KINGMAN - Tenaya Snider is hoping to continue her academic success at the University of Arizona.
The KHS senior obtained a four-year academic scholarship covering tuition and additional expense at the university in Tucson.
"It was just a wonderful reward for all of my hard work," Snider said.
Snider said she is undecided on her major at this time. "I really want to make a difference in a child's life, whether that is through teaching or counseling, I really don't know."
Snider will take 32 college credits into her first year at UA from dual-credit and AP courses at KHS. She said those credits will allow her to take a variety of classes her freshman year.
"I think I'll be able to look around and find what interests me," she said, "find my own niche."
At KHS, Snider was involved with the Drama Club for four years, Future Business Leaders of America for three years, the independent study program for two years, Salt Club for two years and National Honors Society for two years.
"I've had the opportunity to experience a lot," Snider said.
Having been involved in drama since elementary school, Snider has been the lead for the two plays at KHS this academic year. She also qualified for the FBLA National Leadership Conference after winning second place in Business Communications and Business Procedures categories at the 2009 Arizona FBLA State Leadership Conference.
Looking back on her high school career, Snider said she has found it to be very rewarding.
"I think the part I'll remember the most is the memories I made with my friends and our accomplishments," she added.
Seeking those memories is advice Snider has given to her younger brother, Dakota, who is a freshman at KHS.
"I tell him to enjoy every moment you can," Snider said.
"It passes very quickly."
Born in Las Vegas, Snider came to Kingman at age 5 and has spent her entire educational career in the Kingman Unified School District.
She has seen the best and the worst of the district during that time.
Snider said she wishes the district would offer more opportunities for gifted students.
"I think that they need parents to say, 'My child isn't receiving the education that he or she needs,'" Snider said.
Parental involvement is just as needed as passion among students to want to learn, she added. Filling the classrooms with teachers who want to actually teach is another focus Snider hoped the district would have. "There are so many teacher here that just don't want to be here," she said.
There are three teachers that Snider pegged as her favorites for helping to shape her educational path. The first is Hualapai Elementary third-grade teacher Loni Keller. "She was the first teacher ever, really, to push me to succeed," Snider said.
Keller remembered Snider as one of the most personable students that she has ever taught.
"Her love for learning is contagious," Keller said. "She is not reluctant to accept challenges, even when they are uncomfortable. Tenaya is a young lady that has not only a zest for learning, but a vibrant spirit as well."
Keller is inspired to teach because of Snider and student like her.
At KHS, Snider enjoyed learning under English teacher Joylene Gaska and chemistry teacher David Partridge.
Snider said Partridge also pushed her to excel.
"He was another teacher who always encouraged me to go above and beyond," she added.
Going above and beyond is what has made Snider a role model for all students, Partridge said. "She is an absolutely wonderful student and person," he said. "I have been teaching for 18 years and she is at the top of my list for best, brightest and favorite students."
Partridge felt he never needed to motivate Snider though because he described her as a self-starter and loves learning. As for Gaska, Snider said her English teacher's focus is on the students.
"She really cares about her students," Snider said. "She is always, always willing to make us better."
In class, Gaska stated Snider has gained the respect of her teachers and her peers through her intelligence and compassion. "Tenaya has been one of the most enthusiastic students I have taught in recent years," Gaska said.
Gaska worked with Snider as the independent study program advisor. "I will sincerely miss her when she graduates," Gaska said.