When Payson High School graduate Justin Cline took possession of his diploma, he celebrated the occasion by doing a full-body flip.
Meanwhile, PHS teachers and officials were doing figurative full-body flips.
Why? The dollar value of scholarships received by the class of 2000 more than $600,000 was more than double the school's previous record of about $275,000.
"Needless to say, when you have someone who receives an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, that increases the total amount tremendously," PHS guidance counselor Don Heizer said of graduate Bryan Zumbro, who has been awarded a $275,000 four-year USAF scholarship. "But even if we took that scholarship out of the total, we would still have a record scholarship year."
One of the reasons for that overall increase, Heizer said, is that more students are aggressively pursuing scholarships and winning many that had never before been won by Payson students.
"That is the result of a four-year process we've implemented of making parents and students more aware of what's available out there and helping them to pursue those opportunities," Heizer said.
"In pursuing scholarships, this class was probably as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than any other I've seen."