Rotary Club of Goodyear PebbleCreek awards $5,000 in scholarships


The Rotary Club of Goodyear PebbleCreek has announced the five winners of its Outstanding Youth Scholarship program.

They are Michelle Oblea-Dirzo, Agua Fria High School, who will major in pre-law at Arizona State University; Amy Whitler, Desert Edge High School, who will major in business at ASU; Chandler Schelah, Millennium High School, who will major in business/finance at Baker University in Kansas); Trenton Benjamin, Verrado High School, who will major in business management at Grand Canyon University; and Janice Ochoa, VHS, who will major in politics at Northern Arizona University.

Each submitted a detailed application, complete with references, documentation of community service hours and a personal essay, and will receive $1,000 toward, a May 1 Rotary news release stated.

The scholarship was offered to all senior classes in the Agua Fria Union High School District, plus the seniors at Estrella Foothills High School. There were no applicants from Estrella, so the funds earmarked for the EFHS Wolves were transferred to a second winner at Verrado High School, the school with the most applicants.

The Rotary Club gave a total of $5,000 in scholarship money and plans to grow the program by another $1,000 when Canyon View High School graduates its first senior class in 2022. Funds can be applied to advance a senior’s education after high school, including vocational program costs, community college tuition or university tuition, the release stated.

Each of the winners served at least 200 volunteer hours throughout their high school career, some doubling and nearly tripling that service.

“Our members give generously to promote service and education at home and around the world. We are delighted to honor these fine young leaders whose passion and energy bring hope for a better tomorrow,” President Charlie Miller stated. Consistent with the Rotary International motto, the five scholarship winners are “People of Action” who are being rewarded for their exceptional service to the community.

The club’s Outstanding Youth Scholarships program is in its second year and received more than triple the number of applicants since the inaugural program in 2019. High school teachers and counselors helped to publicize the opportunity to seniors and are credited for this year’s spike in applicants. Verrado High School junior, Sydney McKenna, has also been instrumental in designing and implementing this growing program, the release stated.

The Rotary Club of Goodyear PebbleCreek usually meets at 7 a.m. Wednesdays at Tuscany Falls Clubhouse, PebbleCreek, but is using videoconference options for provide social distancing to mitigate COVID-19 concerns. Charitable donations to support the scholarship program can be mailed to Rotary Club of GYPC, c/o Joan Smith, 16277 W. Cambridge Ave., Goodyear, AZ 85340. Ms. Smith can be reached at 503-348-9468 or for more information.