The Arizona Interscholastic Association named two Catholic school administrators and three students as recipients of their annual champion awards. All of them represent Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale or Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix.
AIA’s Champion Awards recognize the state’s top high school athletes, teachers, coaches, administrators and schools for outstanding achievements, on and off the field. Recipients also uphold the organization’s six pillars of character.
The Notre Dame winners are:
- Monica Barrett, athletic director — Tony Komadina Award Outstanding Girls’ Athletic Programs
Finalists host an on-site evaluation visit from an AIA selection committee to verify narrative and written data highlighting advocacy of, and progress in, girls’ athletics. Following the on-site visits, the committee presents its recommendations to the AIA Executive Board for selection of the award recipients.
- Allison Heredia — 4A/5A Scholar Athlete Award
Heredia played soccer all four years at Notre Dame leading the team to 63 wins, despite a serious knee injury her sophomore year. The Saints voted her as the 2014 NDP Kathy Reisdorf Character Award Recipient, an award that best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, perseverance, selflessness and leadership by example.Heredia has been a part of the NDP Student Government helping coordinate Prom and being the chair for the Hope Kids Event. She also belongs to the school’s Diversity Club, Nation Honor Society and Ambassadors Club.
- Grant Zaro — 4A/5A Scholar Athlete Award
Zaro is at the top of his class at Notre Dame Prep — completing seven Advanced Placement courses and fourteen Honors courses — and he has earned numerous national and regional academic and achievement awards. He earned four varsity letters — cross country, swim and dive, soccer and track — and played Lacrosse all four years.
The Xavier College Preparatory winners are:
- Sophia Wix — 4A/5A Scholar Activity Award
From starring in the Xavier/Brophy theater productions to being President of Xavier Student Council; from working in the Helios Scholars Foundation Program Internship at TGen doing biomedical research to being a co-founder of the “Xavier Unplugged” music program that features the musical talent of Xavier/Brophy students in lunch time performances; Sophia has done it all. Her leadership skills and ability to involve students, faculty, parents and administration in cultural activities speaks for itself. These leadership skills have taken her to the stage at Carnegie Hall and are helping to bring Xavier Honor Choir to the Gold Level in Washington, DC.
- Sr. Joan Fitzgerald — Administrator of the Year Award
As principal for the last 40 years, Sr. Joan Fitzgerald has prepared young women to meet the challenges of a changing global society in a positive and productive manner. She was instrumental in leading the school to unsurpassed excellence both academically and on the playing field. She demands the best from her students — athletes and non-athletes alike — and these young women consistently deliver, bringing home countless honors earned both inside and outside the classroom.
Sr. Joan began the first required Christian Service Program in Arizona in 1975. She has also helped Xavier receive the United States Department of Education Blue Ribbon School designation three times, as well as National Merit Finalists, Commended Scholars, Black Scholars, Hispanic Scholars and Presidential Scholars during her years as an administrator.
For full bios, see list of recipients and finalists. Also of note is Alexis Salazar, a student at Sahuaro High School. The cross country and track and field star has been a leader at the Steubenville Conference in Tucson and a Life Teen leader since 2010. The awards presentation was streamed live online and can be viewed on-demand.