Achievement Above All Recipients 2020-2021

Achievement Above All Recipients 2020-2021
Achievement Above All Recipients 2020-2021
GUHSD Governing Board Recognizes 2020-2021 Glendale Achievement Above All Recipients
Posted on 12/18/2020
Glendale Cardinals

December 2020 – Excellence continues at the Glendale Union High School District as Glendale High School 20-21 Achievement Above All recipients were recognized by the GUHSD Governing Board. During the governing board's recent meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16, Glendale’s teacher, student, student group, support staff employee and volunteer of the year took the spotlight for their dedication and contributions to the school. Glendale Principal Justin Tarver participated in the virtual ceremony to share more about the recipients and their achievements.

“As we know, Glendale High School has a proud tradition of educating and serving the Glendale community for over 110 years,” Tarver said. We believe adamantly in building strong relationships, a positive culture, that all students can learn, and in continuous improvement. This evening we have an opportunity to celebrate some of our amazing staff and students that make Glendale High School successful and special.”



Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient: Shannon Dickson

Shannon Dickson is one of the district’s own, having graduated from Thunderbird High School. After graduation, she went on to attend the University of Arizona and Grand Canyon University and earned her bachelor's degree in Biology/Chemistry. She continued her education at Arizona State University, where she earned her master's degree in Education Technology. In 2000, Ms. Dickson officially began her career at Glendale as a biology teacher.

On campus, it is known that Ms. Dickson is passionate about teaching and helping others achieve success.

When asked what she is passionate about regarding teaching, Ms. Dickson said, “First and foremost, students. Secondly, technology that gives immediate feedback that our students crave and can help us create meaningful connections even if we are not in the same room together. Thirdly, help teachers find those aforementioned connections in their own classrooms by utilizing educational technology.”

Not only does Ms. Dickson support students academically, but she also offers assistance in technology, given her background in the field.

“As a Technology Specialist on our campus, her role and desire to help others has proven to be an invaluable resource during this adventure of remote and distant learning,” Tarver said. “She has consistently gone out of her way to make everyone’s job easier, more enjoyable, and help create a more successful learning environment for students.”

Besides teaching and supporting students, some of Dickson’s hobbies include photography and knitting.

Achievement Above All Student Recipient: Liberty Ottoway

Liberty Ottoway embodies the strength and spirit of Glendale High School. Academically, she is in the top of her class and already has 18 college credits that she earned through advanced placement courses offered at the school. Beyond the classroom, she is involved with National Honor Society, culinary, cheer, volleyball, tennis and e-sports. Some noteworthy awards she has earned during her high school experience include all-region volleyball honors, the Scholar Athlete Award, and Cardinal Student of the Month.

Ottoway’s peers and teachers boast her positivity, hard work ethic and willingness to help, as the key factors to her success.

“Liberty is such a positive person,” Glendale Math Teacher Jennifer Runger said. “She looks for and finds the best in everyone and every situation. She is a continuous learner, always eager for the next opportunity to get better.”

“Simply stated, Liberty rises to any challenge while going above and beyond,” Tarver added. “Not only does she set amazingly high expectations for herself, but also seeks to help others in the process. This is the mark of a great future leader.”

Ottoway plans to continue her education to study psychology at Northern Arizona University, where she has earned a full-ride scholarship.

Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient: Unified Sports

Glendale Unified Sports, sponsored by Glendale Physical Education Teacher Megan O’Donnell, is comprised of 25 students who represent the inclusion you would hope to see on a campus. The purpose of the group is to bring students together and create a culture that is beneficial to everyone involved through organized activities and events on campus. Some activities that Glendale Unified Sports participates in are badminton, basketball, track and field, cheerleading, bocce ball and volleyball.

Over the past couple of years, Glendale Unified Sports has earned several awards and accomplishments. In 2018, the group was the Track and Field State Runner Up and went on to claim the Badminton State Championship in both the Gold and Silver Bracket. In 2020, Glendale Unified Sports was named a Basketball State Qualifier, adding to their list of achievements.

One highlight event that takes place each year on Glendale’s campus is an awareness day called Spread the Word: Inclusion. The annual campaign, coordinated by Glendale Unified Sports, helps spread the awareness of unified athletes and commitment to respecting and embracing every individual. Due to its significant impact, the annual event continues to strengthen inclusivity and friendship on campus.

In the coming years, Glendale Unified Sports hopes to expand into new areas such as e-sports and robotics.

Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient: James Worthington

James Worthington has served in many capacities over the years at Glendale. His career traces back nearly 20 years ago when he joined the school as a custodian. For almost three years, he worked in maintenance before transitioning to assistant foreman. He then worked his way to become lead foreman, a position he has held for the past four years.

Amongst his peers, Worthington is known for his positive attitude and willingness to lend a helping hand.

Some remarks about him from fellow teachers and staff include his strive to go above and beyond, willingness to complete simple tasks to help teachers and set them up for success, acts of loyalty, and amazing team player skills, said Tarver.

Worthington’s commitment to Glendale is undeniable, as his future goal is to know that the school is running to the best of its ability when he retires.

“James is 100% dependable and a leader I trust on our campus,” Tarver said. “He is a true asset to our school and it is my pleasure to honor him with the Achievement Above All award for support staff.”

In his spare time, Worthington enjoys spending time with his one-year-old daughter, camping and fishing.

Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient: Laura Arita

As a Glendale alumna, Laura Arita is strongly connected to the Cardinal Community. She has served as a volunteer at Glendale over the past four years in a myriad of ways. Impressively, she has participated in Glendale’s Site Council, AdvancED, Student Achievement Report, Continuous Improvement Report, Cafe Night, GUHSD’s Citizen Committee, Blue Ribbon Committee, and most recently the GUHSD Reopening Task Force.

As a parent of a Glendale student, Arita has expressed the importance of volunteering to her.

Through parent involvement, I find the passion and desire to make a difference for my three children and for our future generation of leaders,” Arita said. “I view my participation as a long-term investment in our youth that will give me an ultimate, priceless reward. In collaboration with other involved parents, teachers, administrators, mentors and local leaders who share the same mission of helping others, volunteering allows me to partner up and stay connected with my community, my home-grown high school, and district where I can offer the very best of me.”

Arita is involved in volunteerism acts outside of Glendale, as well. She commits her time as a volunteer at Central Christian Church in a wide variety of activities.

“The relationships I create along the way is my most memorable experience while volunteering,” Arita said. “These are everlasting."

In her free time, you can find Arita participating in bonding activities with her family, scrapbooking, and hiking.

Congratulations to Glendale High School’s 2020-2021 Achievement Above All recipients! #ExcellenceContinues #GlendaleProud #WeAreGUHSD