Tribal Education hosts the Chief Azule Scholar Awards for students

May 20, 2016


Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


Gila River Indian Community students celebrated another year of academic excellence surrounded by friends and family at an event hosted by the Tribal Education Department.


TED hosted the annual Governor’s Scholar Award Program under it’s new name, the Chief Azule Scholar Awards Program, at the Rawhide Western Town Steak House on May 7.


Chief Antonio Azule was the last hereditary chief to lead the Community and was regarded as an advocate for education for the Akimel O’otham and Pee-Posh people.


The scholars program recognized 4-12th grade students and recent college graduates who received a bachelor’s degree.


In his address, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis said the students are carrying on a legacy started by the Huhugam ancestors who were innovative in areas of science, engineering and agriculture.


“Every year the Community is going to recognize academic excellence. It’s going to recognize it among [our] best and [our] brightest,” said Lewis.


Chief Azule’s direct descendant Dean Azule was a special guest at the banquet and spoke on behalf of his ancestor.


“I am very, very honored to have [this] scholars program named after Chief Azule. [He] promoted a lot of progress for [his] people, including getting educated,” said Azule.


He encouraged the students to be innovative and to create answers to some of the biggest issues that face Native people.


“We look forward to [you], to see what’s beyond the horizon,” said Azule.


Lt. Gov. Monica Antone echoed the same appreciation for the students and encouraged them to strive for more in their lives in honor of Chief Azule.  


“We are reminded every day of what he stood for,” said Antone, “[He] helped fight the battles to protect [our] Community.”


2016 Chief Azule Scholar & Citizenship Award Winners


Fourth Grade

1st—Caswell Gerlaugh-Sam, Blackwater Community School

2nd— Nevaeh Quiroz, Blackwater Community School

3rd— Alayna Mark, Sacaton Elementary School


Fifth Grade

1st— Adriella Gambler, Blackwater Community School

2nd— Gabriel Lewis, Blackwater Community School

3rd— Azaria Enos, Sacaton Middle School


Sixth Grade

1st— Sineca Jackson, Conley Elementary School

2nd— Phoenix Bojorquez, Imagine Prep Coolidge

3rd— Elysa Martinez, Skyline Gila River D5


Seventh Grade

1st—Kylie Allison, Hohokam Middle School

2nd—Joseph Laborin, Imagine Prep Coolidge

3rd—Anthony Blackwater, Hohokam Middle School


Eighth Grade

1st—Rachael Whempner, Vista Del Sur Accelerated Academy

2nd— Angelica Ulate, Skyline Gila River D5

3rd— Hope Miles, Imagine Prep Coolidge


Ninth Grade

1st— Lorenza Aleman, Coolidge High School

2nd— Zachary Quimayousie, Imagine Prep Coolidge

3rd­­— Jessica Rios, Betty H. Fairfax High School


Tenth Grade

1st— Jered Lewis, Coolidge High School

2nd— Karissa Mark, Imagine Prep Coolidge

3rd— Rheanna Jackson, Coolidge High School


Eleventh Grade

1st— Hunter Nish, Coolidge High School

2nd—Selena Whitman, Coolidge High School

3rd—Selena Jackson, Coolidge High School


Twelfth Grade

1st—Danielle Whempner, Betty H. Fairfax High School

2nd—Bianca Hernandez, Casa Grande Union High School

3rd—Ashley Thompson, Casa Grande Union High School



1st—Raquel Romero, Arizona State University

2nd—Gary Mix, University of Oregon

3rd—DeAnna Ringlero, South Mountain Community College


Citizenship Awards (Twelfth Grade)

1st—Danielle Whempner, Betty H. Fairfax High School

2nd—Bianca Hernandez, Casa Grande Union High School

3rd—Ashley Thompson, Casa Grande Union High School

Lorenz Saiza, Coolidge Alternative Program

Mariana Allison, Coolidge Alternative Program

Gabriel Madrid, Coolidge High School

Olivia Hogg, Coolidge High School

Manuel Lewis, Vista Grande High School

Priscilla Rhodes, Casa Grande Union High School

Marissa Sunna, Vista Grande High School

Jesus Flores, Vista Grande High School

Martin Solarez Jr., Casa Grande Union High School

Roman Sabori, Casa Grande Union High School

Salindarose Antone, Casa Grande Union High School

Daniel Lewis, Coolidge Alternative Program