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News from the Foundation

Posted: December 12, 2018

2019 Selfless Seniors Announced

Each year, the APS Education Foundation in partnership with Frank Frost Photography recognizes high school seniors who have selflessly given back to their schools and communities.

Nick Miller of nex+Gen Academy

Nick Miller of nex+Gen Academy

Now in its 11th year, Selfless Seniors aims to shine the spotlight on students who work behind the scenes to make our community a better place to live.

Selfless Seniors are dedicated to helping others without the expectation of praise or recognition. One student from each APS comprehensive high school as well as one magnet school was chosen from nominations submitted by school staff, non-profit organizations and the community.

Thanks to the generosity of photographer Frank Frost, each Selfless Senior receives a free senior portrait. The portraits will be displayed throughout the city: on the APS website, electronic billboards, and display boards in each APS high school as well as the Albuquerque International Sunport and other local businesses.

These inspiring young people will be formally honored as part of the APS Education Foundation’s annual Gold Bar Gala on March 22, 2019. Learn more about Selfless Seniors and the Gold Bar Gala by visiting the APS Education Foundation’s website at www.apseducationfoundation.org.

Meet the 2019 Selfless Seniors

Diana Mullen, Albuquerque High School

Diana Mullen has been a devoted volunteer at St. Paul Lutheran Church since her confirmation. She has taken an active role in alleviating hunger through her volunteer efforts by not only helping with fundraising and awareness events but also learning more about the issue so she could have an even deeper impact through her service. Ms. Mullen has also given time to the elderly by helping with cleaning projects and just spending her time listening and comforting them when they needed a friend. Through these experiences, she has shown loyalty and compassion in the face of illness and death. Because her brother lives with cerebral palsy, Ms. Mullen has taken a leadership role in her school through Best Buddies in order to provide inclusive opportunities for all students with and without disabilities to learn more about one another and grow together. Through her experiences volunteering with children and senior citizens, Ms. Mullen has developed a deep sense of understanding for those who may only need a listening ear and a helping hand.

Stephanie Colmenero, Atrisco Heritage Academy High School

Stephanie Colmenero is not afraid to tackle serious issues even at a young age. Among her many community service projects, Ms. Colemenero served as a founding member in the Youth Against Drug Addiction Club in her high school and the local community center. She also volunteers with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s office for drug take programs. She strives to support the community by creating awareness of the opioid crisis and the dangers of drug addiction. Ms. Colemenero is a dedicated volunteer at her church and has helped found an organization to help victims of sexual assault. 

Joseph Doucette, Cibola High School

Joseph Doucette’s contributions to local organizations are quite extensive, but what stands out is his never wavering energy despite the many needs of the organizations he serves. Mr. Doucette is not afraid to work hard, even if it means cleaning cages at Watermelon Mountain Ranch or moving mulch for a playground for children. Mr. Doucette leads by example, and as the Key Club President at his school, he works to ensure that his members can find community service projects in which they are passionate. Because of his efforts and enthusiasm for helping others, membership in the Key Club has more than doubled. 

Austin Brown, Del Norte High School

Austin Brown has never failed to offer a helping hand since his freshman year. Mr. Brown has built a reputation of following through on his commitments. As a JROTC cadet, Mr. Brown has shown his love of country by supporting veterans here at home and active duty military serving abroad. He also helps raise and lower the flag each and every day before and after class. Mr. Brown also volunteers to raise money for community organizations and actively recruits his peers to join him, even giving them rides if they need a lift. Even though his instructors and teachers will miss him once he graduates, his example will endure for underclassmen.

Evangelina Moralez-Norris, Eldorado High School

Evangelina Moralez-Norris, also known as Geli, serves as an intern at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico. She has dedicated her time to assist with research projects focused on teen pregnancy and reproductive life planning. Through her work in these studies, Ms. Moralez-Norris has shown a passion for supporting young men and women her age with needed resources and she works to reduce disparities in unintended teen pregnancies among Hispanic adolescents. She plans to continue her work in college and pursue a career in reproductive health and family and community medicine. 

Emma Kostelecky, Highland High School

Emma Kostelecky knows the importance of school spirit and how empowering it is to bring her fellow Highland Hornets together as a school community. She has worked tirelessly to encourage her peers to participate in school activities. Her love of learning has led her to read to students that attend the schools that she once attended in APS. Because she struggled with reading as a child, she strives to instill a love of reading and learning in young students. Ms. Kostelecky understands that a good education is the pathway to success, so she encourages elementary and middle school students to start dreaming and then work towards those dreams through their schoolwork. 

