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The Glendale Union High School District Governing Board recently spotlighted Apollo High School’s Achievement Above All recipients. The Achievement Above All event celebrates excellent members of Apollo, including a teacher, a student, a student group, a support staff, and a volunteer each year. Apollo High School Principal Ben White took the stage to present all recipients to the community and governing board. Each recipient received a certificate or award for their achievements. 

No stranger to Apollo High School, Shannon Olson is Apollo’s Teacher of the Year. Olson has been teaching at Apollo for over 20 years. She teaches English Language students and is also the English Language Department Chair. When she is not teaching in the classroom, she is writing curriculum and tutoring. 

English teacher Lindsey Peterson says, “She advocates for students at every turn, supports other teachers in their growth, reflects on and improves her own practices, and works consistently toward positive change on our campus, here at Apollo. For two decades, she has been a pillar of goodness for our school.”


Described as a delightfully extroverted young woman whose zest for life follows her everywhere, Ximena Favila Hernandez is this year’s Student of the Year. Favila Hernandez first moved to America at the age of 13. During her years at Apollo, Favila Hernandez has been a member of the Badminton, Math Club, and Student Council. This year she is the Senior Class President. After graduating from Apollo, Favila Hernandez will head to college to pursue her goal of becoming a dental hygienist. 

English teacher Gary Shindler says, “Ximena has an appetite and curiosity built into her soul. She has the spirit of innocence but the strength of a leader. Her passion to succeed is endless and she will always carry her quest for knowledge with her, whatever direction she is headed.” 


Apollo’s leadership group for incoming freshmen, Link Crew is this year’s Student Group of the Year. Link Crew is made up of 50 students under the guidance of Laura Richards and Nichol Castro. The group is designed to be a foundational organization where students learn to handle all the newness of high school. Each incoming freshman is assigned a Link group. The link leader will give guided tours of campus and meet a group of 25 students before the first day of classes. Their responsibility is to make sure each student feels comfortable and welcomed on campus. 

Principal Ben White says, “One of the unique outcomes of this experience is that students often desire to become Link leaders because of the positive mentoring they have gone through as freshmen. Ms. Laura Richards works very hard to educate and guide Link leaders so that they provide a strong foundation for the students’ high school experience.”


Apollo High School alumni John Whitney is this year’s Support Staff of the Year. Whitney first started as a Parking Lot Attendant and now holds the Title I Instructional Assistant position. When Whitney is not in the classroom, he can be found on the baseball or softball field as the Umpire or the clock operator for basketball. 

One of Whitney’s colleagues says, “John is a valued colleague, both for his professionalism and for his camaraderie. He makes the Title I team laugh and is always there to support students and faculty. I value all he brings to the team and his steadfast dependability. He is truly an asset to the Apollo community.”


For over ten years, Albert and Sylvia Olmos have been volunteering at Apollo High School. They are this year’s Volunteers of the Year. The Olmoses first began volunteering when their first teen became a part of the Student Council in 2010 and never stopped volunteering. Anytime there is a Student Council event, the Olmoses can be found doing whatever is needed to support the event. They have chaperoned dances, sold tickets, brought corn hole, and so much more. 

Student Council Advisor Kenna Anderson says, “When I was a student their oldest daughter was in STUCO with me at Apollo. We knew we could rely on the Olmos for bringing the best food to the potluck and always helping with anything that was needed, and showing up with snacks and drinks. Now that I’m the advisor nothing has changed they still have the best food and drinks but they don’t just support the students they support me and I appreciate all Sylvia and Albert do for our students and for me. The time and dedication they have for Apollo and STUCO are unmatched.”