Ariana Soto was voted Senior of the Month for May. She loves the teachers at GPFAA, saying, they support students not just academically but also in their strand. “My strand art has made a big impact on me. The way that we work and the way that we do commissions helps me with the way I will go about situations in life.”
Ariana has learned dedication as well as caring at GPFAA. Being here kept her committed, from passing AP classes to time in the art studio. She plans to use these skills when she becomes a nurse. “Being here showed the dedication and how much I want to help kids.”
English teacher Monica Izquierdo says, “Ariana is a talented, inspiring and driven young woman with a great future ahead of her. She is a careful and creative thinker with an excellent eye for detail, making her an outstanding student and exceptional artist. Always willing to lend a hand, she has a smile for everyone and strives to be a positive influence in every situation. I’ve loved having Ariana in my English classes and will certainly miss her when she graduates!”
After graduation, she will attend Mountain View and then transfer to Texas Women’s University. She plans to major in pediatric nursing to help kids mentally, physically and emotionally.
Joryhebel Ginorio was voted one of the Seniors of the Month for April. She has been at GPFAA since it opened and has enjoyed seeing the school grow and offer more opportunities. She loves how the school feels like a family, especially in her theatre strand.
Her social studies teacher Cheryl Butterfield says, “Joryhebel is an amazing young lady. She is talented, insightful, and kind. Combine that with an exceptional work ethic, and you have one outstanding student! Because of her efforts, she has made GPFAA a better place and my life more rich!”
She learned from theatre “to be grateful and take advantage of every opportunity.” If you do, she says, everything will fall into place. Her advice: “Take everything with grace.”
Joryhebel hasn’t chosen a school for next year; however, she plans on getting a BFA in Musical Theatre and hopes to take that degree to pursue the stage in New York.
Elizabeth Jones is one of the Seniors of the Month for March. Elizabeth appreciates being able to collaborate at GPFAA. “People are a lot more open to being themselves, to being passionate about what they love.” She likes how no one feels the need to be cool.
Music teacher Henry Martinez says, “Elizabeth's glowing personality, honest work ethic, and musical aptitude make her one of the most memorable students to have traversed our hallways. I foresee great successes in her future!”
Elizabeth appreciates that she has had the opportunity to work with students from different strands to make music together. They perform in combos and the like.
Next year she will attend Brigham Young University in Idaho and get a music performance degree in cello with a pre-med path before going to med school.
Amaka Marchie is one of the Seniors of the Month for February. She appreciates the bond she has created with peers, teachers and administrators, which is unlike anywhere else. “I get to do life with people I love every day.” She says everyone is super nice and that GPFAA is like a big family.
Social Studies teacher Cheryl Butterfield says, “Amaka is a natural leader. As the Student Council president, she has been driven with a vision that she is constantly working toward. She models excellence for her peers and is always striving to achieve the best, both in Student Council and the classroom. She is going to change the world!”
GPFAA has helped her develop a strong work ethic and given her the dicipline to get things done that she can apply to other aspects of her life.
She’s 95% sure of what college she will attend next year and 100% sure she will study marketing and wants to be a music industry professional.
Lola De Los Santos was voted Senior of the Month for January. She really likes the environment at GPFAA, the people, the teachers and the respect everybody has for each other’s different craft. Lola is in Jazz Band.
Social Studies teacher Taylor Flemming says, “Lola has a drive and spirit to accomplish anything and everything. Whether she is competing in a triathlon (which she does all the time), playing the drums in Jazz Band, or racing through her school work, Lola strives to accomplish it all and succeed no matter the difficulty!”
GPFAA taught her to always be humble. “You can constantly be told how good you are or you did a great job, but always be humble about it. Be humble in everything you do.”
After high school she wants to get into UNT’s music program. She aspires to be a studio musician or on Broadway in the orchestra pit.
Kristina Lenkowsky was voted Senior Girl of the Month for December. She loves theatre at GPFAA because it opened up different aspects of working in theatre. She first focused on acting but then her passion became stage managing. “(Theatre) let me have multiple opportunities in the professional world.”
GPFAA also taught her to make her own opportunities. “If you want something, you have to work for it, and you can always find something new.”
Theatre director Brooke Potts says, “Kristina is one of the most hard-working people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She is passionate about her craft and wants to learn everything she can from anyone she can. Whether it’s stage managing the musical, helping hang lights for the middle school shows, or helping copy worksheets, I know I can rely on her for quality work and good conversation.”
