Morenci High School hall of Fame

MHS Hall of Fame was initiated by Site Council in 2014, and became a reality in the spring of 2016. Our nominees meet certain criteria and have significant ties to Morenci High School. They must be an outstanding alumni, have made meaningful contributions to MUSD and have had significant career success after both MHS and post-secondary education.

Our induction ceremony highlights positive role models for all students currently at Morenci High School. The inductees’ acceptance speeches provide words of encouragement to strive to become future members of our Hall of Fame. 

2017- 2018

Deborah G. Armbrust was born in Morenci, Arizona to Don and Gwendolyn Grady on June 8, 1952. She graduated from Morenci High School in the class of 1970 and was a cheerleader all four years of high school. She was chosen to attend Girl’s State and won the prestigious Betty Crocker Award. In addition, she was the Salutatorian of her class, and was awarded multiple scholarships. Debbie went on to attend the University of Arizona where she graduated with high distinction obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974.

Deborah began her teaching career at Clifton Public Schools where she taught second grade for two years. She then continued her teaching career for Morenci Unified School District for another 25 years at the fifth grade level, where she influenced so many lives. She took two short breaks during her tenure to be a stay at home mother and raise her family of two boys, Russ and Tim. She also became a real estate agent while raising her family, but soon realized that she missed her passion for teaching young children and returned to the classroom until she finally retired from the teaching profession in 2007.

Debbie’s love for the outdoors led to the creation of a survival skills class that became very popular as an annual even with the assistance of the Greenlee County Search and Rescue Team. Being a copper miner’s daughter led to another unique educational opportunity. She developed a teaching segment to educate her students on the value of mining and what copper mining meant to Morenci and the surrounding areas. Debbie made a point to take the student of the week out to lunch to motivate and recognize their achievements. In 2003, Armbrust was awarded the distinguished honor of being named the Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year.

Debbie was also very active with her husband holding leadership and committee roles in professional and conservation organizations within the Morenci and Safford communities. One of her favorite roles post-retirement was participating on the scholarship committee for the Southeastern Arizona Sportsmen’s Club.

Family and teaching meant everything to Debbie. She was thoughtful and full of kindness. She was happily married to her husband Jim Armbrust for 43 years, until her passing in 2017. Her motto was “Never quit loving and learning”. 

Deborah Armbrust
Hall of Fame Inductee
2017 - 2018

As a teacher in Morenci from the years of 1970 to 2000, Gail Ann Lichtenhan’s words and actions inspired several generations of Morenci Wildcats. Lichtenhan joined the ranks of Morenci faculty members in September of 1970 as a first grade teacher at Modoc School. She credits her principal Mr. Tony Boling and colleagues Mrs. Madeline Broderick and Mrs. Juanita Meeler for assisting in her successful transition into the classroom. After 3 years, Gail transferred to Fairbanks Middle School to teach eighth grade and never looked back. She taught junior high for the rest of her career at Morenci.

During her tenure at Fairbanks Middle School, Gail coached junior high volleyball, directed several eighth-grade plays, and assisted with eighth-grade graduation. She also established the Morenci Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Lichtenhan took a short break from the classroom to serve as an administrator at Longfellow School, but missing the classroom, she returned to Fairbanks and junior high Language Arts.

In 1983, when the junior and senior high school were combined, Lichtenhan’s role was expanded greatly. While continuing to teach junior high Language Arts, she took on the role of teaching Publications and Photography and the high school level. She held that position for 11 years. During that time the program was expanded to include Wildcat Tracks, a newsletter published by freshmen periodically throughout the school year. For her efforts, she was inducted as an honorary member into the Quill and Scroll Society.

Upon retiring from Morenci in 2000, Lichtenhan moved to Phoenix to work for the Arizona Mining Association in their outreach program for teachers. During her tenure there, she provided field trips to Arizona mines, weekend workshops, and a summer program to teach Arizona’s educators about the copper-mining industry. This program was later expanded to include all of Arizona’s natural resources. In 2004, she came back into education teaching junior high Language Arts, Social Studies, Art for the Continental School District in Green Valley. Later in 2008, she taught second grade for a year in Benson, Arizona, before permanently laying down the chalk and retiring from the classroom.