Daisy Mee, La Cueva High School

Daisy Mee is an accomplished young musician with a heart for helping her peers and her community. In taking a leadership role in her school’s orchestra program, Ms. Mee has championed her peers to work hard even when things get tough. As president of La Cueva’s Key Club, she has organized several community service projects for herself and fellow students. Even though her school day is filled with many activities and commitments, Ms. Mee has even dedicated time to tutor younger students after school.

Danny Luong, Manzano High School

Danny Luong has been an active volunteer leader for school events but also volunteers off campus to help those in need. Mr. Luong works at homeless shelters distributing food and clothing and he also makes care packages for homeless students attending Manzano High School so they have supplies for the weekends. He not only volunteers during the school year but during the summer as well. Like many students, Mr. Luong has had to live with physical limitations, but unlike many students, Mr. Luong has worked incredibly hard to not only improve his quality of life through education but use his education to improve the quality of life for others. 

Amy Hernandez, Rio Grande High School

Amy Hernandez has shown a passion for education that has extended to students not only at her school but in her tutoring of elementary school students. Ms. Hernandez worked hard to overcome language barriers when she first entered high school and is now part of Rio Grande High School’s Bilingual Education Program. She also volunteers through AVID and even provides tours for incoming students. She is known to be the first to volunteer and the last to leave.

Trazon Jimerson, Sandia High School

Trazon Jimerson serves as an inspiration and a light to all those around him. For eight years, Mr. Jimerson has worked at Camp Rising Sun, a camp for children with autism spectrum disorder. At every opportunity, he has come forward to learn more about autism in order to better serve children and families living with disabilities even outside of camp. Mr. Jimerson is also an active volunteer with his church, Del Norte Baptist Church, and volunteered to feed the homeless. Outside of class and off the basketball court, you can find him cleaning yards for the elderly and helping his peers with their homework. His compassion has shown no limits. 

Sienna Mascarenas, Valley High School

Sienna Mascarenas loves math and has made sure to share her love of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) with younger students as well as students at other schools. Knowing how important it is to provide a hunger for learning in youth, she also knows that it can be impossible to learn without having supplies, food, and clothing. Ms. Mascarenas has worked to collect these items for students in need. She has also donated her time and energy to helping children and families facing illness and disease by working to create more awareness of pediatric cancer and raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network. 

Vaneka Hoskie, Volcano Vista High School

Vanekah Hoskie is a proud Volcano Vista Hawkette and as the current student body president, her unending energy to provide her fellow students with every opportunity learn something new and connect with their peers continues to astound the staff. Ms. Hoskie brings new ideas to the school to fundraise and is the first to organize and contribute. She also volunteers off campus at East Gate church in their food pantry each month. 

Jasmin Alcala, West Mesa High School

Jasmin Alacala provides a shoulder to lean on and an empathic ear. Through her compassion, she has proven to be an effective leader. She encourages her peers through her hard work and perseverance in West Mesa High School’s Navy Junior ROTC program. Ms. Alcala also serves as a Best Buddy, helping students with disabilities become active in their school community, ensuring that no one feels alone or isolated. She is also very passionate about supporting veterans by placing flags at the grave sites of veterans every Veterans Day for the past three years. The list goes on and on. Whether as part of a large group working on a community service project or sitting one on one with a peer in need of a friend, Ms. Alcala has shown her selflessness time and time again.

Nicholas Miller, nex+Gen Academy

Nicholas Miller is the difference between an elementary school student who feels alone and disenfranchised by school and the student that is excited to read and learn. Starting in middle school, Mr. Miller started volunteering at Bandelier Elementary School to help tutor first graders in math and reading. When he reached high school, he walked to Governor Bent Elementary School where he encouraged students to behave their best and cultivated a love of science. Now, for the past two years, he has volunteered twice a week at Eugene Field Elementary School in the Title I Homeless Project Afterschool Enrichment Project. Students facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as poverty and high mobility have found a champion in Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller participates in many community events and with multiple organizations as well. He dreams of continuing to serve his community as a paramedic, with big dreams for the students he mentors as well. He said he wants these young students with big challenges but even bigger potential to become successful adults. His biggest fear is having to pick up one of these children from the scene of incident in the future. He works tirelessly to ensure he will never have to answer that call.

 

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