Moon Valley High School Rockets Honored

GUHSD Governing Board Highlights Moon Valley 2020-2021 Achievement Above All Receipients
Posted on 02/18/2021
Moon Valley ThumbnailFebruay 18, 2021- Excellence continues at Glendale Union High School District as the GUHSD Governing Board honored the recipients at Moon Valley High School’s 2020-2021 Achievement Above All event. During the governing board's recent virtual meeting on Wednesday, February 17, the teacher, student, student group, support staff member and volunteer of the year were recognized for their accomplishments and service to Moon Valley. Principal Anat Sayler kicked off the virtual event introducing each recipient to the governing board to share about their individual achievements.

Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient: Jennifer Metheny-Koch

Jennifer Metheny-Koch is one of the district’s own, having graduated from Sunnyslope. After graduation, she went on to attend Wayne State College and Arizona State University for her undergraduate degree and then received her masters from Northern Arizona University.

Now, Mrs. Metheny-Koch teaches Pre-Calculus and AP Statistics and is Moon Valley’s current math department chair. Throughout her teaching career, Mrs. Metheny-Koch has coached swim, soccer, cross country, track and also been a Student Council advisor.

Mrs. Metheny-Koch can be described as “easy to talk to” and makes you feel “like you matter”, according to one of her colleagues.

Dawn Harman, Moon Valley’s media center director, says, “Jen Metheny has a passion and ability to help students learn in any environment. She makes learning math fun and engaging for all her students. Several of her past students have become math teachers because of her inspiration.” One of Mrs. Metheny-Koch’s former students, Taylor Dunn, is a first-year math teacher at Moon Valley. 

When Mrs. Metheny-Koch is not on campus, you can find her hiking, baking or leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop.

Achievement Above All Student Recipient: David Acosta Gomez

Immigrating at the age of nine, David Acosta Gomez learned English in just one year. David began taking advanced classes in middle school and still continues at Moon Valley. He has already completed five AP courses. He also has never earned anything lower than an A and is number one in his class.  

Outside of the classroom, David is involved in swimming, tennis and theater. His Swim Coach Jennifer Ziance says, “You will hear that he is a natural leader, driven, and humble, and he is all these things; but the side he loves to show off is his prankster side. He constantly wants to make others laugh and enjoy life, so whether at practice, club rehearsals or in class, he will make sure you are having fun wherever you are.”

After high school, David wants to attend college to study biochemistry or biomedical science to eventually pursue a career as a pediatrician.

Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient: Journalism

Moon Valley’s Journalism class is made up of 25 students and is also known as Rocket Reporters. The purpose of the student group is to serve the Moon Valley campus through the newspaper, the Rocket Reporter. Students strive to provide a fair and accurate reporting of the news by making the readers aware of important changes coming to campus and the community.

Over the past 16 years, Moon Valley Journalism has won a variety of both local and national awards including 2nd place for General Excellence in Newspaper Reporting and Design last school year. 
Rocket Reporters have spent over 1,000 hours in producing the news over the years. Last year, Rocket Reporters produced their first ever digital edition due to COVID-19.

Moon Valley’s Assistant Principal for Student Services, Amy Di Meola, has this to say about Journalism, “Every interaction I’ve had with any Rocket Reporter has been professional and inspiring. Whether or not they choose journalism as a career, their communication skills are always impressive and will serve them well in whatever they pursue.”

The Rocket Reporters look forward to attending the virtual national convention with the Scholastic Press Law Center to learn how to be better citizens of the news. 

Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient: Pamela Hansen

Pamela Hansen has been a part of the Rocket community for the past eight years as a Paraprofessional. Pamela is one of those employees that teachers fight over because they all want her assigned to their classroom. 

Coworkers describe Pamela as hardworking. Not only does she log on to her classes during virtual learning, but also assists in the Safe Space with students. 

Moon Valley’s Media Center Director, Dawn Harman, who has worked in the Safe Space with Pamela since it opened says, “Pam Hansen's positivity, caring nature, and fun personality make her great at her job. Her work ethic and desire for student success is at the core of who she is as a person.”

In her spare time, Pamela enjoys reading, hiking, yoga and knitting. She looks forward to traveling to the Northeastern United States sometime in the future. 

Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient: Vanessa Smith

Vanessa Smith is a Moon Valley Rocket at heart. Moon Valley pride runs deep in Vanessa’s family from her mom to her siblings. Even her son will be an alum come this spring. 

She is actively volunteering at her former high school and giving back to the students. Vanessa serves as the Band Booster President, Rocket Booster Secretary and the music library organizer. You can see her at each football game selling 50/50 raffle tickets and helping the marching band. 

Music has always been Vanessa’s passion. Recently, she graduated from Grand Canyon University with a degree in Music Education. She also had an incredible experience playing in the pep band while attending there.
When asked about her most memorable experience while volunteering, Vanessa described her time reorganizing the music library in the band room. 

Moon Valley’s Band Director, Eric Zimmerman, recounts the time they spent together saying, “The first parent I met at Moon Valley was Vanessa Smith. She was in the band room creating an inventory of the instruments. I am not sure who asked her to do this monumental job, but there she was checking every instrument and creating a spreadsheet that I still use.”

Vanessa says she wants to show her true appreciation for an amazing school and district.

Congratulations to Moon Valley High School’s 2020-2021 Achievement Above All recipients!

Excellence: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow #WeAreGUHSD