Desert Vista graduation 2011

Desert Vista graduate Matthew Olaque (CQ) shows off his diploma just after receiving it Thursday night on the Desert Vista High School football field. May, 26, 2011- Darryl Webb/AFN

Darryl Webb/AFN

Four years, countless hours of studying and more tests than they care to remember are all memories now. High school seniors in Ahwatukee Foothills are finished with high school.

The results of the past year, in terms of scholarship dollars and outstanding students, are impressive.

In total, students from Desert Vista, Mountain Pointe and Horizon Honors high schools earned $38.9 million in scholarships. Desert Vista graduated 664 students and received $23.2 million; Mountain Pointe graduated 587 students and received about $9.3 million; and Horizon graduated 101 and received $6.5 million.

“Last year, we thought that $19,000,000-plus was high, but the Class of 2011 has been offered $23,203,574,” said Dr. Anna Battle, principal at Desert Vista. “(The seniors) recognize the importance of higher education. It has been my pleasure serving each and every one of them.”

Graduation at Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe took place on Thursday, May 26.

“This has been another outstanding year,” Mountain Pointe Principal Bruce Kipper said. “Our graduates are attending schools such as Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, New York University, San Francisco Art Institute, Tuskegee University, UCLA, USC, Columbia University, Yale University and, of course, ASU, U of A and NAU. ... This is an exceptional class, one of our best.”

Twenty-one students from Desert Vista and four from Mountain Pointe were named 2011 National Merit Scholarship Finalists, out of roughly 1.5 million students who were eligible nationwide.

“We set the bar high in this district,” Dr. Greg Wyman, associate superintendent for the Tempe Union High School District, said when the announcement was made in September. “We’re just really proud of the kids who achieved this honor and we are grateful to the teachers and to the community for making this possible.”

Desert Vista Senior Timothy Lee, who is a valedictorian, was named one of two Presidential Scholars from the district.

“I think I have grown a lot in high school and learned a lot about myself through my coursework,” Lee said of the announcement in February. “I would like to study English or philosophy in college.”

As for the next step in their lives, 95 percent of Desert Vista graduates, 91 percent of Mountain Pointe graduates and 90 percent of Horizon Honors graduates will attend a university or community college next year. About 6 percent of Horizon Honors graduates, 5 percent of Mountain Pointe graduates and 2 percent of Desert Vista graduates will be joining the military.

Wherever they go next year, there is no doubt their experiences in the Ahwatukee Foothills area will have prepared them well for the road ahead.

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