Special to AFN

               More than 1,300 seniors will be receiving their high school diplomas at Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista high schools on Thursday, May 18.

And some will be preparing for college with at least some financial help, thanks to scholarships totaling nearly $40 million.

Ceremonies at both schools will be held on their football fields beginning at 7 p.m.

Because parking will likely be a challenge, spectators may want to plan an early arrival.

Mountain Pointe High School will graduate 600 seniors. Its Class of 2017 earned a total $6.6 million in scholarships.

Logan Kenny is valedictorian and Sara Ding is salutatorian.

Logan is heading to Arizona State University’s Barrett, the Honors College as a Presidents Scholar while Sara is bound for the University of California’s Berkeley campus

               About 745 seniors are graduating at Desert Vista High with scholarships totaling a whopping $33.3 million.

               Four valedictorians have been selected at Desert Vista.

               They include: Bobae Johnson, who is bound for Harvard University; Aditya Bollam, who is heading to Berkeley; Dewey Johnson, who will be studying at the Colorado School of Mines; and Rice University-bound Alice Wong

               The district declined an AFN request made last month for detailed information about scholarship winners from the two schools.

               However, two of the district’s five National Merit Scholarship winners are from Desert Vista. Both Bobae and Neha Parvathala won the $2,500 awards. Bobae, an accomplished violinist, plans to study law at Harvard while Neha plans to study bioengineering.

               Ahwatukee’s other high school, Horizon Honors Secondary, is holding its graduation May 30 at Sun Valley Church in Tempe for 96 seniors.

               Valedictorian Ross Wilson plans to attend Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and double-major in recording industry studies and digital media production.

               He probably reflected the feelings of many members of Ahwatukee’s Class of 2017 about their upcoming graduation when he said:

               “My favorite part of high school was senior year since all of the hard work I had put in to high school was finally paying off in the form of college."

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