Arizona teachers, counselors, mentors honored by 2024 Flinn Scholars

May 9, 2024

By brianpowell

Jennifer Orozco Torres in 2017 was finishing up fifth grade at Lineweaver Elementary School in Tucson. Her teacher was Lourdes De Leon.

Seven years later, the Class of 2024 Flinn Scholar selected De Leon as her “Distinguished Educator” for having the greatest impact in the classroom.

Orozco Torres was one of 20 Flinn Scholars from the Class of 2024, announced by the Flinn Foundation in late April, who honored their Distinguished Educator May 4 during the annual Flinn Scholarship Recognition Luncheon at The Scott Resort & Spa in Scottsdale.

The Distinguished Educators were chosen by the Scholars for having a substantial impact on their studies and life pursuits. Teachers taught a wide range of subjects, from AP Chemistry, AP English Literature, and Spanish to AP Biology and robotics. The educators included elementary and middle school teachers, four college counselors, and mentors from Upward Bound in Tucson and Arizona State University.

Katherine Lee of Flagstaff High School recognized her orchestra teacher, Richard McEnaney.

“My orchestra teacher didn’t only teach me music, but also how I could be perseverant, a leader, and a creative problem-solver to guide me through life’s challenges,” Lee said.

For Gaven Trusty of Bradshaw Mountain High School in Prescott Valley, his Distinguished Educator was his AP World History and AP U.S. History teacher, Stephani Roberts.

“I have had the pleasure of having Ms. Roberts for all four years of my high school career. Over that time, she has pushed me to excel, question, and think critically; above all else, she has given me her undying support,” Trusty said.

The 2024 Distinguished Educators are:

Charlotte Ackerman 
Robotics, Sunrise Drive Elementary School, Tucson 
Scholar: Seth Rojas 

Kevin Baker 
Honors and AP Biology, Ironwood Ridge High School, Oro Valley
Scholar: Emma Langlais 

Kristen Bunch
AP U.S. History and AP Psychology, Arizona College Prep High School, Chandler
Scholar: Swanuja Godasi 

Alex Cohen Gray
College Counseling, BASIS Flagstaff 
Scholar: Edward Wang 

Martha Davis
Science, Sun Valley Academy (Middle School), Phoenix
Scholar: Luis Hernandez 

Naomi De La Rosa Arellano
Mentor, Upward Bound, Tucson
Scholar: Leanna Mia Payan Delgado 

Lourdes De Leon
Fifth grade, Lineweaver Elementary School, Tucson 
Scholar: Jennifer Orozco Torres 

Courtenay Douglas-Salisbury
College Counseling, Barry Goldwater High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Brendan Salisbury 

Sarah Dyal
College Counseling, Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale
Scholar: Zahrah Ralph 

Amy Lemons
Geometry, Ironwood High School, Glendale
Scholar: Mikah Dyer 

Thomas McCann
College Counseling, Williams Field High School, Gilbert
Scholar: Allison Mannon 

Richard McEnaney
Orchestra, Flagstaff High School 
Scholar: Katherine Lee 

Sarah Meeks 
Band, Holbrook High School 
Scholar: Vyktorianna Bowler 

Kevin Nieves Pichardo
AP Chemistry and Spanish, University High School, Tucson 
Scholar: Jared Matheson 

Jin Park, Ph.D.
Research Professor, Arizona State University, Tempe
Scholar: Ariana Rahman 

Kristin Patterson
AP Literature, Arizona College Prep High School, Chandler
Scholar: Dominic Castagna 

Sadie Puerner
Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry, Chaparral High School, Scottsdale
Scholar: Chloe Greetis 

Stacey Roberts
English, Shadow Ridge High School, Surprise
Scholar: Carolyn Austin 

Stephani Roberts
AP World History and AP U.S. History, Bradshaw Mountain High School, Prescott Valley
Scholar: Gaven Trusty  

Erika Somoza
Spanish, Catalina Foothills High School, Tucson
Scholar: Ruby Wray 

The Recognition Luncheon introduced the Class of 2024 Flinn Scholars and outgoing Scholars who are graduating from Arizona universities and moving on to graduate studies, medical school, and new careers.

Twenty Flinn Scholars each year receive a full ride to Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or the University of Arizona honors colleges, including the cost of tuition, fees, housing, meals, and at least two study-abroad experiences. The scholarship value exceeds $130,000.

The merit-based award, now in its 39th year, is supported by the Flinn Foundation in partnership with Arizona’s three state universities. More than 1,000 high-school seniors applied for the 2024 scholarship, an award rate of less than 2%. The new Scholars join a community of more than 725 current and alumni Flinn Scholars.

Read more:
2024 Flinn Scholars to receive full rides to Arizona public universities
Meet the 2024 Flinn Scholars