The Gila Valley Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented the 2022 DAR Good Citizen Award to high school students in Graham and Greenlee counties.
One student was chosen from each senior class based on their demonstrated qualities of reliability, service, leadership and patriotism in their homes, schools and communities. The selection process included school administrators, teachers, counselors and upperclassmen. Meet the Honorees:
Elianna Cazares of Morenci High School has competed in varsity volleyball and softball, marching band and marching band, academic decathlon, Knowledge Bowl, National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, to the Technical Honor Society, CSO and Student Council.
Outside of school, she has participated in the Life Teen program and gift-wrapping sessions at the Catholic Church, highway cleanups, agave plantings, and, since her first year, has Participated and volunteered in the annual Suicide Awareness Walk.
She attended EAC University for the past two years and earned an associate degree before graduating from high school. She maintained a 3.7 GPA and ranked in the top 15 of her high school class.
A special donation of $100 was included in this award by the Amie and Danny Savage family who live in the Morenci area. Amie, a member of the DAR, wanted to take this opportunity to recognize a deserving graduate from Morenci High School.
Elianna is the daughter of Monica and Fernando Cazares of Clifton.
Matilda Hilton of Duncan High School often takes on responsibilities no one else wants to take on, has a strong work ethic, and is inclusive of others.
As a member of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) club, she traveled to Florida for the International & Southwestern Space Settlement Design Competition. She worked on the yearbook team and served as editor for two years, was involved with Future Business Leaders of America for all four years of high school; was a member of the Associated Student Body and the National Honor Society and participated in the Knowledge Bowl for four years.
She received the GIFT Outstanding Student of Merit Award in Vocational and Technical Education Classes. Matilda also received the Judy White Memorial Scholarship from the Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative.
Outside of school, she has been involved with her church as a young women’s leader and camp counselor, planning weekly service projects and creative activities for area middle and high school girls; performed at annual Christmas festivals; helped with community service projects, such as food drives and Christmas carols. She has also volunteered at Duncan Public Library and Duncan Elementary School.
Matilda is the daughter of Melanie Hilton from Duncan.
Gianna Chavez of Mt. Graham High School has always done things out of courtesy, which comes naturally to her. She is a hard worker and a fighter. She never gives up and takes pride in her work. There was a time when she didn’t know where she would be, but knew she would get there.
Since her junior year, she has been an active member of the Teen Outreach Program, which consists of community service, organizing school events, and being there to support those events. She was one of the influential students to host the first dance in years at school.
She was always ready to help. She helped serve lunch and worked with her assistant teacher, the lunch lady, whom she adores.
Her job at CMI, with all the technology advancing every day, she helped grandparents print pictures from their phones and send emails. No matter the age, she shows patience and understanding for people who don’t know these things. She doesn’t hesitate to lend a hand to anyone who needs help.
Gianna is the daughter of Thatcher’s Tanya and Andrew Cordova.
Graciela Ochoa-Gasca of Safford High School is a hard worker and always ready to make corrections when she makes mistakes. She is smart and creative in everything she does. Graciela cares about getting better, is eager to learn, and pushes herself to do well.
She goes out of her way to help others; always there to lend a hand to anyone in need. She doesn’t like to see others stressed or worried.
Graciela has been involved with the Chef’s Brigade Culinary Club and has helped with local banquets. She was also active in the Bulldog Pantry, serving as an officer and helping provide food and personal hygiene supplies to students through the backpacking program. With her keen sense of thoughtfulness, dedication and commitment, she prepared a little appreciation packet for each of the Bulldog Pantry members who regularly showed up after school to pack and hand out ranger bags. to eat. She also created a questionnaire to better meet the individual needs of students receiving help from the Bulldog Pantry.
She has poise, kindness, integrity, gentle demeanor and always has a smile and treats others with such grace and gentleness.
Graciela is the daughter of Reanna Ochoa and Fernando Gasca of Thatcher.
Samantha Palmer of Thatcher High School has been praised by her peers when asked about her qualities as a good citizen. Here is what they said without hesitation:
• “She has a sweet nature all the time. What I really like about her personality is that she doesn’t even prank her friends because it might be a bit mean or offensive. She’s a excellent example to follow.”
•“She is in many clubs and despite the time she devotes, she always gives her time and her efforts. I think she deserves this award in every way.
•“She is a phenomenal citizen because she is a leader in many organizations. She doesn’t ask others to do things she wouldn’t do. She is always kind and understanding towards others.
•“He’s a great person in every way. She is always ready to help and do whatever is asked of her.
At school, Samantha was involved in Future Business Leaders of America, the National Honor Society, tennis, cross country, student council, choir and orchestra.
Outside of school, through her church, she has served on the seminary board and served as class president for young women. She works as an accountant for her uncles’ construction company. Samantha participated in the county fair by raising, showing and selling show pigs.
In 2020, Samantha wrote an essay titled “How the Sacrifices of Our Country’s Founding Fathers Are Relevant to Me as a Young Citizen of the United States of America.” She wrote: “As citizens of this country, we have the freedom to pursue each of our dreams and choose how we will live. We have the ability to freely practice our religion, gain an education, be protected by law, and countless other freedoms.
With the character traits expressed by her peers and the values she places on the freedoms offered by this country, she reflects the quality of a good citizen.
Samantha is the daughter of Kristi and Phillip Palmer of Safford.
Jim Schysm of Pima High School is a team player and motivates everyone to participate in any event or project that needs to be accomplished. He has the ability to come up with ideas and a plan with enthusiasm for everything. Jim is incredibly dependable and goes above and beyond.
Over the years he has been involved in band, yearbook, Knowledge Bowl and golf. “I found them all joyful because they challenge me to improve as a person,” he said.
As a volunteer, he babysat, picks up trash at school before football games, participates in a community event at Discovery Park, and helps with fundraisers and a service project through of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at EAC.
One of Jim’s biggest character-building challenges was doing the near-impossible. In the aviation class, it usually takes three years of study before taking a test to be certified. Being a senior, he wouldn’t have much time, so for two weeks he went to great lengths to study. He spent hours every day learning the material so he could pass the test on time. He ended up getting 83%, although not in the necessary 90%, he was proud that he got a passing grade.
It has the same enthusiasm and dynamism with patriotism; often supporting and promoting the military and respect for his country.
Jim is the son of Thatcher’s Leea Schysm.
Jaren McCabe of Fort Thomas High School goes out of his way to help his peers with respectful kindness, whether it’s academics or sports. He works well with his teachers. Whether the tasks are large or small, he is pleasant, caring, respectful and a gentleman.
Through his church, he helps with community projects. He has been seen helping people in the community, especially the elderly. He does garden work and helps someone who is moving from one house to another.
He is kind and generous with his time and has a strong work ethic.
Throughout high school, he was involved with Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, and participated in football and baseball.
In addition to all of his service commitments and projects, he is an outstanding student-scholar and youth leader as well as a formidable athlete. He is considered an outstanding student and an upstanding citizen.
In the Boy Scout program, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He is patriotic and grateful that America has the freedom to provide more opportunities than other countries, helping citizens lead successful lives.
Jaren is the son of Martha and Steve McCabe of Fort Thomas.