Seniors Awarded Scholarships

Trey Butler accepts a scholarship certificate from Gear Up grant administrator Kristi Ford. A total of 39 students received scholarships at the ceremony.

Photo by Michele Nelson. |

Trey Butler accepts a scholarship certificate from Gear Up grant administrator Kristi Ford. A total of 39 students received scholarships at the ceremony.


Thirty-nine of Payson’s graduating seniors and their families came to the first Senior Schol­arship Ceremony on May 13 at Payson High School (PHS).

Also in the audience, more than two-dozen presenters for scholarships from colleges, to state and local organizations.

Principal Brian Mabb said he bucked tradition and separated the scholarship recipient portion of graduation from the traditional ceremony to save time.

In years past, Payson families have braved the elements to sit on the bleachers at the PHS football field for hours to listen to the litany of award winners.

Gear Up grant administrator Kristi Ford presented the first scholarship. She will be leaving the district this year as she has completed the federal grant sponsored by Eastern Arizona College.

Ford’s voice turned wistful as she said she has followed this senior class since they attended seventh grade as a condition of the grant. The purpose of the Gear Up grant was to have an advocate for the students follow them for seven years from middle school until they graduate to improve the graduation and college attendance rate.

“I will be the largest empty nester in Payson,” said Ford of the class graduating.

Other organizations such as the Mogollon Health Alliance, the Elks and Moose clubs, Kiwanis and Rotary gave out scholarships raised during the year from events put on by the organizations.

“We give out scholarships because of the community’s support,” said Daniel Tantimonaco. “Thank you.”

Two big winners were first-generation college attendee Jesus Apodaca who received $70,000 from the Dorrance Scholarship, and Jennifer Bailey who received $43,830 from the Careers with Culinary Arts Program (CCAP) to attend the Art Institute of Colorado.

For a list of scholarship winners and the totals of their awards, please see the Roundup’s graduation tabloid at the end of the month.


roysandoval 2 years, 8 months ago

Not sure this is a change for the better. In 2010, I timed the ceremony with scholarship presentation. From the time the march started to throwing the caps it was 1hour and 41 minutes - not hours. I know people will argue with this, but as principal, I was very cognizant of the time. I actually noted the time in my journal. We strived for efficiency so we could celebrate the scholars during the ceremony. People who earned scholarships were celebrated in front of a huge crowd. Scholarship donors presented the scholarships and were thanked publicly in front of a huge crowd. Younger students who were not related to the recipients as well as recipient siblings were able to see students receive their scholarships. While it may seem "old school" I believe graduation in a small town affords a unique opportunity to publicly celebrate success and have the community to play a part.


Pat Randall 2 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Mr. Sandoval. The kids and their parents are proud of the scholarships and should be recognized at graduation. If the school employees didn't talk so much graduations would not drag on and on. After all it is the kids night.


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