the AP Spanish exam.

Longtime friend and colleague Kim Baron had these remarks to say of Mrs. Stahlbush: “She has a profound knowledge of her content, an exemplary understanding of instructional practices that engage all learns, and the perfect mix of humor, enthusiasm and genuine love for her students. These qualities, along with innumerable other positive traits, make Sarah a kid-magnet.”

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Achievement Above All Student Recipient:

Sunnyslope’s Student of the Year award went to senior Jake Dean. Mr. Dean is currently in the running to be a National Merit Finalist and has aspirations of receiving a doctorate degree in an astronomy-related field such as astrophysics or astrobiology and work in scientific research. During his four years at Sunnyslope, Mr. Dean has taken a total of 12 advanced placement courses and he is in the top 1 percent of his class with a weighted GPA of 5.3775.

He has been a National Champion in Congressional Debate and the recipient of the National Student Congress House Leadership Bowl. He is a three-year varsity athlete in cross country and track and field and was a cross country state qualifier in 2014.

Heather Butler is Mr. Dean’s Speech and Debate coach and she had this to say: “Jake truly is one of the most extraordinary students and individuals I have encountered. He is inspiring, highly motivated, extremely astute and dedicated to bettering himself and the world around him. Jake’s love for life inspires many and as he continues to grow and learn, he also continues to cultivate a strong reputation based on dedication, compassion and a drive to make a difference.”

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Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient:

The Air Force Junior ROTC program is a 113 members strong and cadets are motivated and dedicated to service above self. It was chosen as the Student Group of the Year and is sponsored by Dave Brosius and Vyron McCraw.

The mission of the Air Force Junior ROTC is to develop citizens of character, develop personal responsibility and instill a sense of accomplishment. The Academic Team has earned trips to the national competition in Washington, D.C. for two consecutive years and on both occasions finished second in the nation. The Air Rifle team consistently produces national qualifiers and the Color Guard is highly sought after on campus and throughout the Sunnyslope community.

Tim Matteson, Assistant Principal of Operations and Resources, said, “Their logistical support with every major event on campus has been invaluable; providing support with activities from registration to graduation, and everything in between. This group has made us all proud with their national accomplishments, but even more so with the local duties they perform on our campus each and every day.”

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Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient:

Firas Werdy is a campus technology assistant at Sunnyslope and was awarded the Support Staff Employee  of the Year award.

After working for the United Nations World Food Program for 15 years, Mr. Werdy worked for Mercy Corps and in 2012 worked for the U.S. Consulate in KirKuk, Iraq. He moved to the United States two years later and was hired at Sunnyslope as an instructional aide in the ELL Department. He also worked in the Title 1 program before being hired into his current role, where his talents in mathematics and computer science have been well utilized.

“Nobody is more deserving of this award than Firas, although he will try to deny it,” said Pandy Linnartz, a colleague in the Title 1 program. “He is humble and modest. He is dependable, responsible, incredibly hard working and always happy. I consider him a friend and am so happy his skills, talents and ‘excellence in all he does’ are being recognized.”

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Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient:

The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Jamie Cunningham, who is also a graduate of Sunnyslope High School and has children who also attend.

She began volunteering about 15 years ago when her oldest son, Josh, was a freshman on campus and involved in extra-curricular activities. She found herself supporting football, basketball, banquets, award ceremonies, teacher appreciation events and more. Her volunteering capacities now include feeding a healthy and hearty meal to the football team on Thursdays and helping out with summer registration, and graduation.

“Involved, passionate, unselfish and dedicated to making our school and community better – that’s Jamie Cunningham,” said varsity football coach Damon Pieri.

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Thank you and congratulations to each of the Achievement Above All recipients. We are grateful for your contributions to Sunnyslope High School and the Glendale Union High School District community.

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