Sunnyslope Vikings Honored at Virtual Event

Sunnyslope High School Honors Vikings at Virtual Event
Posted on 03/04/2021
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March 2021- Glendale Union High School District’s Achievement Above All events continued with a virtual celebration for Sunnyslope High School’s 2020-2021 recipients. In recognition of their accomplishments and service, the GUHSD Governing Board honored the teacher, student, student group, support staff employee and volunteer of the year during a virtual meeting on March 3. Sunnyslope Principal Jonathan Parker presented during the virtual meeting to share more about the recipients and their achievements.

Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient: Kimberly Celaya

Kimberly Celaya is one of the district’s own, having graduated from Moon Valley. After graduation, Mrs. Celaya served as a Title 1 Aide at Moon Valley for seven years. Now, she teaches in Sunnyslope’s Community-Based Self-Contained program. 

Mrs. Celaya finds joy in setting goals unique to the needs of each student, then assisting each student in reaching his/her unique goal. 

Sunnyslope Counselor Johnny Frias says, “Having worked with Mrs. Celaya closely, I can tell you that she does everything possible to make sure the students in her Community-Based classroom are prepared for life after high school. She is firm, yet loving with her kids. All her students know that they are welcome and safe in her classroom. Mrs. Celaya is a joy to work with, and someone I aspire to emulate in the classroom setting.”

When Mrs. Celaya is not in the classroom, you can find her crocheting or reading a book. 

Achievement Above All Student Recipient: Angela Maria Santana Torres

Angela Maria Santana Torres has distinguished herself with a stellar academic performance during her time at Sunnyslope High School. 

In addition to taking rigorous courses, Santana Torres is an accomplished athlete. She is a two-time State Champion Volleyball player and the captain of the team. Santana Torres is also an inaugural member of the Beach Volleyball program at Sunnyslope. She performs with Advanced Dance and serves as a partner athlete with Sunnyslope’s Unified Sports team. 

Santana Torres participates in Student Council and Spanish Honor Society. Sunnyslope Spanish Teacher Justine Simon says, “As an active member of the Spanish Honor Society, she has taken the program to new heights.” Ms. Simon continued to say, “When Angela first offered to translate a teacher’s syllabus to make it more accessible to parents, we realized that we could offer this service to all faculty and staff.”

When speaking about Santana Torres Sunnyslope’s Social Worker Sheila Yoder says, “Angela is light. Her academics and behavior are wonderful, but from day one, it was her character, her positive and grounded spirit, and especially her heart for others that shined so brightly.  Angela’s authenticity draws people to her.  She is a delight!.” 

Santana Torres plans to further her education and earn her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry. 

Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient: Key Club (Sponsor Michelle Schwimmer)

Sunnyslope’s Key Club, sponsored by Michelle Schwimmer, consists of 32 members. The purpose of the group is community service. Sunnyslope Principal Jonathan Parker says, “Whenever any other clubs on campus initiates a meaningful service or community project, they typically begin by enlisting the support of the Sunnyslope Key Club.”

Key Club participates in a lot of community service projects including Borderland Produce, Adopt a Family, Food Drives, House of Refugees and so much more. Key Club still found ways to help the community in the midst of COVID-19 this school year. 

Sunnyslope Math Teacher Paul Dong says, “The work they do day in and out is next to none. They are simply dedicated humans that will volunteer as if volunteering was a profession.”

Sunnyslope Spanish Teacher Justine Simon added, “Key Club and Ms. Schwimmer take care of all of us and the community. Whenever another group does a service project, they step in to help. They often fly under the radar, as the group and teacher sponsor tend to not seek attention. They do phenomenal work, and the students grow into leaders.”

Key Club continues to support the Sunnyslope community and beyond. 

Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient: Tom Harms

Tom Harms is also one of the district’s own, having graduated from Apollo High School. After graduation, Mr. Harms earned a degree from Ottawa University. Now, he has been a Title 1 Instructional Assistant at Sunnyslope High School since 2008.

During his time in the Glendale Union High School District, Mr. Harm has coached football at Sunnyslope, Moon Valley, Cortez and Glendale. He has also coached basketball for the past nine years and baseball for the past four years at Sunnyslope. 

Sunnyslope Principal Jonathan Parker says, “Throughout the past calendar year, whenever we have needed someone to sub in the Safe Space, to help with textbook or chromebook distribution, to oversee Distance Learning or the Viking Center, Tom was there every time we asked.”

Title I Coordinator Nikki Calandra added, “Tom is the very definition of a team player. Without hesitation, he does what is best for students and Sunnyslope, every single day. I can count on him for anything.” 

Mr. Harms’ future goal is to have a classroom of his own teaching History. 

Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient: Christy Bacon

Christy Bacon first began volunteering at Sunnyslope High School in 2014. Since then she has become a dependable fixture at Sunnyslope, according to Principal Jonathan Parker. 

Ms. Bacon has been instrumental in organizing events such as Homecoming, Staff Winter Luncheons, Teacher Appreciation Week and the Underclassmen Honors and Awards Luncheon. For all of these events, she arrives early to set up and stays late to tear down. You can also find Ms. Bacon selling spirit wear at registration, Open House, Future Freshman Night or football games.

Longtime Viking Parent Club co-collaborator and current Athletic Secretary Kathie Nunn says “Christy does an amazing job with her creativity, organization, and the huge commitment it takes.  Volunteering isn't about time, it's about heart and Christy's heartfelt commitment shows every time she volunteers.”

Ms. Bacon says volunteering makes her happy!

When Ms. Bacon is not volunteering at Sunnyslope, she enjoys biking, hiking and scavenger hunt races.

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

Excellence: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow #WeAreGUHSD