Independence High School Patriots Shine at Virtual Event

Independence High School Patriots Shine at Virtual Event
Posted on 02/04/2021
Independence ThumbnailFebruary 2021 – Glendale Union High School District’s Achievement Above All events continued with a virtual celebration for Independence 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 Feb. 3. Each recipient also received an award and/or certificate for their ongoing commitment to the district and their school’s community.



Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient: Pepper Marshall

Before joining Independence back in 2006, Ms. Marshall received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Arizona State University, and completed her Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. She then started her career at Independence where she currently teaches AP Literature, English 7-8 and Yearbook. Ms. Marshall also serves as the Independence Student Council Advisor.

According to her peers, Ms. Marshall strives to make positive impacts on her colleagues and students.

“Pepper has a genuine heart made for empathy and a desire to see people become stronger,” Independence English Teacher Sarah Farson said. “She is a kind-hearted soul meant to make an impact on others. She remains a quiet pulse of energy on our campus, rejuvenating staff and students alike to make our community bright.”

In addition to her duties at Independence, Ms. Marshall is currently working on completing her National Board Certification, which is the highest certificate an educator can earn in the United States. Administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Board Certification is a rigorous process that requires teachers to showcase the National Board Standards in their practice.

In her free time, Ms. Marshall enjoys traveling and has visited three different continents and 11 countries in the past four years.

Achievement Above All Student Recipient: Elysia Jane Carreon

Elysia Jane Carreon is a top-notch student at Independence High School. With a 4.8 GPA and ranked in the top of her class, Carreon commits to educational excellence. She participates in several AP courses and engages in extracurricular activities including Unitown, vocal ensemble, theatre and more.

Carreon is known on campus for her impressive vocal performances in a variety of shows.

“In addition to being an outstanding student, and a kind and intelligent person, Jane is an incredible performer,” Farson said. “I have had the honor and privilege to direct her in plays and musicals on the Independence stage, and Jane always goes above and beyond in her performances. She expresses so much genuine emotion and dedication. I know that her ability to achieve is limitless.”

Carreon has earned many different awards and honors over her high school experience including National Hispanic Scholar, Glendale Rotary Student of the Month, ASU Barrett Summer Scholar and GUHSD Poetry Contest winner during her freshman year. She also received impressive scores on her AP exams, proving once more of her academic excellence.

For her future, Carreon aspires to become a choir teacher. She plans on earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at Northern Arizona University and then moving to Canada to pursue her master’s and doctoral degrees.

Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient: Independence Girls Varsity Volleyball

Independence Girls Varsity Volleyball, sponsored by Michelle Monaghan, consists of 12 members that aim to successfully compete in volleyball matches during the school year. Not only do they compete to bring home wins and proudly represent Independence, but they display the qualities of good students and hard workers.

“The Independence High School Volleyball team has been described by staff members as a great group of kids who work very hard,” Independence Principal Rob Ambrose said. “Personally, I have had the chance to interact with many of these young ladies over their years at Independence High School and I can say that they are truly examples of great students. They are good students, personable and friendly when interacting with adults, and great volleyball players.”

According to Principal Ambrose, several of the players are also in the top 10% of their class, earn excellent grades and even volunteer each year during registration season.

One of the team’s accomplishments from this school year is earning the title of 5A Central Region Champions after competing in the state playoffs. This is the first time in over 20 years that the team has earned this achievement.

The team hopes to continue to compete in future matches to bring home more championship titles to Independence.

Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient: Stacie Beck

Prior to joining the Patriot family, Stacie Beck graduated from Deer Valley High School and attended college afterwards. She earned her associate’s of arts from Glendale Community College and her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a Minor in Theater from Grand Canyon University. Now, she has served Independence for over seven years, and currently works as a special education instructional assistant. 

With a passion for her students, Beck is known is always go above and beyond for them.

She has spent many online after hours helping students pass their classes during this challenging time and commits more of her time as the sponsor of Independence’s SAFE (Student Alliance for Equality) club.

When asked about her future goals, Beck expressed her desire to continue succeeding in her current position.

“I truly enjoy my job and want to continue to do it to the best of my ability until retirement,” Beck said.

Principal Ambrose also acknowledged Beck for her dedication to support everyone at Independence.

“I couldn't think of a more hardworking, deserving person that has had such a direct impact on the success of all students and support for all faculty and staff on campus,” Ambrose said. “She is truly invaluable, and we are lucky to have her.”

Outside of work, Beck is a member of her church choir and can play multiple instruments. She also is a member of The Luke Experience Theater Group at Luke Air Force Base and has performed in multiple plays there.

Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient: Sergio Fuentes

Sergio Fuentes first became involved with Independence when his son played for the school’s baseball team. After his son graduated, he then transferred his energy to the Independence Softball team, as his daughter is currently participating in the sport. 

Independence Baseball Coach K.J. Anthony recognized Fuentes for his volunteer efforts with the team.

“Sergio Fuentes ran the snack bar and announced games for me,” Anthony said. “He made my job as a first-year baseball coach much easier than it should have been. He volunteered to help and went way beyond what I ever asked him to do. I can remember coming out to practice and watching him and his family cleaning out the dust and dirt in the snack bar before the season started. He was always supportive of the team regardless of how we were doing on the field.”

To support the teams, Fuentes has also provided food for the snack bar with his own money, set up and tore down before and after games, and put together walk-up songs for students and announced them as they came to bat. 

Principal Ambrose commented on his appreciation for Fuentes for giving back to the school community, as well.

“We are all truly grateful when anyone from our community gives time and effort to our school,” Ambrose said. “Sergio has shown his passion for giving and has graciously supported Independence High School.”

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

Excellence: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow #WeAreGUHSD