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Selfless Seniors of APS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The APS Education Foundation is hosting its second annual Gold Bar Gala Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Sandia Resort and Casino, raising money for school and classroom grants to meet critical needs of schools and innovative approaches to public education, and singling out this year’s Selfless Seniors.

The event is designed to recognize those who have contributed to student success, including celebrating senior students “who have given of themselves to build up others in our schools and community,” organizers said in a news release.bright spot

The foundation also inducts new members into the APS Hall of Honor, honor an Outstanding Corporate Partner and name the Best in Class — grant recipients who exemplify innovative teaching, organizers said.

This is the 10th year the foundation has recognized Selfless Seniors, a program that noted photographer Frank Frost helped launch in 2008 to honor students who give back to the community without much recognition. More than 200 Selfless Seniors have been lauded over the years.

“These young adults have already made a difference in their schools and neighborhoods, and inspire their peers and all of us to do the same,” organizers said.

Meet the Class of 2018 Selfless Seniors:



Dominick has served as president of the Empower Anti-Violence Club, where he helped to create a presentation on unhealthy relationships to help his peers identify and find refuge from unsafe situations. He encouraged 247 of his fellow students to sign the Anti-Gun Violence Pledge and organized the Anti-Gun Violence Walk. He serves as a New Mexico Advocate Against Child Abuse. Dominick devotes time to help the hungry, homeless and disabled. Despite his own struggles, and even because of them, Dominick is always ready to do anything and everything he can to help those less fortunate.

RACHEL SANCHEZ selfless seniors


Rio Grande

Rachel has volunteered her time to the community through the AVID Program and Student Senate. Being Junior Class Vice-President and currently Senior Class President really has made Rachel more accountable and a leader. Rachel not only volunteers with Roadrunner Food Bank, but also coordinates the volunteer efforts of her class. She organizes different school drives to help benefit those in need, such as the victims of Hurricane Harvey, beneficiaries of the Make a Wish Foundation, and many others. Volunteering at church also allows her to reach out to new people and help others in greater ways.


Albuquerque High

Lev was a member of the National Dance Institute of New Mexico, where he served as a mentor to other youth. He is currently a committed member of BBYO, volunteering through meaningful service projects. He and his family have continued to be advocates for dual-language programs. He has also taken a leadership role as a First Sergeant with the JRTOC. Lev has worked to provide food and assistance to the homeless, the elderly and veterans. He is focused on creating a safe and welcoming environment for his fellow students.


West Mesa

Gilbert has excelled through hands-on STEM programs provided by the Navy JROTC. Gilbert, or “Gil” as he’s known to his friends, endured a year as a homeless student and now spends his time helping his fellow students. He serves as a tutor and mentor, helping them not only with their schoolwork, but also as a guide and friend when they face difficult situations at home. Major Mark Hendricks of West Mesa’s Navy JROTC writes, “Gil’s tenacity and sheer will to succeed drive him to success. He is absolutely uncommon among most high school students.”



Marceliano does not let the challenges of cerebral palsy slow him down. He has worked to ensure that Cibola is more accessible by helping to secure funding for school improvements that allow students and community members in wheelchairs to enjoy sporting events. Marceliano participates with many organizations, including San Gabriel the Archangel Church to help feed the less fortunate, and Dogwood Therapy Services to help train service dogs.



If a fellow student needs supplies or a teacher needs help cleaning, Chris is there. Tech support? Chris is there. Outside of Sandia High School, Chris volunteers to feed the less fortunate and also to assist his tennis coach with practice at Eastern Hills Christian Academy. His family provides a temporary home for APS students waiting to be placed in foster care. Chris helps these students with their homework and ensures that they are not missing any assignments.


La Cueva

Zach has the reputation of being the quiet helper, never seeking praise, always offering help. Zach participates in a very long list of clubs and organizations with a focus on service to others, including Best Buddies, the Salvation Army, the Safe Student Alliance, the Albuquerque Kiwanians and Key Club, Locker 505 and many more. Zach is an accomplished athlete, student and artist. Even though he has plenty to brag about, Zach is known most of all for his humility.




Raidel is ready to put everyone else first, but also to take the lead when action is needed. He led a community service project to work with the residents of Los Colinas Retirement Home, identifying a need and working hard to meet it. He has also served Special Olympics through the Monarch Madness BBall Tournament and UNM Hospital through the Color Run. And he has been a part of Adopt-a-Student at Youth Development Inc.


