Governing Board Highlights Cortez Colts

Cortez Achievement Above All 2019-2020 Recipients Awarded at Annual Event
Posted on 11/07/2019
Pam Reicks and Katy GrieppNovember 2019 – The Glendale Union High School District Governing Board formally recognized a handful of Cortez High School Achievement Above All recipients for their outstanding leadership and exceptional accomplishments at the board meeting on Nov. 6. Cortez High School Principal Walter Sampson also attended the board meeting to provide kind remarks about each recipient.  

“All of these honorees embody the values of Cortez empowering all to be lifelong learners, academic excellence, strength of character and service for others,” Sampson said. 



Cortez Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient: Katy Griepp

Mrs. Griepp has worked at GUHSD for the past 11 years and currently teaches AP Calculus and Algebra 1. With a well-rounded history in the district, she has taught at a few other GUHSD schools including Apollo and Washington. 

As a double major in college, Mrs. Griepp attended the University of Washington and earned her bachelor’s degree in math and history. She also achieved a master’s degree in education from the same university. 

In addition to teaching at Cortez, Mrs. Griepp teaches evening math courses at Glendale Community College because of her passion for educating students.

“I have always believed that education is the greatest equalizer in society,” Griepp said. “I love to help students to recognize their potential.”

Cortez Principal Walter Sampson also acknowledged Mrs. Griepp for her determination and commitment to success.

“Cortez is truly a better place because of your devotion to success for the staff and students, and willingness to do whatever is needed and whatever it takes,” Sampson said. 

Pam Reicks & Katy Griepp Katy Griepp











Cortez Achievement Above All Student Recipient: Brian Pham

Brian Pham is a senior at Cortez and an excellent student in academics and extracurricular activities on campus, which has placed him in the top one percent of his class. He is the Cortez National Honor Society President and Student Council Officer, and is involved in the math club and link crew. 

“Brian exemplifies what a student at Cortez is,” Sampson said. “In the classroom, he strives to challenge himself to perform and exceed expectations. His enthusiasm for learning and focus on the mastering of material, serves as an example for other students.”

Brian’s AP Calculus Teacher Katy Griepp also boasts about his academic excellence and passion to succeed. 

“Brian is one of the most contentious students,” Griepp said. “He does his best at everything with a smile while balancing all his activities and classes.”

After he graduates high school, Brian plans to attend college to earn his bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and then follow the premedical route to become a doctor. 

Andrew Pulcipher & Brian Pham Brian Pham











Cortez Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient: Film & TV

With 23 members and growing, the Cortez High School Film & TV Club serves multiple purposes on campus. Some responsibilities include delivering announcements via live video to classrooms, and recording school concerts and dance shows for the performing arts department. 

In addition to those activities, the Cortez Film & TV Club also participates in district, regional and state competitions. 

Last school year, the club took fourth place in the regional broadcast competition for Region 5 of State Skills USA, which qualified the team to compete at state where they finished in ninth place. 

They also won several awards at the annual GUHSD Film Festival taking first place in animation, and third place awards for news intros and commercials. 

Despite being the last school to receive the film and TV program, Cortez students have shown a strong desire to learn, grow and do whatever it takes to make the program better each year.

“In the future, the club plans to live produce the assemblies so students sitting far can see the action on the big screen,” Cortez Film & TV Club Sponsor Eric Chapman said. “Additionally, the club wants to put on a local festival night for beginning classes to show off their work to friends and family.”

Patti Hussey & Cortez Film and TV Club Cortez Film & TV











Cortez Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient: Debbie Le Clair

Debbie Le Clair has a rich history with the district, as she is an Apollo High School graduate and has worked within GUHSD for over 25 years. 

She began her career at Glendale High School as the operations and resources secretary before transferring to Cortez as the counseling secretary. For the past 20 years, she has severed as the administrative assistant to the principal at Cortez. 

On campus, she also enjoys helping students and works as the assistant football coach, assistant wrestling coach and the girls wrestling coach.

“I have truly enjoyed being able to work with the students on our campus in an extracurricular setting, and have been blessed to be a part of so many of their lives after high school,” Le Clair said.

Principal Walter Sampson also provided kind remarks about Debbie’s relationship with the Cortez community. 

“In the time she has been at Cortez, she has developed a strong rapport with the entire Cortez community,” Sampson said. “No matter what the problem, issue or concern, Debbie is there ready to assist, listen, and suggest.”

Apart from helping students and staff on campus, Debbie enjoys several activities in her free time including photography, camping, spending time with her grandchildren and volunteering. 

Patty Kennedy & Debbie Le Clair Debbie Le Clair











Cortez Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient: Luis Lopez

Luis has played a key role in helping students, faculty and staff at Cortez by ensuring they can properly see. If someone on campus needs assistance with their broken eyeglass frames, Luis will immediately come by to help repair them.

He enjoys being able to fix students’ glasses because of their positive reactions once they realize they can once again see the classroom board without any problems. 

“It is important for the kids to be able to have the basic ability to see so that they can learn, and it is important to my wife that her students have a basic need met,” Lopez said.

Luis also volunteers at the Cortez Class Club’s car washes and annual Trunk or Treat Community Event. Whether he is instrumental in setting up or tearing down equipment, Luis is always there to lend a helping hand. 

“Luis, we thank you for all that you do for the community of Cortez,” Sampson said. 

Some of his favorite hobbies outside of volunteering at Cortez include fishing and painting blank lures.  

Andrew Pulcipher & Luis Lopez Luis Lopez











Congratulations to Cortez High School’s 2019-2020 Achievement Above All recipients! 

Excellence: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow #GUHSDExcellence #WeAreGUHSD