Apollo Achievers Celebrated at Annual Event
2017-18 Apollo Achievement Above All Winners
Posted on 11/16/2017
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Please enjoy this highlight video from the Achievement Above All event.

November 2017 – It was a celebration Wednesday evening as Apollo’s top teacher, student, support staff member, student group and volunteer were recognized as outstanding contributions to the Hawk community.

The Achievement Above All ceremony was held November 15 and shared with an overwhelming room of supporters.

Achievement Above All: Teacher

Elizabeth Snyder started at Apollo in 2007 with the Community Based program, which she continues to support today.

“Elizabeth’s students face more physical, cognitive, cultural, medical and socioeconomic barriers on a daily basis than many people will ever have to face in our lifetimes,” Apollo Principal Brooke Parsons said. “Yet, Elizabeth doesn’t bat an eye at those barriers.”

She has been known to go above and beyond to help her students in any way possible, whether it is to meet their academic, technology or personal needs.

Speech pathologist Alicia Doreth praised Ms. Snyder, saying, “I am so grateful my path has led me to working with Elizabeth. She has forever changed the way I practice, making me a better therapist and person.”

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Achievement Above All: Student

Isaiah Acosta, Apollo’s Student of the Year, came into this world with challenges but he has not let them interfere with his success, Parsons said.

“Resilient, powerful, and magnetic are a few adjectives that describe Isaiah,” she said. “Obviously, you can see that Isaiah was born without a jaw, however, what you cannot see and don’t know is that he was without oxygen for 15 minutes and was also born with situs inversus, where all internal organs are arranged in a mirror image of typical anatomy. Doctors said Isaiah wouldn’t live for more than a few hours; however, over 100 surgeries and many obstacles later, Isaiah turned 18 years old on Halloween.”

Outside of school, Isaiah has served on the Youth Advisory Board for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and spends numerous hours participating in community charity events. He has also used his music writing skills to produce songs.

“Isaiah, you are the definition of resiliency, and your voice empowers others. You are an absolute blessing to the Apollo community and we honor your drive, dedication, humility, selflessness and powerful voice,” Parsons said.

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Achievement Above All: Student Group

The Apollo Marching Band, under the direction of Gabe Lugo, is comprised of 74 members, which includes the flag line and the drumline. The marching band provides opportunities for all students who want to join and commit their time to perform at a higher level, Lugo said.

“We strive for excellence on a daily basis through dedicated rehearsals. We will always look for and welcome opportunities to perform and showcase the band and our talented students,” he said.

The group performs at every home football game, various away games, Fall assembly, Homecoming assembly, school carnival and bonfire, homecoming parade, performing arts assembly and at the annual GUHSD marching band exhibition. They also perform at marching band competitions throughout the state.

As of October, the band received captions in best overall percussion, color guard/flag line, and visual performance at various competitions. They received a rating of Excellent and were chosen to march down Main Street Disneyland this Spring.

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Achievement Above All: Support Staff

Although Christine Sampson has a background in music and taught instrumental music for the Glendale Elementary School District for 20 years, she has spent the last 10 on the Apollo campus in a variety of support roles. Mrs. Sampson has been a Title One assistant, attendance office lead, counseling secretary and data processor, her current position.

Apollo Senior Ruth Perry said she has firsthand knowledge of how important Mrs. Sampson’s role has been on her high school experience.

“As a student, I am aware of the under appreciation her position receives from students who do not know a data processor even exists, making her dedication and hard work even more meaningful,” she said. “As a clueless freshman, she introduced me to new people, which allowed me to expand my horizons beyond simply interacting with students, ultimately building my confidence. She cares for me as if I was her own child.”

“The Apollo community is lucky to have Christine Sampson truly supporting students, faculty, and our school in so many ways,” Parsons said.

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Achievement Above All: Volunteer

The Apollo Volunteer of the Year award was given to Linda Nguyen, who is an alumna of the school. While a student, Ms. Nguyen was a member of the Key Club, where she logged more than 350 community service hours. She also served as the secretary and president of the club. Now she serves the school as co-sponsor of Key Club with Krystal Claudio.

Current Key Club President Alejandra Gonzalez Cruz says that Ms. Nguyen is known for her zealous character and perfectionist personality, which means you can always count on her support and her attention to detail.

“To be able to return to my high school, a place that gave me four amazing years of my life, and give back to Apollo in the role of a Key Club Advisor, is an opportunity that I truly cherish with all my heart,” Ms. Nguyen said. “I absolutely love helping students realize their potential as a great leader and watch them discover a passion for service and making a difference.”

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Thank you and congratulations to each of the Achievement Above All recipients. We are grateful for your contributions to Apollo High School and the Glendale Union High School District community.