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The Glendale Union High School District Governing Board highlighted the achievements of distinguished individuals at Sunnyslope High School's Achievement Above All event. This annual celebration acknowledges outstanding contributions from members of the Sunnyslope community, featuring a teacher, a student, a student group, a support staff member, and a committed volunteer. Principal Jonathan Parker of Sunnyslope High School had the privilege of introducing these recipients to the community, governing board, and superintendent. Each honoree received certificates or awards in recognition of their remarkable achievements during the event.

Teacher of the Year, Leah Clark

Leah Clark

Leah Clark has been working at Sunnyslope High School for almost a decade and is this year’s Teacher of the Year. Clark attended Northern Arizona University and earned a Master’s degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in Curriculum and Instruction. She currently teaches Advanced Placement Language, is a National Board Certified Teacher, and is on the path to becoming a Kagan Certified Teacher. Outside the classroom, Clark is the Student Council advisor and the Slope Squad sponsor. 


Mr. James King-Pereyra says, “Leah leads from a position of care and generosity. She wants what is best for our community. She strives to create lifelong learners who are curious and independent. She insists that the leaders in the student council are responsible, capable, and compassionate.”


Student of the Year, Cooper Shillington

Cooper Shillington

In the top 3% of his class, Cooper Shillington is this year’s Student of the Year. Shillington has taken 8 Advanced Placement classes and has received straight A’s throughout his high school career. In his free time, Shillington is a member of the National Honor Society, FCA, Student Council, Unified Sports, and a peer tutor for adaptive PE. Recently, Shillington earned a Congressional nomination to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, where he hopes to serve and fulfill the dream of being a Navy Pilot. 


AP Biology teacher Pandy Linnartz says, “Cooper is one of the most exceptional young men I have taught in a long time. He is honest, responsible, honorable, and hard-working. He is motivated to do something amazing, serve his country, and be a part of something bigger than himself. He has been working very hard for the last three years with a mission to be a person of integrity and dedication. He is an exceptional student, a talented athlete, an outgoing, engaging role model, and an involved, positive leader of his peers.”


Student Group of the Year, Viking Views

Viking News

Sunnyslope’s Viking Views is this year’s Student Group of the Year. Group sponsor James King-Pereyra and student editors transformed the Sunnyslope publication from a traditional printed newspaper to a quarterly magazine and monthly newsletter on their website. The student journalists pursue stories that reflect the totality of student life and highlight campus achievements in many areas. This fall, the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association recognized Viking View with 34 total awards, including a first-place award, making Sunnyslope the State Champions for the newspaper. 


Assistant Principal Demetria Andrews says, “The Viking Views is a fully student-run organization that presents like a professional one. The student reporters work diligently to present all sides of the news stories and they work to ensure the stories are presented without bias. You would be hard-pressed to find a more well-run organization full of dedicated, hardworking students.” 


Support Staff of the Year, Courtney Lawyer

Courtney Lawyer

This year’s Support Staff of the Year is Courtney Lawyer. Lawyer has been working in the Maintenance Department at Sunnyslope for 8 years. He can be described as attentive, helpful, Superman, hardworking, and positive. When he is not at work he is woodworking or enjoying NASCAR. 


Annie Hestand says, “Courtney arrives early for his shift in case he is needed early. He is genuine and kind when asked to do something. Maintenance is a thankless job and is difficult under the best circumstances.”


Volunteer of the Year, Sarah Chandler 

Sarah Chandler

President of the Viking Parents Club, Sarah Chandler, is this year’s Volunteer of the Year. Chandler has been the president for the last two years. She has worked on projects such as the Homecoming Tailgate, the Sunnyslope Scamper, and Future Freshman Night. Outside of volunteering, she seeks adventure with her son in numerous activities such as rock climbing, golf, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, camping, hiking, frisbee golf, and chess. 


Principal Jonathan Parker says, “She consistently invites opinions and feedback, then navigates challenging scenarios or unanticipated obstacles with dexterity and grace.”