Nineteen graduating seniors from Arizona high schools whose outstanding credentials could have landed them at nearly any university in the nation have been awarded Flinn Scholarships to attend an Arizona public university. The students were honored at an awards banquet yesterday at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix.
The scholarship awards, valued at more than $40,000 apiece, cover the cost of eight semesters of undergraduate study, academic-focused travel opportunities abroad, faculty mentorship, and other benefits. The awards are given by the Flinn Foundation, a private philanthropic trust based in Phoenix.
The 18th-annual class includes students from schools as large as Mesa’s Mountain View High School (graduating class of 834) to as small as Rio Rico High School (146). The Scholars’ home towns cover the state map from Flagstaff to Lakeside to Yuma.
Mesa schools accounted for five of the students, including three from Dobson High School. Flagstaff and Tucson each had three, with other students hailing from from high schools in Chandler, Peoria, Phoenix, and Scottsdale. Three schools celebrated their first-ever Flinn Scholar: Centennial High School in Peoria; Cortez High School in Phoenix; and Rio Rico High School.
“These students are truly remarkable human beings,” said John W. Murphy, Flinn Foundation executive director. “Not only do they excel in the classroom, they take on leadership roles within the school and community, and exhibit diverse talents and ambitions. We are confident they will make significant contributions to the state and its universities in the years ahead.”
As a group, the class averaged scores of 1430 of a possible 1600 on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and 31 of a possible 36 on the American College Test (ACT). Six students are National Merit Finalists, a benchmark honor for the top echelon of students nationally. The class includes state champions and nationally ranked students in academic, athletic, and musical competitions.
The Scholars were chosen from an applicant pool of nearly 375 of Arizona’s highest-achieving students. In addition to outstanding academic performance, selection criteria included achievement and demonstrated leadership in extracurricular activities and community or school service efforts. Applicants submitted three essays and had two personal interviews.
The Flinn Scholars program is among a small handful of statewide or regional merit-based undergraduate scholarship programs run by a private philanthropies. In addition to eight semesters of study at an Arizona university, the scholarship award includes a three-week intensive seminar in Eastern Europe; an additional study/travel experience abroad or in the United States; mentorship by a university faculty member in the Scholar’s field of study; invitations to cultural events and activities designed to introduce the Scholars to leaders in various fields; and opportunities to participate with university faculty in research programs and professional meetings.
Applicants were required to have a minimum 3.5 gradepoint average, a ranking in the top 5 percent of their graduating class, a minimum score of 1280 on the SAT test or 29 on the ACT, and demonstrated leadership abilities in school and community activities. To retain the scholarship, the students must maintain a cumulative 3.2 gradepoint average and participate in campus activities.
The Flinn Foundation was established in 1965 by the late Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the broad mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona. In addition to the Scholars program, the Foundation supports programs in biosciences and the arts in Arizona.
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