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Helios Education Foundation and YUHSD announce Class of 2020 RNY scholarship recipients

Helios Education Foundation and Yuma Union High School District announced six recipients of the annual 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 each year and is renewable up to three additional years.

“Helios Education Foundation is honored to provide scholarships to these deserving students,” said Grace Smith Kaus, Director, Postsecondary Success Initiatives for Helios Education Foundation. “These students have a bright future ahead of them and Helios is proud to help support their success, at this pivotal time.”

Students at each campus were presented with an oversized check as part of a surprise ceremony online. To encourage students to join the online meeting, their counselors told them they needed to answer a few questions to complete their scholarship application. Upon logging into the meeting, students were greeted by teachers, counselors, administrators as well a representative from Helios.


“I just want to say thank you so much, this is huge,” said San Luis High School senior Naiara Avila, who learned she was awarded the scholarship on Tuesday morning and was visibly moved. “I’m totally speechless. I feel blessed. I’m still kind of shaking.”

The scholarship almost immediately changed Avila’s plans. Originally intending to pursue nursing, she said that her new focus would be on becoming a medical doctor. This is seemingly the case for most, if not all, recipients.

In its second of a ten-year commitment, 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 80 qualified applicants were considered by Helios and the Arizona Community Foundation.

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

Serena Felix, Cibola High School, Northern Arizona University

Adrian Hernandez, Gila Ridge High School, Arizona State University

William Krueger, Kofa High School, Grand Canyon University

Naiara Avila, San Luis High School, Northern Arizona University

Iris Binuya, Vista High School, Arizona Western College

Caroline Martinez, Yuma High School, Northern Arizona University

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.

Eric Patten