Seton graduates toss their mortarboards at the end of the 2010 commencement ceremony. (Catholic Sun file photo).
Seton graduates toss their mortarboards at the end of the 2010 commencement ceremony. (Catholic Sun file photo).

Exactly 137 seniors crossed the stage at the Mesa Arts Center last night to receive their diploma from the diocese’s only East Vally High School: Seton Catholic Preparatory. Emily Jackman was honored as valedictorian and Elizabeth Hopwood as salutatorian with half of the Chandler school’s graduates receiving one or more scholarships to further their education.

All told they earned some $5.7 million in scholarships and other funding to top national and state universities. These include the U.S. Naval Academy, Regis University, George Washington University, Santa Clara University, California Polytechnic, Colgate University and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University.

Here are just a few of the Seton graduates, the specific scholarships they earned and the colleges they selected:

  • Elise Goitia (courtesy of Lamar Studios)
    Elise Goitia (courtesy of Lamar Studios)

    Elise Goitia of Tempe earned the most in total scholarships from multiple colleges among Seton’s graduating class. She will attend Knox College, a private liberal arts college in Galesburg, Ill., where she received the Ellen Browning Scripps Scholarship. Goitia chose Knox College for its distinguished Creative Writing program.
    Goitia is the recipient of the 2014 Conference Choice Award from the national San Diego State University’s Writer’s Conference. She has written three Young Adult book series. Her submission of Lark, the first book in her second series, caught the attention of literary agent Pam Gruber, earning her the Conference Choice Award and recognition from “the Big Five” book publishers. (Photo credit: Lamar Studios)

  • James Ariola of Gilbert will attend Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., where he received the Ignatius Scholarship. In determining Ignatius Scholars, the committee at Marquette reviews a student’s academic work, rigor of curriculum, community service and leadership among other factors.
    In addition, Ariola was awarded a scholarship through the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW) Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition. Nearly 40,000 high school students across the country enter to win a share of $2.2 million in educational scholarships awarded through the VFW. Ariola’s winning essay was on “Why I’m Optimistic about our Nation’s Future.”
  • Janek Benigno of Chandler will attend the University of San Diego (USD) as an Alcalá Award recipient, the most prestigious of the university’s merit scholarships. Only a handful of 14,000-plus applicants are selected to receive this four-year scholarship. The merit scholarship rewards Benigno’s achievements at Seton Catholic Prep and recognizes his potential to contribute to USD’s campus community. In addition, Benigno was awarded first place in the nation in the We The Students Scholarship Contest through the Bill of Rights Institute.