6 from S. Ariz. named

National Merit scholars

Six Tucson-area students have been named National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners.

The Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Tucson’s winners are: Jonathan S. Paul, Anupama Sethuraman, Andrew W. Harris and Christopher J. Lehman of University High School; Luke D. Sorensen of Marana High School; and Ruturaj S. Patil of Basis Tucson North.

Awards for excellence

go to 5 local educators

Five local educators were honored with the May Teacher Excellence Award as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.

The award, from Tucson Values Teachers and OfficeMax/Office Depot, came with a $100 gift card from OfficeMax/Office Depot, $250 cash courtesy of Tucson Electric Power and Helios Education Foundation, a mini bell donated by Ben’s Bells, and pizza from Humble Pie. The winners are:

  • Robin Mau of Ironwood Elementary School: She has been teaching for 12 years, the last five as a third-grade teacher at Ironwood in the Marana School District. Mau was nominated by Delia McCraley, a parent of a child in her classroom. “Mrs. Mau has made a significant impact in the life of my son,” McCraley said. “She is exceedingly kind to every student and is willing to adjust instruction to meet the needs of everyone in her class.”
  • Ericka Quintero of Desert View High School: A theater teacher at the Sunnyside School District campus for the last 10 years, Quintero is also a Desert View grad. She was nominated by 14 of her students. “She has personally helped me discover what I want my career to be and has encouraged me in my dream and passion,” said student Natalie Alvarez. “She deserves to be acknowledged for all her hard work, and it would be awesome if it’s not only from our little family here at Desert View.”
  • Gina Goldberg of Holaway Elementary School: Currently in her seventh year as a PE teacher at Holaway, Goldberg began her career 13 years ago as an adaptive PE teacher, traveling to different schools within the Amphitheater School District. She has also developed extracurricular activities, and started a shoe closet, providing running equipment for students and families in need. Goldberg was nominated by colleague Kim Moran, who said “Gina’s dedication to all students became quite evident when she brought a new program for my special education students in order to support their physical needs and development.”
  • Steven Sasser of Corona Foothills Middle School: Currently in his third year at Corona Foothills, Sasser teaches both eighth-grade science and sixth-grade extended learning science classes in the Vail School District. Sasser was nominated by his wife and fellow educator, Kassi Peterson Sasser. “Steven goes above and beyond every day to give his students the most amazing science program they could ever ask for,” she said.
  • Hedwig Dennis of Catalina Foothills High School: With 22 years of teaching experience, Dennis spent the last 17 years of her career at Catalina Foothills High School in Catalina Foothill School District. She teaches ninth-grade English and AP English Language and Composition. She is also a Learning Support Specialist, working with new teachers to help them refine their instructional practices.

3 selected to receive

Elks scholarships

Three high school seniors were awarded $1,550 scholarships from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks National Foundation.

Max Atkinson of Pusch Ridge Christian Academy; Terry Parish of Basis Oro Valley; and Ryland Phipps of Arizona Connection Academy were selected based on academic achievement, leadership skills, extracurricular activities, and their participation in community services.

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