Next year she will pursue a BFA in stage management.
Tori Carter was voted Senior of the Month for November. GPFAA has been a place where she is fully able to be herself in all of the different events and activities she has done. “I always feel that my opinions are valued, that I’m able to become the artist I know I am, and I always have the support system behind me to do whatever I want to do,” she says.
GPFAA helped her learn that it’s okay to be who she is and have an opinion, while still listening to others and being able to learn from them.
Her dance instructor Dani Warden says, "Tori is absolutely brilliant! She has an intellectual approach to her artistry which has allowed her to develop a unique style in dance and choreography. Her interest in humanities is inspiring to others. She is the epitome of powerful young women. She will be a difference maker in our world."
Next year she will attend college and study dance and African American studies, so she can continue to pursue her academic and artistic interests.
Jenna Eisel was voted Senior Girl of the Month for October. She says the Vocal Music strand has trained her and the rest of the choir to “work as a team to make beautiful music together,” which will help her in college, working with others to reach the big goal at the end.
She liked GPFAA because she could pursue her passion while taking other challenging classes and mixing with the other strands to get a combination of everything she wanted to learn.
Vocal Music director Joel Duarte says, “In addition to her academic excellence, Jenna is also a model student who sets a positive example for her peers. Her work ethic and focus on doing well is an inspiration to her classmates and has earned her a leadership role in the classroom where students often seek her help with various tasks/schoolwork throughout the day. Jenna is a wonderful young lady, and it has been my privilege being Jenna's Vocal Music director for seven years
For college she wants to major in biochemistry to prepare for med school.
The staff at GPFAA voted Kathryn Chambers to be the Senior Girl of the Month. About the school she most appreciates the freedom of expression. "You are left to your own devices in your strand, which allows you to grow internally and externally in your art." She says GPFAA taught her work ethic, time management and how to be more productive as a person.
Her art teacher Lena Rodriguez says, "Katie’s wit, enthusiasm and creativity have truly helped mold the culture within our studios. She is a natural leader who is dedicated to all she’s involved in. She is a great academic, artist, athlete and friend to her peers."
Next year she plans on attending the University of Colorado at Boulder to study art, journalism and creative writing.
Eddie Rodriguez is also Senior of the Month for May. He’s only been at GPFAA for two years, but he says his experience here changed him. He had never felt full support from a school before. He transferred here to the Mariachi strand, knowing he would excel with the support of staff and students.
GPFAA taught him how to talk to different types of people. “Being in a school where (students) are so open to uniqueness and finding their own identity, I was able to talk to people with different ideas. Now when I hear ideas that differ from mine, I don’t say, ‘No, you’re wrong.’ Instead I listen.” He says he will take with him “being able to communicate and relate to people, even though we’re not alike.”
Dean of Fine Arts Rich Laffey says, “I have come to know Eddie as he auditioned and entered GPFAA. He is a standout student, very talented in his craft, thoughtful and a mature young man. Eddie shows great promise for the future as he will soon graduate, enter college and is excited to study law and make a huge difference in the lives of other people. I will miss seeing him around, and he leaves a very high standard for the other Mariachi students to reach. I look forward to seeing his success in life and watching him as he impacts his world!”
After graduation, Eddie plans to study political science and human rights. He hopes to become an immigration attorney.
Jacob Arias is also a Senior of the Month for April. He says he found himself here at GPFAA, “And once I did, this school really hit home. I love it so much.” He wishes this school was a college because he would definitely stay next year.
His Vocal Music director Joel Duarte says, “This student is the personification of kindness. Jacob Arias is a team player and goes out of his way to treat others with respect. Although he is very talented in both the arts and academics, Jacob strives to stay humble and builds people up with positivity and love. Jacob is a wonderful young man, and it has been my privilege being Jacob's Vocal Music director for seven years.”
To be humble. That is what Jacob is taking away from GPFAA. “Since I came here in sixth grade, (Mr. Duarte) has said to be humble in everything you do, no matter how good you are.” Being humble will help you get where you need to go.
Next year Jacob plans on attending a community college before transferring to UTA or Texas Tech to study graphic design.
Oscar Recendez was voted Senior of the Month for March. He says of GPFAA, “being able to come to a school where I can do what I wouldn’t be able to in other schools means a lot.”
