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Helios Education Foundation and YUHSD announce inaugural RNY scholarship recipients

Helios Education Foundation and Yuma Union High School District announced the six recipients of the inaugural Ready Now Yuma Scholarship this week.

The scholarship, which was available to one student at each of the six YUHSD campuses, is worth up to $15,000 and is renewable up to three additional years.

“It’s so exciting to have the first cohort of Helios Ready Now Yuma Scholars,” Helios Education Foundation’s Arizona Program Director Grace Smith Kaus said. “Well done to all the students and the Yuma area high school staff for getting all these amazing students prepared for postsecondary success.”

Students at each campus were given an oversized check and balloons by their school counselor and principal as part of a surprise presentation. Each of them appeared moved in their own way. Several broke into tears, including one student saying they were uncertain about how they would afford their tuition otherwise.

“It was an emotional scene for everyone,” said YUHSD Communications Director Eric Patten, who was present at all six check presentations. “The students were genuinely surprised and in some cases overwhelmed. It was like a giant weight had been lifted as far as being concerned about how to pay for a university that they were far and away academically qualified to attend. Overall, it was just awesome. I’m proud to have been there to see these students get honored for their hard work.”

The program supports seniors with financial need attending an accredited post-secondary institution and pursuing any field of study. Students must be enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university and pursuing a 4-year degree. This scholarship is renewable if students are in good standing and maintain the required GPA.

Nearly 40 qualified applicants were considered by Helios and the Arizona Community Foundation.

Here are this year’s recipients, their school and what university they plan to attend:

Karen Campa, Cibola High School, University of Arizona

Julieta Taraborrelli, Gila Ridge High School, University of Arizona

Epiphany Jones, Kofa High School, Arizona State University

Fransheska Salgado, San Luis High School, Arizona State University

Lesley Barajas, Vista High School, Northern Arizona University

Anthony Nunez, Yuma High School, University of Arizona

More about Ready Now Yuma:

Ready Now Yuma is a unique, student-centered initiative of YUHSD and Helios Education Foundation with the goals of: Graduating every YUHSD student prepared to succeed in college and career; Embedding a high expectations, college-going culture within the district; and Increasing the number of students entering and succeeding in postsecondary education including career and technical education, community college, and university.

The initiative provides YUHSD students with a rigorous, high-expectations program of study within a college-going environment. Regardless of past academic performance or post-high school aspirations, Ready Now Yuma is designed to challenge and support every student on the path to college, career, and community readiness.

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YHS Anthony Nunez shows off his check

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org