Volcano Vista

Sasha strives to provide a safe and inclusive school environment by helping students interact with each other during lunch, a feat that can seem impossible to an outsider. Sasha volunteers outside of school by helping to provide food and clothing to the less fortunate and has been involved in various ways with the patients at UNM Carrie Tingley Hospital. Sasha also volunteers her time as a teen ambassador for Ronald McDonald House Charities.



Leticia is the steady volunteer in her school and community. She babysits so that her neighbors and family friends can have date nights. She considers her grandfather to be her very best friend. Leticia helped her mother earn her teaching degree by taking care of her younger sister. She holds the title of Cheer Captain, and thrives to inspire and encourage her team to the best of their ability. She spends her summers and spare moments helping in the bookroom at Valley, and even serves as Eucharistic Minister and volunteers Monday nights teaching first-grade catechism at her parish.


Atrisco Heritage

Chantel has served as a wildlife rescue volunteer, a nature guide at Albuquerque Biopark, a member of the Atrisco Heritage Environmental Stewardship Club, a volunteer at the Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque and as a tutor at George I. Sanchez Collaborative Community School. Chantel even volunteered at Carlos Rey Elementary School by reading to kindergarteners. The list of Chantel’s efforts to help others goes on and on.


Early College Academy

McKenna tutors her peers in math as part of the Lunchtime Support for Academics intervention program. She raises funds and volunteers her time to support all those impacted by Children’s Miracle Network, UNICEF, Roadrunner Food Bank and Ronald McDonald House Charities. She doesn’t even rest on Sundays, where you will find her teaching Sunday School to 1st- and 2nd-graders.



Juliet uses her time to help build up others in numerous clubs and groups in and out of school. She has been a volunteer through the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society, and volunteers at the Presbyterian Hospital Pediatric Urgent Care and Montebello Assisted Living Facility, helping people of all ages and backgrounds. An aspiring doctor, Juliet is an accomplished athlete and academic, but when people talk about her, they talk about her incredibly generous spirit.

Hall of Honor inductees


He began his 30-year career at APS as a dispatcher with the APS Security Division in 1976. He became a sworn officer a year later and in 1989 was promoted to sergeant. In 1991, he became Deputy Chief of the APS Police Department. He retired 15 years later in 2006.

Shea worked tirelessly over his three decades with the district to build a security division into a police department that valued character. Students were at the heart of his work.

Shea worked with many programs aimed at protecting children and keeping them on track to live a successful life. And he designed the patch now worn by all APS police officers, which includes the pillars of character and the motto “Safeguarding our Future.”

Shea continues his service to the community as the current Undersheriff for the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office.


She began her 37-year career in Albuquerque as a kindergarten teacher at Mission Avenue Elementary School. She taught and served as an administrator in several elementary schools within the district, including Monte Vista, Armijo, Marie Hughes, Alvarado, Stapleton and Chaparral.

Anderson retired in 1999 and then returned to APS in 2002 to work in the APS Service Center before retiring for good in 2008.

She has been recognized by the New Mexico Association for Education of Young Children for her work in early childhood education and served as president in 1982-83. She was named Principal of the Year in 1994 by the New Mexico Association of Education Office Personnel. In addition, Anderson served on numerous district committees to help APS best serve its students.

Best in Class programs

Cleveland Middle School

1+2 Colts Clubs Activity Day is a latticework of clubs and activities that are intended to reach all of Cleveland’s 650 students. The project is based on the contention that student attendance and achievement rise when students are engaged and motivated, and when they are able to connect lessons from activities to the work they do in the classroom. Activities, such as Battle of the Books, Cooking, Rock Climbing and Forensic Club, allow all students to be part of a club atmosphere while deepening their knowledge and expanding their extracurricular interests.

Coronado Elementary School

La Prensa Newsletter is a bilingual school newspaper with students serving as contributing reporters at the dual-language school in downtown Albuquerque. The goal is to improve literacy in both English and Spanish through storytelling, editing and collaboration. The newspaper also allows students to learn more about their own families, culture and community by researching topics of importance to them and their school.

APS Gold Bar Gala

WHAT: To celebrate Selfless Seniors, Hall of Honor inductees and Best in Class programs

WHEN: Friday

WHERE: Sandia Resort & Casino

TICKETS: $100 each, available at