Category Archives: Scholarships

Phoenix Suns name scholarship recipients

Sixteen high school seniors from throughout Arizona have been named winners in the Phoenix Suns Charities’ SunStudents Scholarship program.

Taylor Sanders of Desert Ridge High School was named winner of the Kevin Johnson Scholar Award and will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Each of the 15 other students will receive a $2,000 scholarship. The funds can be used to defray educational expenses at any college or university they choose.

The announcement was made at halftime during Monday night’s Suns-Trail Blazers game at US Airways Center.

This season marks the ninth year the Kevin Johnson award has been presented. The scholarship, named for the Suns’ former All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson, was created in recognition of Johnson’s retirement and honors the spirit of learning and community service espoused by Johnson during his tenure with the Phoenix Suns.

“Phoenix Suns Charities’ scholarship committee was overwhelmed by the number of impressive applications we received this year,” said Robin Milne, executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities, in a press release. “The 16 recipients have not only displayed stellar academic efforts, but have dedicated countless hours to community service.”

More than 300 applicants from across the state were judged on their community involvement, scholastic performance, letters of recommendation and essays on overcoming adversity.

The 2012 Phoenix Suns Charities SunStudents Scholarship recipients are:

Taylor Sanders
Desert Ridge High School, Kevin Johnson Scholarship winner

Aaron Wodka
Nogales High School

Abigail Mucklow
Northwest Christian High School

Adelynn Shafer
Sahuaro High School

Brandon Shaw
Basha High School

Christina Wood
Marcos de Niza

Cole Waldren
Pinnacle High School

Dominic Hayden
Pinnacle High School

Dustin Jed Tanada
Williams Field High School

Kimberly Mitchell
Sunnyslope High School

Meera Kumar
Horizon High School

Meghan Kuebler
Florence High School

Natalie Jones
St. David High School

Nicholas Jakob
Notre Dame Prep Academy

Stephen Smith
Centennial High School

Victoria Ton
Hamilton High School

Phoenix Suns Charities makes grants to non-profit organizations that serve children and youth in the areas of education, health and human services, the arts, sports and recreation, and rehabilitation. In the 24 years since its inception, Phoenix Suns Charities has donated more than 12 million dollars to worthy Arizona organizations and individuals.


Scholarship portal open to students

photo: Michele Molinari,

The Arizona Community Foundation has a scholarship portal for high school seniors, college students or graduate students seeking funds for their education. There are 52 scholarship opportunities on the website as of Jan. 31, 2012.

The scholarships are available based on intended field of study, geographic location or demographic group. Amounts awarded for a scholarship vary from about $1,000 to $5,000 per year with awards renewable each year for four years.

Students fill out one application to be matched to all the different scholarship opportunities. The application asks for grade point average, transcript, test scores, and financial aid information.

Student awarded scholarship to attend Tesseract School

Freshman Ellis Green has received the first Ruth and David Learner Scholarship from Tesseract School.

The scholarship was created in August 2011 to allow talented high school students to enroll at the private school when they otherwise would not be able to afford it.

The scholarship was awarded to Ellis because he “embodies the zeal for learning and education that was envisioned when creating this scholarship,” Nathan Learner, Tesseract School parent and board member, said in a press release.

Green participated in many academic competitions throughout middle school, including spelling bees, science fairs and Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth competitions. He also enjoys playing clarinet and piano, hiking, swimming and creating computer-aided design projects. In order to incorporate a challenging yet nourishing academic environment that also met Green’s other interests, his parents began looking for the right high school.

After an unsuccessful start to his freshman year, Green’s parents looked into Tesseract.

“Tesseract’s learning environment is ideal for Ellis – it is personal, creative, challenging and meaningful,” Green’s father, Tyler Green, said in a press release. “The start to his freshman year at another school was distressing to him. Now he comes home and describes his classes as ‘awesome’ and ‘fantastic’ and his teachers as ‘really, really there for me.’ This school has been miraculous for him.”

The Ruth and David Learner Scholarship made it possible for Green to experience Tesseract School.

“We hope he is the first of many students who will gain access to Tesseract education via the Learner Scholarship,” Learner said.

The school also offers other scholarships in a variety of areas. To learn about the scholarship program and how to apply contact the director of admissions and community relations, Scott Salk, at 480-385-3673. To learn more about Tesseract School visit — Amy Vogelsang

Valley Youth Theatre student scholarships

Valley Youth Theatre performance of the musical Hairspray

Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix launched a scholarship program three years ago to assist young actors, musicians and technical crew members who participate in their productions.

Youth can receive “up to $300 per production toward college.” Valley Youth Theatre is asking members of the community to support the scholarship program with donations of any amount.

“Your contribution,” says producing artistic director Bobb Cooper, “is a great incentive for them to pursue higher education and achieve their personal best.”

“Whether they become attorneys, teachers, doctors or professional entertainers like VYT alumni Chelsea Kane, Emma Stone, Jordin Sparks or Maxx Crumm, college education is crucial,” says Cooper.

Valley Youth Theatre alumnus John Luke Osorio received a check from VYT that paid for all his books for a semester at Grand Canyon University, where he’s pursuing a voice degree while launching his career as a music director.

