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Superintendent's News

Posted: February 3, 2023

Our Selfless Seniors Represent the Very Best of APS

In his Friday message, Superintendent Scott Elder takes a look at the remarkable young women and men who make up this year’s Selfless Seniors class

2023 Selfless Seniors

2023 Selfless Seniors

With the tragedies playing out around us – the war in Ukraine, the beating death in Memphis of Tyre Nichols and the shooting this past weekend in our own community that claimed the lives of two brothers, ages 14 and 15 – it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there’s also a lot of good in this world.

That good was on full display Tuesday at a reception the APS Education Foundation hosted for our Selfless Seniors, 14 amazing Albuquerque students selected for their dedication to school and commitment to others.

The students who make up the Selfless Seniors Class of 2023 are an inspiring bunch. They’ve helped reduce food waste in their school, mentored refugees, advocated for mental health resources, volunteered at the Road Runner Food Bank, helped elderly neighbors with their yards and so much more.

You’ll be hearing about each one in the coming weeks. Below is a brief overview of each one, although I warn you that I’m only scratching the surface on their accomplishments.

They will be featured on billboards, their portraits, taken by photographer Frank Frost, will be displayed at schools, and they will be recognized at the foundation’s Gold Bar event on April 14. I thank the APS Education Foundation and photographer Frank Frost for what they’re doing to honor them.

These 14 individuals represent the best of our seniors. It’s worth noting that all 142 of our schools are filled with students, educators and staff who go out of their way each and every day to make their corner of the world a better place. And we are all better off for their efforts.

Our top responsibility is to educate kids, but close behind is helping them to become good people and good citizens. This year’s Selfless Seniors exemplify that. I am proud of each one of them and grateful to everyone inside and outside APS who helped them become the extraordinary individuals they are today.

Until next week.

2023 Selfless Seniors

  • Ava Stratton, of Albuquerque High School, volunteered with a summer reading program. Through Catholic Charities, she mentored refugee students and also organized, produced and led summer camps for refugee students. 
  • Roslyn Chavira Morales, of Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, is the oldest daughter of a first-generation immigrant mother and father whose volunteer activities include numerous bosque and community clean ups, Road Runner Food Bank, clothing drives and food drives.
  • Rebecca Thomas, of Cibola High School, volunteered at the Roadrunner Food Bank preparing meal kits for families in need during the holidays. She’s helped neighbors clean up their yards and has helped with supply drives for refugees.
  • Ezekiel Romero, of Del Norte High School, volunteered as a junior wrestling camp coach, ran talk circles with the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice and assisted the elderly with yard clean ups. Despite overcoming obstacles in his own life, Zeke is constantly encouraging his classmates to get involved and to bring their best to everything they do.
  • Myra Lacy, from Eldorado High School, has been a staunch advocate for mental health resources in schools since her freshman year. She’s testified before state lawmakers and helped secure a family therapist, wellness room and social and emotional learning training for teachers at Eldorado.
  • Matthew "Marquez" Henderson, of Freedom High School, has volunteered with multiple organizations, including the American Heart Association, Isleta Pueblo, National Cancer Survivors Day, food banks, Breaking the Silence New Mexico and local little leagues.
  • Harmony Jenkins, of Highland High School, volunteers her time with Juntos, a community program that serves the International District. She’s led small group discussions with 3-5 year-olds, led classes of up to 20 kids and served on a leadership team for middle and high school girls.
  • Michael Lopez, of La Cueva High School, is an Eagle Scout who has been volunteering at his church for years. His Eagle Scout project involved refurbishing 35 old computers and providing them to families. At La Cueva, he became concerned about the food waste he was seeing and set up a program that has collected more than 350 pounds of food for people in need.
  • Olivia Withrow, from Manzano High School, is an aspiring educator who taught catechism, has helped feed the homeless, volunteered at Roadrunner Food Bank and spearheaded a project to create a new outdoor learning environment for a preschool.
  • Enrique Nunez, from Rio Grande High School, serves as a Peer Buddy in an Intensive Global Supports classroom. Enrique goes out of his way to make students feel valuable, encouraged and supported as he helps them with class assignments and daily life skills.
  • William Wertz, of Sandia High School, has volunteered extensively, doing everything from helping out with Cub Scout Day camp and preparing care packages for college students in his church to writing letters to elderly people in nursing homes during the pandemic and helping raise money to defray the cost of Advanced Placement exams for students who needed help.
  • Tyana DeVargas, of Valley High School, spends two to three hours each week at Genesis Nursing Home interacting with residents and performing Ballet Folklorico. She also spearheaded a schoolwide hygiene drive for underprivileged students and families.
  • Zoe Baca, from Volcano Vista High School, worked to promote literacy through a summer reading rewards program. She is also active in Unified Buddies, a program that helps students with disabilities on campus feel supported and accepted.
  • Mariel Leon Lazcano, from West Mesa High School, has worked to raise awareness about teen dating violence through Youth Leaders of Enlace Comunitario. She is an intern at United Way of Central New Mexico and she volunteered at El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, advocating for immigrants.