Apache Junction High School security officer steers students to success

Apache Junction High School (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Sam Valencia is a driving force at Apache Junction High School.

He is a full time security officer who can be seen rolling through the campus on a golf cart checking on potential threats and problems. While criminals may be intimidated by his presence, the students greet him with a smile and friendly wave, a press release states.

Sam Valencia

Mr. Valencia is a team player who is willing to help others. Since he has a commercial driver’s license, he often helps out by transporting athletic teams, the band or color guard to events.

Mr. Valencia’s skills extend to other directions — especially sports.

He was named head varsity girls basketball coach in 2018 and led the Lady Prospectors to a 7-3 record in region play. His leadership was also recognized by his fellow regional coaches. They voted him Coach of the Year for the Black Canyon region in 2019.

Although it was his first year coaching the AJHS girls basketball team, Coach Valencia is no stranger to navigating teams toward success. He has coached basketball at the high school level for the last 10 years. He is also the head junior varsity girls volleyball coach at AJHS.

Coach Valencia’s love of sports and coaching runs the gamut. He has coached varsity baseball, JV baseball, JV volleyball, track and field, cross-country, JV high school flag football, JV high school softball, junior high softball, junior high flag football, YMCA basketball and National Youth Sports.

Coach Valencia’s believes in a holistic approach in developing a team, according to a release.

“I create an enjoyable environment for the student athletes,” Coach Valencia said in a prepared statement.

“I also build a coaching staff to complement team goals and philosophies. With that being said, there is an understanding of what my expectations are: discipline, accountability, selflessness and above average standards.”

Although he has a solid record and is well respected by parents, staff and students, Coach Valencia’s coaching philosophy goes beyond winning.

He concentrates on developing a well-rounded athlete. He believes academics, work ethic, morals and attitude will drive the school’s athletes to excel on and off the court.

The direction is clear.

“Coach Valencia’s passion and enthusiasm for the game of basketball is contagious,” Dawn Schwenckert, athletic director at AJHS, said. “We are truly fortunate to have such a high-quality coach for our program. His commitment to our athletes is unmatched.”

The Apache Junction Independent publishes a daily newsletter and website. A print edition is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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