May 18, 2006

Sandia, Lockheed Martin honor 21 local high school seniors for achievement in the face of hardships

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thunderbird Awards were recently presented to 21 graduating high school seniors who have overcome obstacles with ability, determination, and desire to turn their lives around, and also raise their grade point average.

Thunderbird Awards were created in 1994 by Sandia National Laboratories and Lockheed Martin and are given out yearly. A $1,500 check is included in each award to assist the recipients in continuing their education.

“Every year these students put my perspective on life in check,” says Sandia project leader Cheryl Garcia. “They set examples for all of us. I am happy that Sandia can help them, even in a small way.”

The students are from 11 Albuquerque public high schools, five alternative schools, and five outlying schools including Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Belen and Moriarity.

This year’s recipients are: Albuquerque High School, George J. Marquez III; Belen High School, Ashley Saavedra; Bernalillo High School, Rebecca Salazar; Cibola High School, Alonso Acosta; Del Norte High School, Madina Jabarkhail; Eldorado High School, Alisha Bacoccini; Evening High School, Jenna Jojola; Freedom High School, Sam Barron; Highland High School, Katrice Grant; La Cueva High School, Ryan Freeman; Los Lunas High School, Austin Arnold; Manzano High School, Stephanie Wong; Moriarity High School, Leilani Montoya; New Futures School, Hope Ulibarri; Rio Grande High School, Bodrick Crawford Jr.; Rio Rancho High School, Jessica Marquez; Sandia High School, Tara Matzick; School on Wheels, Erica Ortiz; Sierra Alternative, Kelli Hoard; Valley High School, Chelsea Briede; and West Mesa High School, Pascuala Mayorga.

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Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia media contact: Iris Aboytes,, (505) 844-2282

Sandia project leader:  Cheryl Garcia,, (505) 284-5202