Over 70 scholarships were given out to Sedona Red Rock High School seniors recently by 27 local organizations. From the Asians Classics Institute to the Yavapai Mounted Sheriff’s Posse, organizations of all kind showed their dedication to having students rise in their fields.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic meant there was no traditional Scholarship Night to honor the student recipients, many were honored in person by organization leaders, including Christian Welch and Chloe Coulter, who both received oversized checks of $1,500 each from the Sedona Gem and Mineral Club, and Christina Schweiss, who received $2,500 from the Philanthropic Educational Organization— the first Sedona student in 15 years to be awarded their STAR scholarship.
While $1,500 to $2,500 may seem small in the scope of tuition for a four-year university, what with University of Arizona estimating the total cost for on-campus freshmen from the state next year to be $30,500 and Northern Arizona University estimating $28,722, the scholarship money adds up.
Welch received eight area scholarships total, while Coulter received six. Schweiss said she applied for eight scholarships and received three — from P.E.O., The Sedona Elk’s Lodge and Southern Utah University, the school she will be attending in the fall.
“My motivation to apply for the scholarships were my parents. I wanted to help lighten the load,” Schweiss said. “I was so excited when I heard I won those scholarships. It meant the world to me. It made the cost of my tuition lower immensely.”
Schweiss added that she will use all her scholarship money on tuition and “if there is some left over, it will trickle into taking care of the cost of my books.”
And as a double major in theater and communications with a minor in Shakespearean studies, she may have a lot of them.
For nine years, the SRRHS Booster Club has been handing out a $1,000 scholarship for the senior valedictorian, raised by membership fees and fundraising events, like Casino Night.
This year’s valedictorian was Soraya Movassaghi, who also received scholarships from PFLAG, Rotary Club of Sedona and the Al & Marion Herrman Scholarship for business.
“Being named valedictorian is a high honor and requires four years of academic discipline,” Booster Club President Liz Westervelt said. “Soraya not only studied hard, she also successfully led Interact Club and was a leader in school spirit.
SRRHS Director of Operations Jennifer Chilton said in an announcement listing the winners that the scholarship recipients are all “…hard-working students who have sustained excellence, involvement and service throughout their years at Sedona Red Rock High School. They are extremely deserving of this financial support to further their study.”
She acknowledged the staff who encouraged the students to apply for scholarships and helped them figure out their college plans.
“It is also important to recognize the time and dedication of the many faculty members who tirelessly write recommendation letters as students near graduation, counselors who guide kids through the labyrinth of applications, and especially our guidance secretary, Teresa Lamparter, whose mantra is ‘there’s only one way that you’re sure not to win. . . if you don’t apply,’” Chilton wrote. “Ms. Lamparter is tenacious in encouraging students to reach for success beyond the apprehension of the moment. These teachers, counselors and support staff have had tears in their eyes all week as students received the news of these awards with jubilance, disbelief and incredible gratitude.”
- Asian Classics Institute: Claudia Corral-Diaz, Alberto Nino-Rodriguez, Ariana Parra-Landaverde, Odalis Robles
- AZ Community Foundation: Aria Harness
- AZ Cowbelles: Angela Betancourt, Christian Welch
- Beating the Odds: Krushi Bhakta, Claudia Corral-Diaz, Grace Isom, Ariana Parra-Landaverde, Dylan Rogers, Peter Wofford
- Bridge the Gap: Cooper Barber, Tabitha Caetan, Chloe Coulter, Aria Harness, Grace Isom, Athena Oskowis, Odalis Robles, Carolina Lopez-Villegas, Honoka Yabuuchi, Christian Welch
- S.C. Bronson Scholarship: Diana Zaun
- Foster Friess Scholarship: Dylan Beattie, Christian Welch, Mary Westervelt
- Al & Marion Herrman Scholarship: Art-Honoka Yabuuchi; Athlete – Mary Westervelt; Business- Soraya Movassaghi; Music-Angela Betancourt
- Reach for the Stars: Claudia Corral-Diaz, Angela Betancourt, Janet Flores
- Kachina Retired Teachers: Tirzah Wright
- Sedona Detachment Marine Corps League: Chloe Coulter
- PFLAG: Soraya Movassaghi; Leilani Olson
- Prescott Frontier Days: Christian Welch
- Salt River Material Group: Christian Welch, Diana Zaun
- Sedona Bell Rock Kiwanis: Christian Welch, Mary Westervelt
- Sedona Elks Lodge: Christina Schweiss, Christian Welch,Mary Westervelt
- Sedona Gem & Mineral Club: Chloe Coulter, Christian Welch
- Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Lions Club: Chloe Coulter, Leilani Olson, Mary Westervelt
- Sedona 30: Chloe Coulter, Grace Isom, Cheyenne Javey, Carolina Lopez-Villegas, Dylan Rogers, Peter Wofford, Tirzah Wright
- Sedona Swim Team: Honoka Yabuuchi
- Rotary Club of Sedona: Chloe Coulter, Soraya Movassaghi, Leilani Olson, Mary Westervelt
- Sedona Red Rock HS Booster Club: Soraya Movassaghi
- Verde Valley Leadership: To Be Announced
- Vista Ridge Sedona: Mary Westervelt, Diana Zaun
- Yavapai Mounted Sheriff’s Posse: To Be Announced
- West Sedona School PTA: Diana Zaun