In addition to her many years of service, Gail is also a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, and P.E.O International Sisterhood, a philanthropic organization dedicated to the educational advancement of women throughout the world. 

Gail Lichtenhan
Hall of Fame Inductee
2017 - 2018

When people that knew Noralea Gale hear her name, the first thing they think of and remember was her wonderful smile and that she was a true Wildcat. Noralea was a native of Arizona who was born, along with her twin sister, on her parents’ cattle ranch in Klondye, Arizona. After graduating from a two-room grade school, where her mother was also her teacher, she attended high school in Safford, Globe, and Duncan. College days were spent at Arizona State University, where upon arrival, she and her sister were met by campus reporters and photographers who thought she was from Klondike, Alaska. Always active in sports, she was the only Junior in her class to earn a Varsity letter at ASU. Noralea graduated from ASU in May of 1950 completing her Bachelor’s Degree in three years. She earned her Master’s Degree from Western New Mexico University in 1967.

After marrying the love of her life, Robert, she began her 37-year career in the Morenci school system in 1950. She taught second, third, and fourth grades for eight years before moving on to the high school where she taught P.E. for the next 29 years. Coaching tennis and volleyball were among the highlights of her career. She began coaching tennis in 1962 and had 21 seasons as head tennis coach, winning three state titles. She began coaching volleyball in 1969, leading Morenci to four state championships in addition to numerous conference titles. Noralea was the first Morenci volleyball coach after World War II. She was named Tennis Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association in 1995. Noralea was also the cheerleading and Pompom coach for 13 years. In addition, she was the sponsor of the Girls League and Interscholastic Girls Athletic Association. She loved taking girls on the infamous Girls League trips to provide them the opportunity to attend cultural events. One of the most prestigious and memorable moments of her career was receiving her Arizona Interscholastic Association lifetime membership.
Upon retirement, Noralea and Robert moved to Thatcher, Arizona, but never stopped being Morenci Wildcat supporters. She became very involved in the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary (VFW) in support of her grandsons serving in the United States Army. It was very important to her that all local active duty soldier received care packages from home. Noralea had the opportunity to impact multiple generations as a teacher, a coach, a friend, and a mentor, but always a Wildcat. Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat.  

Noralea Gale
Hall of Fame Inductee
2017 - 2018

2016- 2017

Hector Ruedas
Hall of Fame Inductee
2016 - 2017

Hector Ruedas has been synonymous with Morenci School District and the Morenci town site for many years. He was born and raised here in Morenci, Arizona, graduating as a member of the class of 1962. He was a member of the Morenci High School band for four years. Upon graduating from MHS, Hector attended both Eastern Arizona College and Western New Mexico University respectively. He graduated from Western New Mexico with a degree in Business Administration. He served a tour in Vietnam with the United States Army as a member of the Fourth Infantry Division from 1967 to 1968. After returning from Vietnam, Hector began working for Phelps Dodge where he was employed for 31 years, 19 of which he worked as a Senior Metallurgist and Cost Accountant. He was also an Employee Relations Representative for 12 years. He retired in 2001.

For most people, 31 years for the same company would be considered a full career, but not Hector. In addition to working at Phelps Dodge, he also served on the Morenci School Board for an amazing 35 years. During his tenure on the Morenci School Board, he was instrumental in both the design and construction of the Morenci High School facility, the Sumitomo Park and softball fields, the swimming pool, and the creation of 12 additional classrooms for Metcalf Elementary. The area containing the 12 classrooms was named the Hector Ruedas Educational Building as a tribute to his tireless efforts to help improve Morenci schools. He was also a member of both the Arizona and National School Board Associations. His unremitting devotion to Morenci Schools was recognized on a state level in 2003, when he was selected to the All-Arizona School Board, which is the highest award for a school board member in Arizona.

In addition to his many years of service to Morenci schools, he also served the entire Greenlee County for 18 years as a member of the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors. As Supervisor he served on the Interagency Mexican Grey Wolf Adaptive Management Oversight Committee, and the East Region Resources Advisory Committee for the Arizona Department of Homeland Security. In addition, he was a member of the County Supervisors Association, National Association of Counties, and the Arizona Town Hall. His steadfast desire to serve Greenlee County led to his being elected Arizona Supervisor of the Year in 2009, and an appearance in the publication Hispanic Who's Who in America. On top of an already distinguished career of service, Hector was also a member of the Morenci Lions Club, and the Holy Cross Catholic Church, where he served on the Finance Council and was a board member of the Diocese of Tucson. 

