Talon News - Good Local News

By Lisa Bailey



April 13, 2018

When Aztec High School (AHS) principal Dr. Warman Hall was asked to nominate a student for a young citizen's award from The New Mexico Association of Chiefs of Police, he did not need to think long. And, after Dr. Hall visited with other administrators everyone was in agreement that Isaiah Mendietta was the right choice. They were all fully aware of Isaiah Mendietta's outstanding character and integral presence on campus, as well as in the community. Dr. Hall thinks Isaiah literally epitomizes the award's criteria.

Isaiah, a sophomore, is a member of the AHS Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC). In fact, he is the highest-ranking cadet, a Battalion Commander. Yet, Isaiah is a humble young man. Dr. Hall refers to Isaiah as a "quiet leader", who is "a good example to his peers". One might find Isaiah volunteering on campus, mediating amongst fellow students, on parking detail during school events or even on a local emergency scene as a volunteer fire fighter.

AHS Principal Dr. Warman Hall and Isaiah Mendietta display Isaiah's Young Citizen Award from NM Association of Police Chiefs. - PHOTO L. Bailey-TALON

Although the award was presented in December, within a week of the AHS shooting, his nomination and being chosen, had nothing to do with being from AHS or his actions during the incident. The nomination had been sought earlier in the fall. However, reflecting on that tragic day, Isaiah and Dr. Hall shared how Isaiah did assist faculty in getting students to designated areas for safety. Then, asked permission to access his emergency radio from his responding volunteer fire unit.

The award was presented at a very formal event at an Albuquerque hotel. Isaiah was escorted by his parents and wore his (JROTC) "dress blues". He was the single recipient of the honor for the entire state of New Mexico. In addition to the New Mexico Association of Chiefs of Police, the presentation ceremony was attended by representatives from prestigious schools and companies that made Isaiah aware of educational and employment opportunities he could pursue. Currently, Isaiah plans to join the Army after graduation.


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