GRIC Students Recognized for Academic Achievements During Chief Azul Award Ceremony

Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


Students from across the Gila River Indian Community were recognized for their academic achievements during the annual Chief Azul Scholar & Citizenship Virtual Awards on May 21. The event was held virtually through Zoom and included speeches from Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Lt. Gov. Monica Antone and Tribal Education Director Isaac Salcido. 

“I am extremely proud of your accomplishments. To be nominated for such a special award speaks volumes of the kind of student [you] are. The kind of year that you have experienced is like no other. With all the challenges you have gone through this past year, you have become stronger,” said Miss Gila River, Alyse Marrietta. 

Gov. Lewis shared his remarks on the occasion, “You have dedicated yourself to becoming a Chief Azul Citizenship scholar. These are definitely distinctions. I hope you will always remember, that you were a part of this important recognition.”


Gov. Lewis said the Chief Azul award is a very special recognition bestowed upon students who exhibit leadership qualities and service to their community by being an example to others. “The Chief Antonio Azul awards are very special, to be recognized for such a prestigious award. It’s about leadership, it’s about being of service to your community and giving back,” said Gov. Lewis. 


He thanked all of the TED employees and advisors for their hard work for organizing the virtual event and for their efforts in assisting students throughout the pandemic. Gov. Lewis said, “I also want to thank our K-12 advisors, who have been tirelessly working with our surrounding schools to keep the channels of communication open, especially during the pandemic, that we are almost through.”


Lt. Gov. Monica Antone shared her support for the awardees and nominees for the Chief Azul Scholar and Citizenship awards. Lt. Gov. Antone said, “I encourage all of the students to keep pushing and striving towards their education as they advance to the next grade and into bigger opportunities. I know it can be hard with the challenges, but you have to be that role model, to your siblings and family. You are a gift to the Community.” 


Salcido said he was proud of all the students who were awarded and nominated for the Chief Azul awards. “We know all the effort that went into their success. It took the support of the Community and the leadership of the Community, all the work that was done in our schools and by families throughout this pandemic, including the hard work of keeping everybody safe through testing and other programs. I want to really extend my appreciation for all that excellent work.”


Lt. Gov. Antone said that she ‘tips her hat off’ to the students’ success and what they have been able to accomplish during the pandemic attending virtual learning sessions and completing hybrid curriculums. “We have to thank your families, parents, grandparents and guardians and most of all the teachers who are committed to your academic success,” said Lt. Gov. Antone.   


Below, are the 2021 Chief Azul & Citizenship Award winners: 

4th Grade - Bree ‘Ann Brooks

5th Grade - Lyn Dosela 

6th Grade - Anisa Jackson 

8th Grade - Peytan Duran 

9th Grade - Daniel Eble 

10th Grade - Angel Marquez 

11th Grade - Aaron Foote 

12th Grade - Mary Elias 


Undergraduate College Students 

Thomas Jacob Cortez


Citizenship Awardees

Cheerie Kisto

Erin Blackwater 

Jalen Apkaw

Joseph Bojorquez

Mary Elias 

Nicholas Flores 

Nickolas Harrison 

Peter Zaback 

Haili Trevino Gonzales