Joseph Galusky
Hall of Fame Inductee
2016 - 2017

For thirty years, Mr. Joseph Galusky instilled a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning in the students at Morenci High School. He was born on November 28, 1916 in West Virginia. Upon graduation from Kingwood High School, he attended West Virginia Wesleyan College where he earned both a BS in Chemistry and Physics in addition to a Master's Degree in Chemistry and Botany. He later served his country during World War II by enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

Galusky began his teaching career at Morenci High School in 1953. He taught Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science for thirty years until his retirement at the end of the 1983 school year. In 1974 he was awarded the distinguished honor of being named Arizona Science Teacher of the Year.

Joseph was an active member of the Morenci Lions Club, Holy Cross, and later Saint Rose of Lima Catholic churches. He also volunteered his time collecting tickets for various sporting events at Morenci High School. Furthermore he was a sponsor for the National Honor Society.

In his younger years, Joseph was a talented baseball player. His talent and love for the game carried over throughout his life. He umpired both high school and community sponsored baseball games in the Morenci area.

One thing Mr. Galusky always took pride in was telling others “Taught school for thirty years in Morenci and never missed a day.” He always put the needs of his students first and spent countless hours ensuring that they met their respective goals. He was a mentor to his students, and his unique blend of humor and science is talked about to this day.

A devoted family man, Joseph was happily married to Francis Galusky for 61 years until his passing in 2009. He raised three children: Cynthia Grady, Gregory Galusky, and Timothy Galusky. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. This great man touched the lives of so many during his tenure at Morenci High Sc

William R. Senne
Hall of Fame Inductee
2016 - 2017

From the years spanning between 1969 and 2006 Mr. William R Senne was the cornerstone of academic achievement for Morenci High School and the Morenci School District. Upon receiving his BA in Education from the University of Arizona in 1969, Senne began his tenure at Morenci High School. Later on in 1972, he received his Master Degree in History. While at Morenci High School, Senne taught the full spectrum of classes from Driver's Education, Geography, U.S and World History to Economics, Psychology, ACT/SAT Preparation, and Advanced Placement U.S. History.

Mr. Senne's Advanced Placement U.S. History was the first of its kind at Morenci High School. While under his watch, the class consistently scored higher than the national average. Senne was also responsible for the creation of an Independent Studies class which won second place in the state Golden Bell Awards in 1991. Furthermore, as the Senate Youth Program coach, he coached three students to win positions in the U.S Senate national competition. Other activities sponsored by Senne over the years include the Chess Club, the Junior and Senior classes, and Citizen Bee. Both Senne's Knowledge Bowl and Academic Decathlon teams consistently scored highly at both the local and state levels.

After Morenci Senne taught for a year at Benson High School where his students received the highest writing score in the history of the school on the AIMS Test. He also served on his church's Board of Elders for six years and the Tucson Mountain Sanctuary HOA Board of Directors for four years as its President. Both the school site and the community in Morenci will forever be indebted to Mr. Senne for his tireless efforts and accomplishments.

2015- 2016

Ernest Calderon is a 1975 graduate and along with his siblings, Albert & Elaine, is a second generation graduate of Morenci High School and is a lawyer. While at Morenci High School, Ernie was co-editor-in-chief of the Copper Cat, served as student body president, was a four year varsity letterman (participated in football and track), was a member of the National Honor Society, Quill & Scroll Society, French Club, Chess Club, 220 & 250 Clubs, Eagle Scout, 1974 Congressional Scholar, and was a delegate to Model U.N .. His parents were Nellie & Albert Calderon for whom he created a scholarship at Morenci High School in their honor.

Professionally, Ernie served as president of the Arizona Board of Regents (which oversees Arizona's three public universities), president of the State Bar of Arizona, member of the American Law Institute, president of the Catholic Community Foundation of the Diocese of Phoenix, president of the Grand Canyon Council Boy Scouts of America, president of the St. Thomas More Society, and has served six Arizona governors by appointment.
He is a 1982 graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law and of Northern Arizona University (Who named its honor residence hall Calderon Learning Community as a tribute). In 1977, Ernie became the first Arizonan to receive the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Ernie was a Knight Grand Cross in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. He is married to Terri and has four adult children. He bleeds red and black. On Morenci! 

