A Brophy College Preparatory and St. Mary's High School graduate are the only two Catholic school students who will be honored May 3 at the annual recognition dinner for Flinn Scholars. (2010 CATHOLIC SUN file photo)
A Brophy College Preparatory and St. Mary’s High School graduate are the only two Catholic school students who will be honored May 3 at the annual recognition dinner for Flinn Scholars. (2010 CATHOLIC SUN file photo)

PHOENIX — The Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program awarded 20 of Arizona’s highest-achieving high school seniors a comprehensive educational package to attend an Arizona public university. The only two Catholic school recipients for 2014 were Tristen Vaughn from St. Mary’s High School and Justin Frere from Brophy College Preparatory, both in Phoenix.

The competitive, merit-based scholarship package is valued at more than $100,000.  The scholarship includes the cost of tuition to one of the state’s three public universities, room and board, funding for international study-related travel and professional development, university faculty mentorship, and other benefits. Each award is provided through a partnership between the Flinn Foundation and the universities.

Tristen Vaughn, a senior at St. Mary's High School (photo courtesy of the Flinn Foundation)
Tristen Vaughn, a senior at St. Mary’s High School (photo courtesy of the Flinn Foundation)

“Once again, this incoming class of Flinn Scholars is filled with high-achieving students who have already demonstrated through academics, leadership, and community service how valuable they are to the state of Arizona,” said Jack Jewett, Flinn Foundation President and CEO. “These 20 Scholars will have a lasting impact on our universities and the state.”

Last fall, 624 Arizona high school seniors applied for the 2014 scholarship marking the second straight year that the number of applications exceeded 600.  At least two other local Catholic high school graduates were offered a scholarship and went through at lease one round of interviews, but ultimately declined the award. Only 3.2 percent of the applicants received scholarship.

The recipients come from 18 high schools and intend to major in anything from broadcasting to biomedical engineering to business, physics, neuroscience, and music. The Flinn Scholar program boasts 450 alumni since its founding in 1986.

Justin Frere, a senior at Brophy College Preparatory (photo courtesy of the Flinn Foundation)
Justin Frere, a senior at Brophy College Preparatory (photo courtesy of the Flinn Foundation)

“Each year seems to raise the bar in terms of the accomplishments of our applicants,” said Matt Ellsworth, Flinn Scholars Program director and a 1993 Flinn Scholar. “What distinguishes these 20 Flinn Scholars is the potential they hold to apply their exceptional talents toward the common good.”

The Flinn Scholar Class of 2014, along with 17 scholars who will be graduating from Arizona’s universities this year, will be honored at the annual Recognition Dinner May 3 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix before nearly 200 family members, university officials, teachers, and community leaders. Each new Flinn Scholar will recognize an educator who has influenced them in a substantial way.

Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average in college and be involved in campus or community activities to retain the scholarship. The Flinn Foundation, a Phoenix-based private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization, has a mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations.

The Catholic Sun, as the official news source for the Diocese of Phoenix, shares in the mission of evangelizing the Catholic faithful, under the direction of the bishop, by providing news, information, education, a forum for discussion and guidance in matters of faith, morals and spiritual life.

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