Osorio caught the theater bug after seeing his first show at the age of 14. Soon he started acting in Valley theater productions. Osorio discovered his love for music directing while interning with Valley Youth Theatre during the summer of 2009.

His first job was serving as music director for a VYT production of “Honk, Jr.” and his most recent was serving as music director for a Greasepaint Youtheatre production of Disney’s “Aladdin, Jr.”

He’s had several gigs in between, including assistant music director for Valley Youth Theatre productions of “Annie” and “Hairspray” — and the Grand Canyon University production of “The Frogs.”

Soo how did Osorio feel about getting the extra support from VYT? “I was ecstatic,” Osorio recalls, “that VYT had yet again given me the chance I needed to succeed in my career of choice.”

To learn more about Valley Youth Theatre scholarships or to make an online donation to the program, visit their website at

— Lynn Trimble

A science competition and teacher grants

Two opportunities mined from our inboxes — one for high school students and one for teachers.

The Siemens Competition  in Math, Science & Technology awards scholarships from $1,000 to $100,000. With an Oct. 3 deadline, it’s probably too late for this year’s competition, but with $100K on the line it’s worth considering for next year.

Have a look at the 2010 winners. Brace yourself; the $100,000 individual winner’s project is titled: The Close Binary Fraction: A Bayesian Analysis of SDSS M Dwarf Spectra – Astrophysics. It’s by Benjamin Clark of Penn Manor High School in Millersville, Pa.  Clark is now attending CalTech.

A red dwarf star, type M near a spiral galaxy. Photo:Sloan Digital Sky Survey,

Siemens awards some monster scholarships, so they expect some serious science. If your child has what it takes, putting “won $100,000 Siemens Competition” on a college application would make him or her stand out, not to mention take care of a serious chunk of tuition.

For teachers, the Qwest Foundation, now CenturyLink, has $95,000 for Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA) education grants. Grants will be awarded to “preK-12 teachers who demonstrate a project-based innovative use of technology with students.”

There is no guarantee technology works wonders, so teachers who have effective teaching strategies enhanced by effective use of technology will benefit from submitting their ideas.

Robert H. Goddard, Ph.D. (for whom Goddard Space Flight Center was named) is shown teaching physics at a blackboard at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. in 1924. Blackboards, which have been replaced by whiteboards and Smartboards, were an indispensable teaching technology for many years. NASA photo

Grants are due Nov. 4, with the option of getting early feedback on ideas for ideas submitted by Oct. 3.

Find out more about AzTEA grants.

–Dan Friedman

A new scholarship program for healthcare-minded teens

A new scholarship program will support graduating high school seniors who have an interest in and will declare a college major in the health sciences field of study.

The Scottsdale Healthcare Auxiliary Golden Anniversary Commemorative Health Science Scholarships will be awarded every April, beginning in 2012. Three $5,000 scholarships will be presented annually to high school seniors who participated in the Healthcare Exploration teen volunteer summer program at Scottsdale Healthcare. Applications for the summer program are due Friday, May 6.

“The Scottsdale Charros are making a $50,000 donation (over two years) to this scholarship program to celebrate the Auxiliary’s 50 years of service to the community, it’s 50K for 50 years,” says Felicia Prostrollo, director of volunteer services at Scottsdale Healthcare.

The summer program allows students to learn firsthand what it’s like to work in the healthcare environment. “We are hopeful that these students will become leaders in healthcare and their communities with a lifelong commitment to volunteer service,” says Prostrollo.

During the past five decades, Scottsdale Healthcare Auxiliary members have served more than five million hours and provided more than $5 million in financial gifts and service to Scottsdale Healthcare. For many years, the Auxiliary has partnered with the Charros to provide parking and ushers during spring training baseball games at Scottsdale Stadium.

“The Scottsdale Charros and the Scottsdale Healthcare Auxiliary are longtime partners in serving our community. We are proud to acknowledge the academic performance of exceptional high school students and support their educational endeavors in the health science professions,” says Peter Rusin, executive director of Scottsdale Charros.

The eight-week teen volunteer program is open to students ages 15 to 17 from June through August. Students volunteer at least four hours a week at either Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center or Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital.

Participants help with everything from staffing information desks and gift shops to delivering flowers and ensuring family members in waiting areas are updated on their loved one’s status. Teen volunteers may also attend weekly “lunch and learn” presentations by Scottsdale Healthcare physicians on topics such as orthopedics, research, emergency services and family medicine.

Applications, instructions and additional information on the teen volunteer Healthcare Exploration program can be accessed at Deadline for completed application packets is 4 p.m. Friday, May 6. Each teen applicant will be interviewed before being considered for the program.

Suns, Grand Canyon College partner to offer scholarship opportunity

The Phoenix Suns and Grand Canyon University are hosting a “Find Your Purpose” essay contest offering local high school students the opportunity to win a $10,000 tuition credit toward a college education at GCU.

High school seniors throughout the Valley are encouraged to enter the contest at, where they will be asked to submit a 1,000- to 1,500-word essay describing what “Find Your Purpose” means to them and how this scholarship will help them to achieve that. Entries are due Dec. 15. Learn more.