Hard work and making a difference earned one Glendale student an easier path to college.
Jayna Shafer, 18 and a senior at Deer Valley High School, 18424 N. 51st Ave., won the fifth annual Renee Parsons Girls Leadership Award, which includes $80,000 of scholarship funding over four years, plus a new laptop, as announced by Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley.
Established by businesswoman and philanthropist Renee Parsons, the award honors girls who have showcased three fundamental leadership qualities: collaboration, assertiveness and empathy.
Parsons surprised Shafer with the award via a Zoom call. During the meeting, Shafer was unaware she had already been selected as this year’s recipient and, instead, was prepared for a candidate interview with Parsons. The announcement was a wonderful shock for both Shafer and her mother who accompanied her on the call.
In addition to attending Deer Valley High School, Shafer works 30 hours per week and tutors her fellow Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley members in math and science. Already a role model to her younger siblings, her goal is to pursue a degree in Information Technology and Software Engineering, aiming to be among the growing number of women in STEM.
“It would really help me out financially,” Shafer said on the Zoom chat, moments before learning she was the recipient. “I don’t want to always keep depending on my mom.”
At that point, Parsons revealed to her that Shafer had won the scholarship.
“You are a worthy recipient and you’ve done so much already in your young life, and we know that you’ll go on to do great things,” Parsons told her.
After college Shafer would like to join the Navy to further her career.
“So much of what these young women are learning and accomplishing at the Boys & Girls Club are skills that I value in my own life and career,” Parsons, co-founder of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and president and executive creative director of PXG Apparel, shared in a statement. “Jayna’s character, drive and ambition stood out right away.”
While the Foundation serves a variety of youth-related causes, Parsons has placed a large emphasis on supporting young women and improving their access to quality education, and the Renee Parsons Excellence Award was created in 2021.
“I just want her to go as far as she can and reach her dreams,” said Shafer’s mother, Jennifer. “We are so proud of her.”
GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons in 2013 purchased Arrowhead Professional Center, a Glendale office project at 18301 N. 79th Ave., for $13.25 million. Five years later he acquired the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, for $133 million, from iStar Inc.
Visit bgcaz.org to learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley.
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