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The Governing Board of the Glendale Union High School District highlighted the achievements of remarkable individuals during the Achievement Above All event at Washington High School. This annual occasion celebrates significant contributions from various members of the Washington community, including teachers, students, student groups, support staff members, and dedicated volunteers. Washington High School Principal Ashley Anderson had the privilege of introducing these awardees to the community, governing board, and superintendent. Each recipient received certificates or awards in acknowledgment of their outstanding accomplishments at the event.

Rebecca McGinnis, Teacher of the Year

Rebecca McGinnis, business Teacher and Title I Coordinator, is this year’s Teacher of the Year. Ms. McGinnis is the Future Business Leaders of America sponsor, where she works with students on skills that will help them be successful in future careers. Outside of the classroom, she is part of the Arizona Business Educators Association, the Western Business Educators Association, and the National Business Educators Association. She is also a member of Arizona's Association for Career and Technical Education. 

David Touhill, Career and Technical Education Department Chair, says, “Rebecca is an amazing friend and coworker. Ever since I started teaching, she has been a mentor and was instrumental in helping me learn how to be a better teacher and how to run my FBLA chapter.  I have benefitted immensely from her guidance, leadership, and willingness to share her hard work and experiences from both teaching and FBLA.  Her tireless work ethic challenges me to raise my bar and her dedication to improving the lives of her students is beyond evident.”

Rebecca McGinnis

Abraham Martinez Rojas, Student of the Year

Student of the Year Abraham Martinez Rojas has attended Washington High School all four years. He participated in soccer, National Honors Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Link Crew, and Advanced Placement classes. Martinez Rojas has maintained a 3.95 GPA. Outside of school, he spends time working as a server at the Beatitudes Retirement Campus. In the fall, Martinez Rojas plans to attend Arizona State University to pursue a career in Aerospace Engineering. 

Mr. Darrow, Abraham’s AP Government teacher says, “Abraham is an outstanding individual who approaches his responsibilities with confidence and enthusiasm. He demonstrates this by taking on numerous challenges and working hard to achieve his full potential. Abraham is also a humble young man who gives his time to improve the world around him without a desire to receive recognition from his teachers or peers. I have no doubt that Abraham will be successful in his future academic pursuits, but most importantly, I know he will positively impact countless members of our society as he continues his selfless acts to improve the world around him.” 


Japanese Club, Student Group of the Year

Japenese Club is this year’s Student Group of the Year. The club has over 50 members and is sponsored by Nicole Olson. The goal of the club is to have students gain cultural perspectives and international awareness. Club members have gone on field trips to festivals, markets, museums, the Phoenix Japanese Gardens, teppanyaki restaurants, and local Japanese stores. The club has also teamed up with the culinary club to make Japanese tonkatsu. 

Mr. Nelson, Assistant Principal of Operations and Resources, says, “The Japanese Club students do so much throughout the valley to learn more, and celebrate, the Japanese culture. This club and its sponsor, Mrs. Olson, are excellent representatives of the idea to celebrate all cultures and diversity.”

Japanese Club

Mizrain Andrade, Support Staff of the Year

For over 10 years, Mizrain Andrade has worked in the Maintenance Department at Washington High School. She is this year’s Support Staff of the Year. Ms. Andrade started as a night custodian and now works on the day crew. She is originally from El Salvador where she completed high school and studied Library Services at the University of El Salvador. Her plans are to retire and vacation back and forth from Phoenix to El Salvador. 

Francisco Cruz, Maintenance Foreman, says, “In the quiet corners of Washington High School, Amy works tirelessly to ensure that our environment remains clean, safe, and welcoming. Amy and I have been working together for the last 11 years here at Washington and I see Amy’s dedication to her work as a custodian. It is truly commendable. Her attention to detail, reliability and positive attitude make a lasting impact on our environment. Her exceptional work ethic is a shining example for all of us. Thank you for consistently going above and beyond to maintain a clean, safe and welcoming space for everyone.”

Amy Andrade

Nikki Paul, Volunteer of the Year

PTO President Nikki Paul is this year’s Volunteer of the Year. Ms. Paul has been the president for two years and has served as a parent representative for the site council. She is at every football game, open house event, concert, and other events throughout the year. During her time as president, Ms. Paul has started teacher mini-grants, where teachers can fill out an application for any extra items they may need in their classroom. The PTO gave out four, $200 grants this school year. 

Angel Rivera, Teacher Liaison for the PTO, says, “We are incredibly lucky to have Nikki as our PTO President. She is on campus almost weekly with PTO raising money to help support staff and students through teacher grants, providing school supplies, and senior scholarships for college. She always brings a positive outlook and looks for more ways to bring in more parent, student, and community involvement.”

Nikki Paul