His science teacher Toni Szutkowski says, “Oscar is definitely one of a kind! He radiates joy and never fails to make his peers laugh. He is incredibly witty and inquisitive. He is always looking to dig deeper, and it made class so much more enjoyable because of the conversations his questions would elicit. He is confident in his intellect and is always willing to help out his neighbor. He is such a genuine guy and a blessing to know. I will definitely miss him when he graduates.”
Oscar says GPFAA taught him to be more adaptive to his situation. In the past he felt tied to one thing. “The teachers are really flexible, and that’s made me more flexible as a result.” He’s now able to be more free.
Next year he will attend UNT to study mechanical and energy engineering.
Chris Romo was voted Senior of the Month for February. He came to GPFAA as a junior and appreciates the effort made by teachers to challenge him in class. He’s learning a lot more, not just in his strand (Mariachi,) but in all of his classes, which has kept him focused.
His mariachi director Marta Ocampo says, “Chris is the type of student that is super reserved, but when he speaks, his brilliance comes forward and everyone takes note. His voice and musicianship have been a blessing to Marichi Sol Azteca! We love him.”
GPFAA has taught him the importance of interacting with diverse people. “There are a lot of different personalities here, and it’s good to be accepting of people because it prepares you for the real world.”
Next year he will attend Mountain View to work toward a Criminal Justice degree.
Triston Callahan was voted Senior of the Month for January. He says GPFAA is a great school with good academics and a lot of creative things to do. He is seldom bored at school.
Guitar teacher Henry Martinez says, "Triston never fails to bring his inspiring, positive energy and style into the classroom. Over the years, he has been part of my math, guitar, and piano classes, and always brightens the days of others with his pleasant and supportive nature."
When asked what he would take away from GPFAA, Triston says, “Working as a team, thinking about the individuals of that team, and learning how to be creatively disciplined.”
Next year he will attend a community college before transferring to a university to study biology. He’s thinking of going into psychiatry.
Adam Froese was voted Senior Boy of the Month for December. He says GPFAA really pushed him out of his comfort zone and challenged him to work harder to pursue his goals in Jazz Band, where he plays trombone, and also academics.
At GPFAA he says, “I’ve learned to persevere toward my goals, especially how to be responsible and get work done.”
Jazz Band director William Centera says, “Adam is our silent leader. He definitely leads by example and is always present, consistent, and prepared. He is a terrific student academically, and one of our hardest workers in the jazz program. We are especially proud of Adam, and I know he will be successful after he leaves GPFAA.”
Next year he will major in mechanical engineering, probably at UTA.
Christian Wikoff was voted Senior of the Month for November. He found GPFAA to be great not only because of the academically challenging, but it also honed the arts and allowed him to be who he is supposed to be. He loved the opportunities and resources to grow as an actor and musician. He says, “The musical has definitely been one of my biggest influences. It gave me the opportunity to grow in my abilities and to become friends with everyone.”
He likes how it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you have the chance to be who you are, and everyone respects that.
Music teacher Henry Martinez says, “Christian is one of the most earnest students that I have had the pleasure to instruct. He is always looking to go beyond the lesson of the day in order to enhance his knowledge and experience in class.”
After graduation, Christian will get a business degree while continuing to pursue music, specifically audio engineering.
Nathan Segura is the Senior Boy of the Month for October. He felt really supported at GPFAA, especially by the teachers who helped him grow and focus on what he enjoyed doing. “It really was a good experience, making new friends, and the teachers are so nice.”
He came to GPFAA as a shy seventh grader and credits the people here with his growing self-confidence and self-esteem.
His Orchestra director Richard Galvan says, “Nathan has such an optimistic approach to everyday life. He is positive force and is so hard-working. He is also one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.”
Next year he will attend UNT and major in business.
Mason Anderson was selected by the staff as September Boy of the Month. As a theatre student, he says he enjoys the variety of classes that the strand offers. When asked what he'll take away from GPFAA, he responded, "Work ethic and staying on top of my stuff will help me prepare for college specifically."
Theatre tech teacher Jordan Fetter says, "Mason has a magnetic personality, which makes him a natural leader. He is witty, energetic, and usually the life of the “party!” He is one of the most authentic people I have ever had the privilege to teach."
Next year he plans on attending Sam Houston State University to study Criminal Justice.