Angel Marquez honored as First GRIC Valedictorian at Coolidge High School Graduation

June 2, 2023


Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


The class of 2023 shared a substantial number of firsts and accolades by its graduates, including the first time a member of the Gila River Indian Community received the class valedictorian honor. This year Angel Marquez, District 1, excelled in the classroom and was honored at the Coolidge High School graduation on Thursday, May 24. 


“I’m proud to be here tonight and make my Community proud. It took a lot of hard work, but I’m glad I’m here today,” said Coolidge High School 2023 valedictorian Angel Marquez. “It’s emotional. I’ve been working hard for the past 18 years.”


Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis was a special guest and joined Coolidge High School administrators in the celebration honoring all the graduates, many of whom also represent GRIC. 


Marquez’s hard work paid off and paved the way for his professional goals. This fall, he will attend the University of Arizona to study molecular biology, minor in math, and ultimately head to medical school to pursue a career in Pathology. 


During his address at the graduation, Marquez said, “To say these past couple of years were less than eventful would be a lie as we had the experience of a lifetime.”  He recalled their freshman year as the start of the “virtual learning era” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, he celebrated his family and friends as his motivators to persevere and arrive that night as the valedictorian. 


After the graduation ceremony, Marquez offered inspiring advice to future GRIC graduates, urging them to remain motivated, avoid distractions, and work hard to achieve their goals, reminding them that they will succeed one day with perseverance.