RRHS STUCO, principal earn statewide honors

RRHS STUCO, principal earn statewide honors
Posted on 02/22/2023
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Rio Rico High School’s student council and principal each earned top awards from the Arizona Association of Student Councils during the AASC’s state convention in January.

The RRHS Student Council was named Outstanding Council with Distinction – the highest honor received by Arizona student councils – and Principal Hector Estrada was named the Administrator of the Year during the event hosted by Mohave High School in Bullhead City, Ariz.

The Outstanding Council with Distinction award “was created as a standard for what an exceptional council should be doing on campus and for their community,” said Joseph Scott, RRHS teacher and student council advisor.

In order to be considered for the award, student councils must submit a digital scrapbook or video of their work, including accomplishments and budget information. The applications are then reviewed by the AASC Board, which consists of nine adults and four students from across the state.

According to a news release from the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District, the RRHS council applied for the award on the basis of “their display of leadership, community service, and activities that emphasize the inclusion of marginalized groups.”

Examples of their work included the addition of the Campus Cabinet, an entity comprised of the presidents of all of the school’s clubs that aims to improve communication. In addition, the council’s Homecoming activities involved students and families from across all SCVUSD school sites, and during Teacher Appreciation Week, the council created “thank you” posters that signed and delivered to teachers.

“The focus on inclusion across campus and within the community certainly stood out,” the district said.

Principal’s prize

The AASC Administrator of the Year is selected based on the person’s encouragement of the democratic process, citizenship service, idea exchange, and problem-solving among their student body.  

RRHS senior Kazandra Navarro nominated Principal Estrada for the award, praising him for cultivating a student-oriented atmosphere at the school.

“He always says, ‘This is your school, I just work here.’ This goes to show that he is building a culture at RRHS that empowers its students,” Navarro wrote in her nomination letter. 


RRHS Principal Hector Estrada is showered with confetti after being announced as the Administrator of the Year.

She also noted that Estrada’s addition of a student senate had provided students an effective tool for making their voices heard, and praised him for his concern for equity.

“He understands that not every student has the same access to resources and opportunities outside of school; therefore, he is striving to create an equitable environment,” Navarro wrote.

Paulette Ledezma, student body president at RRHS, wrote in her own letter that Estrada “is such a kind and caring administrator,” and praised him for always being the “estrella” lighting up the room.

Voicing her support for the student nominations, Assistant Superintendent Melisa Lunderville said that Estrada, who has served as RRHS principal since 2019, “clearly understands the importance of developing relationships and the impacts that those relationships can have on the culture of your school.”