posted by Bruce Hilby, Communicator, Camelback High School Community Network

Several months ago, up to 44 Camelback graduating seniors started their online applications at the Arizona Community Foundation (“ACF”) which provides a “common application”  for students to use to apply for all the many scholarships available through ACF and the funds it manages. Of these, 24 applicants provided sufficient information for their applications to be considered.

These applications were reviewed and scored on line by a group of Camelback Community Network participants and some additional volunteers, including Jim Widland, Esq. and Dr. Quintin Boyce, Camelback’s outstanding new principal.

22 of the applicants were then invited to interviews on May 12 at the school. Again, Community Network participants and other volunteers held these interviews, including Elliott Pollack, Janaki Ram, Rick West, Becky Wolf, Joyce Medina Harper, Grace Smith, Dick Wilson, Sentari Minor of Social Venture Partners and Bill Gosnell of the Camelback Alumni Association. Thank you to all these folks.

Several of these 22 students had already found sufficient funding for their college cost of attendance and elected not to be interviewed.

100% of those interviewed will receive gap scholarship awards.

ACF’s Director of Scholarships, Grace Smith, in her email below, provides a list of those students and their tentative awards.

ACF will then actually communicate with the institutions to which these award winners are matriculating this fall and arrange to forward the scholarship funds directly to those schools with directions as to the specific uses of each award.

Each award recipient will have executed the attached agreement which requires them to stay in touch so we can track their progress and successes over time. They also agree to welcome and help orient future Camelback graduates as they arrive at their colleges. Our goal is to create communities of Camelback graduates at these schools to support each other.

Camelback Community Network participants, primarily Rick West and Becky Wolf, raised over $55,000 this year for these awards, which funds are deposited at ACF in the Camelback High School Scholarship Fund. ACF provides all this service for 5% of the funds contributed.  There are zero other costs of the program. Fully 95% of all funds donated go directly to the scholarships.

These funds were contributed by 15 donors and more donations are still coming in. Many of these donors have contributed in previous years. Thank you so much!

This is the third year of this gap scholarship program that was originally conceived of and launched byCamelback’s visionary former principal, Dr. Chad Gestson, who, having launched a successful peer tutoring program at Camelback High School to support its struggling students, determined the school needed a way to also support its most successful students. Both of these programs are supported and funded via Camelback’s Community Network.

Personal note:

Reviewing the applications of these amazing students and interviewing them during this process is one of the most rewarding and awe inspiring experiences I can recall. Even though many times having to navigate their way through very challenging family and economic situations at home, these successful Camelback students each have demonstrated their determination, hope, and capability. I think this is called GRIT. 

They and all their school mates deserve our admiration and support.  These are our state’s future leaders.

Go Spartans!