Ernest Calderon
Hall of Fame Inductee
2015 - 2016

Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia was born and raised in the copper mining town of Morenci, Arizona, Territory. He attended the University of Arizona where he earned three degrees including a Masters degree. 

In 1942, DeGrazia spent two months apprenticing under the famous Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera, who along with Jose Clemente-Orozco, sponsored a one man show of DeGrazia's artwork at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

DeGrazia is best known as an American impressionist, painter, sculptor, composer, actor, director, designer, architect, jeweler, and lithographer. He experimented with oil paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and water colors. A true Renaissance man. His painting, "Los Ninos", sold millions of copies, leading him to be known as "the world's most reproduced artist." Today, he is known around the world for capturing the spirit of the American Southwest and its people.

"I want to be notorious rather than famous. Fame has too much responsibility. People forget you are human." -Ted DeGrazia

Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia
Hall of Fame Inductee
2015 - 2016

Tom Powers has been synonymous with Morenci Schools for many years. Upon obtaining his BS from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas in 1970, Tom became the metal shop teacher at Morenci High School. He stayed in that position until 1976. Later he received his MA from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1974. Soon after, Tom became the Assistant Principal at Morenci High School. This was a position he held from 1976 to 2000, taking a short break from 1997-1998 where he served as Principal of Morenci High School. During his tenure at Morenci High School, he worked to establish the Morenci High School Knowledge Bowl program, and was instrumental in both the design and construction of the Morenci High School facility.

In addition to Assistant Principal, Mr. Powers also served as Athletic Director of Morenci High School. During his tenure as Athletic Director, he established both the Morenci High School softball program, and the Morenci Lions Club Baseball Tournament. He is a charter member of the Arizona Athletic Director's Association, recipient of the Arizona Coaches Association President's Award in 1997, and was twice voted Arizona Athletic Director of the Year in 1982 and 1992 respectively.

Tom Powers now serves as the Greenlee County Superintendent of Schools where he works tirelessly to benefit the youth of the entire county. Furthermore he is the Founding Director of the MHS-CHS Alumni Association and Foundation. An innovator and a visionary, Mr. Tom Powers has played a significant part in making not only Morenci Unified School District, but the entire Greenlee County school systems into the successful organizations that they are today.  

Tom Powers
Hall of Fame Inductee
2015 - 2016

Tony G. Boling was Superintendent of Morenci Public Schools from 1973-1990 and Administrative Assistant from 1990-1994. Tony graduated from high school in 1951 and attended Eastern Arizona JC on an athletic scholarship in both football and basketball. After graduating, he was offered a scholarship in basketball at ASU. He was only able to attend for one semester as he was drafted into the US Army for the next two years. His last year he spent stationed in Japan, and was discharged in 1956. He worked at Phelps Dodge and then returned to ASU to finish his degree. He was always grateful for the G.I. Bill, which helped finance his Bachelors of Arts and his Master's in Education.

He began his career as a teacher and coach in 1959 at Morenci High School. In 1969 he became Principal at Modoc Elementary School and in 1971 he was selected to be the first Principal of Fairbanks Middle School. In 1973 he became Assistant Superintendent of Morenci Public Schools, and in 1974 he was promoted to Superintendent. He retired in 1994 having served 21 years in Administration.

His career in education was a unique and ever-changing period not only in the history of Morenci Public Schools, but in the town itself. During his tenure, Morenci was relocated to its present site, the town of Clifton flooded and the strike at Phelps Dodge Corporation occurred in 1983. He was involved in the demolition of the old schools and construction of the new. Also, due to the strike, the schools had declining enrollment which meant not only less students but less money to run the schools. For many years, this created difficult budget times and everyone had to do their share to keep costs minimal.

After retirement he spent many years serving on local and state electric cooperative boards. He started at Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative Board and went on to serve both the State Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Board and the Transco Cooperative Board. His most enjoyable retirement time was spent building anything and everything. He spent many happy hours building, using the knowledge and experience he had learned during the construction of the new schools. For thirty-five years, he was a true Morenci Wildcat.   

Tony Boling
Hall of Fame Inductee
2015 - 2016