Arizona educators who have had substantial impacts on the educations and lives of the Flinn Scholars were recognized by their students during the program’s annual Recognition Luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore.
The Class of 2022 Flinn Scholars spoke about the impact their Distinguished Educators have had both in and outside the classroom during the May 7 event, which honored both the incoming class and graduating Flinn Scholars.
Flinn Scholar Astrid Bell of Northland Preparatory Academy in Flagstaff recognized Whitney Rooney, her AP Biology, anatomy, and physiology teacher.
“Ms. Rooney’s ever-present enthusiasm and kindness as teacher and coach have developed my passion for the biological sciences and pushed me to meet my potential,” Bell said. “Her ability to adapt to students’ social and emotional needs, while satiating academic needs, makes her one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had.”
Flinn Scholar Yaritza Durazo, who is graduating from Sunnyside High School in Tucson this month, recognized her Algebra 2 and pre-calculus teacher, Victor Vigbedorh.
“Studying with Mr. Vigbedorh, I learned many topics in math, but more importantly, I learned how to puzzle my way to a deeper understanding of anything I encounter in life,” Durazo said.
The 20 educators honored at the event taught the Flinn Scholars a wide range of subjects, including English, biology, orchestra, history, calculus, Spanish, and chemistry. The educators also included an Academic Decathlon advisor and counselors.
The 2022 Distinguished Educators are:
English and French, BASIS Flagstaff
Scholar: Mia Osmonbekov
Biology, Red Mountain High School, Mesa
Scholar: Lydia Pastore
English, Gilbert High School
Scholar: Emily Delabarra
Social Studies, Magnet Traditional School, Phoenix
Scholar: Samantha Muñoz
Orchestra, Page High School
Scholar: Kaya Dickson
Academic Decathlon, Westwood High School, Mesa
Scholar: Natasha Kiriluk
Science and Mathematics, Faith Christian School, Mesa
Scholar: Bradley David Reece
Mathematics, Catalina Foothills High School, Tucson
Scholar: Noah Wellman
English and AP Seminar, Bradshaw Mountain High School, Prescott Valley
Scholar: Hannah Lennon
IB Mathematics and AP Calculus, Barry Goldwater High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Neha Badhwar
College Counselor, North Phoenix Preparatory Academy
Scholar: Niat Solomon
English, Santa Cruz Valley Union High School, Eloy
Scholar: Diego Luis Chavez
IB Spanish, Barry Goldwater High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Desiree Ngoc-ha Nguyen
English, River Valley High School, Mohave Valley
Scholar: Andrew Cervantes
College Readiness, Upward Bound at Cholla and Pueblo High School, Tucson
Scholar: Alicia Salazar Contreras
AP Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology, Northland Preparatory Academy, Flagstaff
Scholar: Astrid Bell
AP Research, Post-Colonial Literature, Academy US History, BASIS Phoenix
Scholar: Simra Maheen
Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Sunnyside High School, Tucson
Scholar: Yaritza Durazo
Counselor, Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning
Scholar: Portia Cooper
Chemistry, Tanque Verde High School, Tucson
Scholar: Karah Mayer
Now in its 37th year, the Flinn Scholars Program is supported by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation in partnership with Arizona’s three state universities. The merit-based scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees, housing, meals, study abroad, and many other exclusive opportunities—a package valued at more than $130,000.
The 2022 Flinn Scholars, who will attend the Honors Colleges at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona, were selected from nearly 1,100 applications based on academic rigor and performance, as well as leadership and service, communication skills, and personal characteristics.
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