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GUHSD Governing Board Honors Independence High School Achievement Above All Recipients

Excellence continues at Glendale Union High School District as the Governing Board held their first Achievement Above All for the new year. Independence High School’s Achievement Above All recipients, including Teacher of the Year, Student of the Year, Student Group of the Year, Support Staff of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year were recognized during the meeting. All recipients were presented with a certificate or award for their achievements.

Rex Foster, Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) Sponsor, is Independence High School’s Teacher of the Year. Foster can be described as a leader, humble, helpful, and understanding. Independence Principal Rob Ambrose says, “He believes in helping to make students’ lives better through understanding diversity, and he is a leader in teaching acceptance to his students. His heart is dedicated to supporting all students’ well-being.” When he is not in the classroom, you can find Foster coaching Cross Country and Track or cheering students on from the sidelines.

When asked about what makes Foster passionate about teaching, Foster said, “Ensuring that all students are taken care of.”

Rex Foster

In the top three percent of her senior class and is involved in several extracurricular activities, Diana Lizarraga Rochin is Independence High School’s Student of the Year.  Rochin is involved in several extracurricular activities including being Commanding Officer for the NJROTC program, an Officer for the National Honor Society, and an Officer for Unitown. Rochin is also a member of the swim team. Rochin is the first swimmer in school history to win a Regional Championship in the 100-meter backstroke. Independence Principal Rob Ambrose says, “I know that her ability to achieve is limitless. Diana is one of those students who make Independence a great place to be every day.”

Rochin says her goal after high school is to go to Technologic de Monterrey University in Mexico.


Leadership, courage, responsibility, work ethic, and service to the community are all ways, Principal Rob Ambrose describes Independence High School’s Student Group of the Year, the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC). The purpose of NJROTC is to instill in students the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. Rex Foster and Tre’Mayne Tuck are both sponsors of NJROTC. 

Foster says his goal for the group is to continue growing the group and increase participation in military drill meets.


A district graduate, Teresa Brown, is Independence High School’s Support Staff of the Year. Brown has had various positions throughout the district including Career and Technical Education Aide, Attendance Assistant, Counseling Secretary, and Curriculum and Instruction Secretary. Now, Brown is the Credentials Secretary. Brown is organized, dedicated, and confident in her position. Independence Principal Rob Ambrose says, “Teresa is the perfect example of a person whom one could easily state that this school would not run as well without her.”

Brown says her goal for the future is to take advantage of the education the district has to offer.

Teresa Brown

After Emily Ramirez-Lara graduated from Independence in 2018, she stayed committed to volunteering at her alma mater. Ramirez-Lara is an active member and counselor in Independence’s Unitown and Anytown programs. She also provides her expertise in finding scholarships and grants for students planning to attend post-secondary education. Recently, Ramirez-Lara hosted a scholarship night on campus for all students. Independence Principal Rob Ambrose says, “Her drive to help our students find their path to post-secondary education has been a gift to our school.”

With her dedication to volunteering, Ramirez-Lara says volunteering is important to her because she helps create good in her community. She goes on to say, “I may not be able to change the world right now, but I can start changing the lives of individuals starting one by one. That brings me one step closer to changing the world.”

Emily Ramirez-Lara