2016 Flinn Scholars honor distinguished Arizona educators

May 4, 2016

By Matt Ellsworth

The 2016 Flinn Scholars paid tribute during the program’s annual Recognition Dinner last week to their selected Distinguished Educators, who had influential roles in their academic and personal development.

During the May 1 event at the Arizona Biltmore, the newest Flinn Scholars, 20 high-school seniors from 18 schools across Arizona, shared the stage with their Distinguished Educators. Each year, the incoming class of Flinn Scholars is asked to name the teachers who have most significantly affected their educations.

The 2016 educators teach a wide variety of subjects, including English, history, calculus, drama, biology, French, physics, chemistry, speech and debate, and literature. In addition, one educator was a student’s fourth-grade teacher and another was a Scholar’s middle-school band teacher.

Flinn Scholar Anagha Deshpande said of her Hamilton High School AP English teacher: “Kind, open-minded, and inquisitive, Mr. (Patrick) Whorton further encouraged my curious mind. He taught me that true learning stems from the curiosity to explore, not from earning grades—a valuable lesson I will always cherish.”

Flinn Scholar Martha Kiela said of her BASIS Tucson North French teacher, Leigh Thomas. “Madame Thomas, my teacher and friend since seventh grade, not only taught me to read, speak, and write in French, but inspired me to look beyond my focus on science to art, history, music, and culture.”

The Flinn Scholars Program’s Recognition Dinner celebrated the Class of 2016 as well as the 25 Scholars graduating from an Arizona university this year.

The highly competitive merit-based scholarship includes the cost of tuition at one of the three state universities, funding for room and board, support for at least two study-abroad experiences and an off-campus internship, university faculty mentorship, and other benefits.

The scholarship, supported by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation and the universities, is valued at more than $115,000.

The full list of the 2016 Distinguished Educators include:

Christine Allen
AP English, Sabino High School, Tucson
Scholar: Cameron Carver

Philip Althage
Biology and Literature, Anthem Preparatory Academy, Phoenix
Scholar: Aidan McGirr

Micah Behrend
United States History, Glendale High School
Scholar: Emmi Torres

Stephanie Bell
Calculus II, Chandler Preparatory Academy
Scholar: Tina Peng

John-David Bowman
Theory of Knowledge, Westwood High School, Mesa
Scholar: Andrew Roberts

Karyn Fought, Ph.D.
AP and Honors Biology, BASIS Chandler
Scholar: Rohini Nott

Kenneth Giordano
Band, Madison Middle School, Phoenix
Scholar: Bailey Lockwood

Krisanne Markel
Drama, BASIS Scottsdale
Scholar: Vaibhavi Mohan

Jennifer K. Medlock
AP English Composition, Skyline High School, Mesa
Scholar: Toni Marcheva

Kathleen Patterson
Calculus, Horizon Honors High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Kara Dunn

Judy Peterson
AP and Honors English, Blue Ridge High School, Pinetop-Lakeside
Scholar: Nicole Bratsch

Shelly Stearns
AP World and Military History, Flagstaff High School
Scholar: Yisha Ng

Sara Stollar Yates
Biology, Sandra Day O’Connor High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Colton Flowers

Elaine Szczesniak
4th Grade, Kerr Elementary School, Mesa
Scholar: Ivette Montes

Leigh Thomas
French, BASIS Tucson North
Scholar: Martha Kiela

Cory Waxman
Physics and Engineering, Phoenix Union Bioscience High School
Scholar: Martin Blair

Patrick Whorton

AP English, Hamilton High School, Chandler
Scholar: Anagha Deshpande

John P. Wolnisty
Speech and Debate, Tempe Preparatory Academy
Scholar: Enrique Favaro

George E. Woods
IB Higher Level Physics, Westwood High School, Mesa
Scholar: Maeve Kennedy

Gene D. Woon
AP Chemistry, University High School, Tucson
Scholar: Maggie Zheng

For more information:

31st class of Flinn Scholars to attend Arizona public universities

2016 Flinn Scholars