Before the deadline to apply for scholarships for the high school seniors arrived, COVID-19 closed the public schools. And the scholarship committee had only received one application between the two schools. Jadine Hilt and Kay Martens, co-chairs of the high school awards, had a challenge before them—getting in touch with the guidance staff at the closed Walden Grove and Sahuarita High Schools. When it became obvious that TWOQC’s awards ceremony would not be held on April 27 as planned, the deadline was extended in an attempt to obtain more applications during the shutdown. Personnel from the guidance office went above and beyond to reach the students who met the eligibility criteria, and thanks to the Internet, eight young ladies were able to apply. The screening and interview committee members, relying solely on technology to do their work, had the difficult job of choosing the winners.
In the end, they chose two seniors from each school to receive a scholarship to Pima Community College. Selected recipients were Samantha Witterstauter and Haley Duncan from Walden Grove, and Alexandra Hernandez and Amaya Barnes from Sahuarita High Schools.
Samantha’s first love is music. She has been in jazz, concert, and marching bands. At age 16, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which interrupted her studies as she underwent chemo treatments, first weekly and then bi-weekly for one year, but she persevered in her studies as best she could and was able to rejoin the bands when her strength returned. She will be studying cybersecurity at Pima, with the goal to attend the University of Arizona to obtain a college degree, the first in her family to do so.
Haley is a hard-working athlete with volleyball being her favorite sport. She not only played but also led others in the sport by serving as president of the Volleyball Club and as team captain. Sports did not occupy all her time, however. Besides being a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council, she also volunteered in support of many community activities. Haley will study marketing and her career goal is to become a marketing manager.
Alexandra will start her college program by attending Pima for prerequisite courses, but then will transfer to Gateway Community College in Phoenix to obtain an Associate degree in radiology to ultimately become an OB ultrasound technician. With her goal firmly in mind, Alexandra really applied herself to improve her grades each year. While in school, she also completed an internship with the Chamber of Commerce and volunteered at the Jewish History Museum in Tucson.
Amaya is also a music lover, having been in a school band program for seven years where she also developed leadership skills by serving as section leader. In addition to participating in community service activities through the school’s National Honor Society, she also volunteers at the local food bank. She plans to pursue a degree in business administration with a minor in human resources, and her ultimate goal is to become an HR professional.