2019-20 AAA Celebration

Washington 2019-2020 Achievement Above All Recipients Receive Gratitude at Virtual Celebration
Posted on 2020/10/22
Devonte Rushdan was recognized as the WHS AAA StudentOctober 2020 – Glendale Union High School District’s Achievement Above All events recognize a handful of individuals from each school who exhibit outstanding leadership and exceptional accomplishments. During each event, the GUHSD Governing Board celebrates a teacher, student, student group, support staff employee and volunteer for their ongoing commitment to their school and the district. Recipients then receive an award and/or certificate as a gift for their dedication and achievements.  

Last school year, Washington High School’s Achievement Above All originally-scheduled event for April 1, 2020 was postponed due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. However, the GUHSD Governing Board still wanted to take the opportunity to recognize the recipients, despite the challenges of the global pandemic. Another meeting was scheduled and occurred virtually via WebEx on Wednesday, Oct. 21. 

Washington Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient: Jessica Hewlett

Ms. Hewlett is no stranger to Washington High School, having worked at the school for the past 15 years. Her teaching experience includes serving as a Washington English Teacher, English Department Chair and Title 1 Coordinator. However, Ms. Hewlett recently took on a new role for the 2020-2021 school year – Media Center Director.  

Through her various roles on campus, Ms. Hewlett has exemplified her passion for teaching students.

“Of course, as an English teacher and a librarian, I am passionate about sharing my love of reading and writing, but I am equally passionate about helping kids gain an understanding of their own power and value,” Hewlett said. “If I can do that with a big heart, a good sense of humor, and an open door, my students will see and feel my love of learning, experience it themselves, and pay that gift forward to someone else in their lives.”

Ms. Hewlett participated in other clubs and activities on campus such as volleyball, track and Link Crew. She currently is the sponsor for Unitown, a club that empowers students to form strong peer relationships to make their school more inclusive and accepting of diversity.

Outside of teaching, Ms. Hewlett enjoys spending time with her two sons, Max and Vaughn, and her husband, Danny, who also volunteers with Washington’s Wresting team. 

Washington Achievement Above All Student Recipient: Devonte Rushdan 

Devonte graduated from Washington last school year and made an ever-lasting impression on campus. During his senior year, Devonte participated in five AP classes, two of which were math courses. He was heavily involved in many sports and extracurricular activities including swim, wrestling, track, National Honor Society and Unitown. Impressively, Devonte managed to maintain straight A’s during this time and in the midst of the global pandemic. 

Devonte’s teachers even supported and commended him for his diligent work ethic.

“Devonte is one of the most hardworking, reflective, insightful students I’ve ever met,” Washington AP Literature Teacher Amanda Humphrey said. “He is unbelievably bright, and he is generous with that knowledge and intelligence. He shares with and supports others in his classes, holding himself and everyone else to high standards.”

Devonte also credits Washington for motivating him to achieve everything he has. All of my success is because of the welcoming and encouraging environment that the school creates, Rushdan said.

He is currently studying computer science at Arizona State University. With an interest in programming with Java Script, his career goal is to work as a software engineer for Google and in time, start his own company that build networks and algorithms for small businesses. 

Washington Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient: Student Council

Washington Student Council, sponsored by Washington Teacher Brad Meese, is dedicated to the tasks of increasing a sense of school spirit and community on campus. Some of the group’s responsibilities over the school year include dances, assemblies, spirts weeks, talent shows, blood drives and canned food drives. They also improve their own leadership skills by participating in team-building activities and service projects. 

During the fourth quarter of the 2019-2020 school year, Washington Student Council created “Feel Good Friday” videos that continued to build a sense of community despite the obstacles faced by the global pandemic. They also highlighted teachers in these videos to recognize their efforts during remote learning. This project served as an example of how Washington Student Council strives to create a fun, engaging environment for all students, faculty and staff. 

Sponsor Brad Meese honors Washington Student Council’s commitment to the school.

“Many of the STUGO students fit this significant commitment into an already-packed schedule of AP classes, sports, clubs, jobs and family/church responsibilities,” Meese said. “They are a group of truly dedicated students who love their school and are willing to rise to the challenges that come with being a leader. They are among the best that Washington has to offer!”

Washington Student Council’s future goals are to continue looking for ways to honor the rich traditions of the school while adding something new and exciting for students each school year. 

Washington Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient: Luisa Banos

As a Washington alumna, Luisa Banos has strong ties to the school. She began her career at Washington as the attendance assistant for three years before transitioning to the counseling secretary, a role that she has held for the past four years. As students, faculty and staff enter the Washington Counseling Office, Luisa is there with high spirits to greet them.  

Washington Data Processor, Abby Pena, acknowledged Luisa’s willingness to help.

“Luisa is truly the backbone to the counseling office,” Pena said. “She is always willing to lend an extra hand. Her devotion to our students is extremely inspiring. The office would not function without her.”

Washington Assistant Principal of Student Services, Leif Barsness, also commended Luisa for her work ethic and positive personality. 

“Luisa Banos is an outstanding person to work with,” Barsness said. She is someone who is driven, can always be depended on, and she is detailed and thorough in all of her work. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that she has an energetic, positive attitude every day at work. Nothing seems to get her down, and her attitude helps create a positive community at school with everyone she works with.”

Aside of her role at Washington, some of Luisa’s personal interests include dancing, hair and makeup. 

Washington Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipients: Darla Rodriguez and Mario Estrada

As parents of a Washington student, Darla Rodriguez and Mario Estrada are committed to supporting the school and its programs through volunteering. Darla and Mario are the president and vice president of Washington’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), a group comprised of parents, teachers and staff that is dedicated to improving the educational experience of all students. As leaders of the Washington PTO, they have a hand in raising money for student scholarship opportunities, helping sell concessions at sports games and much more.

Darla and Mario are also heavily involved with the Washington Band to support their daughter in the program. Volunteering is important to us because we want to support Washington and engage in our teen’s academic programs, Darla and Mario said.
Washington Band Director, Mr. Landaiche, recognized Darla and Mario for the time they give to help improve the band program. 

“Darla and Mario have given hours of their time and shared their combined wealth of expertise for the last two years in a way that has directly helped elevate the band program to one that can serve its students with the highest level of care and support,” Landaiche said. 

In their free time, Darla and Mario enjoy traveling and spending time with their family. 

Congratulations to Washington High School’s 2019-2020 Achievement Above All recipients! 

Video from the celebration.

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