Hayden Connor of Ahwatukee

Hayden Connor of Ahwatukee won the Arizona Indian Education Association Scholarship given annually to a middle school student who displays academic excellence and leadership.

An Ahwatukee youngster has won this year’s Arizona Indian Education Association Student Scholarship. 

Akimel A-al Middle School 7th grader Hayden Connor earned the Middle School/Junior High Exemplary Scholarship.  

Each year, AIEA recognizes American Indian students for high achievement in academics, community service, leadership and participation in cultural activities. Through these scholarships, the AIEA aims to encourage and support students in their educational and cultural endeavors. 

Since her first day at Akimel A-al, Hayden has been a proud participant in the Native American Program Affinity Club, Kyrene School District spokeswoman Erin Helm said. 

“The Affinity Club provides students the opportunity to apply themselves culturally, socially and academically through group and individual projects,” said Nerissa White, Kyrene’s Native American Program coordinator.

White said it is in Hayden’s nature “to go above and beyond, taking pride in each of her projects.”

 When students were asked to step into the role of student engineer for STEM, Hayden constructed a Native American dwelling, and her International Baccalaureate project involved making posters to promote a donation drive for Native American elders. 

As a sixth grader, Hayden was selected to participate in the Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life conference and Phoenix Indian Center’s Living in 2 Worlds program.

“Hayden has been consistently in my top tier of outstanding students,” White said. “She is the first to volunteer and give words of encouragement to her peers. Her positive atmosphere radiates in my classroom and on our campus.” 

AIEA will celebrate Hayden and other scholarship recipients at a student recognition meeting in November.

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