Primary Phoenix Firebird Nomination


Genesis Vasquez

An unforgettable day for senior Anthony Labrado was on March 11, 2016, Congressman Luis Gutierrez went to Phoenix Military Academy to nominate Labrado to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Zografo Argyres, Labrado’s mom, knows that her son is a hard worker because he has put every single minute into working towards his acceptance at the school as well as applying. She said Labrado always did his own thing, focused on what he wanted, and always had goals.

“Proud is an understatement. I am honored to be his mom,” said Argyres  

At a young age, Labrado began to be interested in the military. When he was accepted into PMA, he was the happiest kid on the planet. Argyres described Labrado as a person who has always had perseverance.

During the nomination ceremony, Gutierrez made sure to tell the audience about the opportunities that students have now, opposed to when he was a student. Although times are different, Gutierrez is dedicated to helping students advance to college and has members on his staff to achieve that goal. Gutierrez made sure to thank all the moms, especially Labrado’s for being at the ceremony.

Gutierrez, with the help of his committee staff, reviewed all of the student applications and could only nominate one student per district. Students have to meet the personal and academic requirements such as having a good grade point average and high score on the ACT. All applicants are evaluated on their academics, physical fitness, and leadership.

“Labrado has the GPA, scholastic achievement, and training here (at PMA) that undoubtedly helped him. Not all men at West Point get the help like Labrado has,” said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez believes that institutions such as PMA should be funded because they are encouraging. He thanks Labrado for applying to West Point, and said he has an obligation to return to PMA to show what he has done.

In his speech, Labrado talked about how at a young age he wanted to be in the military and since sixth grade he wanted to attend PMA. He showed his dedication to the academy in November when Gutierrez first came to PMA. Labrado thanks the Congressman and his staff, his peers that helped him through everything such as Ingrid Pureco and Stephani Lopez, and his teachers like Ms. Comeford and Ms. Johnson for everything they have done. He also thanks the JROTC instructors for teaching him everything about the military and serving the country.

Labrado is a very gentle soul, and alike good leaders, he sometimes pushes himself to the point where he forgets about himself, and I think that he finally did something great for himself and he has set up his future for further greatness. I was there for him emotionally and motivation wise, but I believe that although I helped, 99% of his acceptance was due to him and his hard work. Everyone needs a little push, Stephani Lopez and I were that push for Labrado.  As time passed,  he bettered himself by allowing me to remove something off his shoulders; all the negative emotions and thoughts. He is a great person and leader and the friendship means so much. He has grown to be like my big brother, and as so, I’m glad to see his every step towards what he wants and had been wanting for a long time,” said Pureco.

Pureco teared up during the time that Labrado thanked her because although they met a little over a year ago, he has been there for her many times and is a good friend. She thinks his acceptance means he has succeeded and overcome all the obstacles.

Labrado’s mom taught him everything about life and he is very grateful for having her, as well as his stepfather who is a hard worker and gave him a guideline of what being a man in this world is. Labrado motivated the freshman and sophomores in the audience by telling them that hard work, good academics, leadership, and self motivation will help lead to where he is now. He reminded the students that it is not too late to turn around and have a good start.

“I feel overwhelmed but not in a negative way, with joy. I had a hard road academically and physically, but I have more hardwood. I always asked what I need to be ready for and the cultural shock when I get to West Point,” said Labrado.

In five years Labrado sees himself graduating from the academy and ready to serve in the military, but he is hoping to be a pilot. Congratulations to Labrado on such an amazing milestone in his life!