Being nominated for Selfless Senior is an honor onto itself; however, being nominated by THREE teachers is special. Clarizza Morales Chacon is a worthy recipient who was recognized by three teachers for her outstanding contributions her school, her community and the world around her.
“There are a lot of people out there that do community service,” says Ms. Morales Chacon, who says she was both excited and emotional upon hearing the news. “For me to be the Selfless Senior is like a great representation of other students that do community service and help their community. It’s an honor for me to represent our school community and all my peers who make a difference in not just the school but also the community itself.”
Here is a sampling of comments made by her nominators:
“Clarizza demonstrates the quiet form of leadership that helps the overall organization without having to claim the spotlight,” said math teacher Dr. Joseph Jung. “When she sees that something needs attention, it just magically happens without a lot of noise or attention.”
Ms. Joan Leyba, chemistry teacher, explain, “It became evident very quickly that Clarissa was an exceptional young lady. Her notes were impeccable, lab reports were written with such detail, calculations were completed step by step and her conclusions were written with precision. Objectives were stated, results were well supported with data and her analysis connected her results and the purpose of the lab directly with concepts covered in class.”
Finally, Ms. Diane Russell, wrote about one of Clarizza’s many volunteer endeavors. “Clarizza was instrumental in our family center receiving a 4,000 grant for a food pantry from the UNM Medical School Office of Diversity. She helped write the grant and is looking forward to painting, building the shelfs, and help stocking it through the Road Runner Food bank.”
Included among Clarizza’s many accomplishments and endeavors are:
- member of Upward Bound UNM;
- currently ranked in the top 25 of her class;
- attended a symposium at Duke University for Minority Women in Science where she attended seminars on science careers;
- has been with the MESA/Dream-Makers program for the last four years. This year, she served as Co-President. She has put in many hour beyond what is required to help the team get ready for yearly competitions by creating race cars, prosthetic arms or the Science Bowl competition in our MESA/Dream Makers club;
- chosen to be in The Health Careers Academy program through the UNM-Medical School;
- president of the National Spanish Honor Society and a member of the National Honor Society at Atrisco;
- participating in an internship at the UNM School of Dentistry;
- an usher at her church, and helps with many of the events at the church;
- attends events with Jaguars for Positive Change including visits senior living facilities where she helps the elderly;
- first responder for the American Red Cross where she is certified in first aid, CPR & the AED.
"I had the honor of visiting with Clarissa Morales this week to congratulate her as our recipient of the APS Selfless Senior Award," explains interim principal Irene Cisneros. "She is an amazing young lady who 'loves to help anyone'. Her internal instincts to be of service are special. Her big ideas and bright smile lit up my office as they light up the classroom and I can see why she was nominated and selected."
Ms. Morales Chacon joins an impressive list of Jaguars who have been honored with Selfless Seniors awards. She understands both importance and the prestige that comes with joining such an inspiring group.
“All the past winners are great leaders in the community, but I didn’t think that I could be seen as a leader as well. I want to inspire others to continue to be their best and helping to make change. That’s what being Selfless Senior means: you do something for someone else and impact someone’s life and you don’t have to let people know about it.”
Finally Ms. Morales Chacon understands the importance of building relationships and how that has helped reach the place she is in today. Those relationships include the three teachers (Dr. Jung, Ms. Leyba, Ms. Russell) who nominated her.
“I’m very grateful and thankful for the relationship that I have created with each of them. I want to thank them for believing in me and supporting me. My high school and middle career have not been very easy and if it wasn’t for the support of my teachers and counselors and the people in my family who support me and believe in me, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
All the APS Foundation Selfless Senior recipients will be honored at a ceremony to be held in April of 2017.