The Glendale Union High School District Governing Board recently recognized Cortez High School’s “Achievement Above All” awards for teacher, student, student group, support staff employee and volunteer of the year.
“All of these honorees embody the values of Cortez, empowering all to be lifelong learners, academic excellence, strength of character, and service for others,” said Walter Sampson, Cortez High’s principal.
The teacher recipient is Catriona Brown, who has nearly 20 years of experience within the district. She has spent the last 16 years serving as Cortez’s guidance counselor.
“Catriona goes out of her way to give words of encouragement and compliments to students, faculty and staff,” Cortez science teacher Omar Sultani said.
“Dedicated, compassionate and loyal are only a few words out of many that describe Catriona Brown,” added Angela Dobberphul, Cortez assistant principal.
“Being able to help students and give them hope, encouragement or a swift little kick in the pants is a true dream job for me,” Brown said. “It is a true honor to come to the Cortez campus every single day of the week.”
Gabriela “Gigi” Griepp is the student recipient.
In addition to being in the top 1% of her class, she is the treasurer for Cortez Student Council and a member of National Honor Society.
A cheerleader and dancer, she also has won first place in a Cortez Talent Show with a singing performance while accompanying herself on the piano.
“Having Gigi in class is like having a ray of sunshine in your room every day,” Cortez math teacher Jennifer Starchman said. “She is upbeat, positive and truly a friend to everyone she works with. Gigi is intellectually bright and musically gifted, but more importantly than this, she is a kind person.”
“I transferred from a performing arts school as a sophomore, which was a big change for me,” Griepp said. “I will always be so grateful to Glendale Union for the three incredible years I’ve had at Cortez.”