Recipients of SBCO Scholarships

Elizabeth Ziegler

Elizabeth Ziegler, a SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) scholarship recipient, says, “When I was in high school and applied for the scholarship and got it, I was so excited. But looking back, I had no idea just how much the scholarship was going to help me.” Elizabeth is currently a senior at Northern Arizona University with a major in biology. Initially she thought she had wanted to become a physician’s assistant, but as time went on, she realized that was not her passion. Becoming a veterinarian was in her heart, especially given her experiences with animals during her youth. She plans to pursue this dream at the University of Arizona.

During the peak of Covid, when NAU had transitioned to fully online studies, Elizabeth found herself struggling to keep up. Then her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she thought her dreams were dashed. Her grades suffered and she was afraid she might lose her scholarships. She says, “I was planning on dropping out if I lost the SBCO and other scholarships.” But, the scholarships continued, which allowed her to progress to her senior year.

Elizabeth says, “Overall, college has been one of the best experiences of my life and I cannot wait to continue my college journey.” During her freshman year, Elizabeth expanded her horizons by joining the marching band and later the pep band. These extracurricular experiences helped her to forge lasting friendships and to feel comfortable with college life. But, she admits, “if it were not for the SBCO scholarship, I do not believe that my college experience would be such a happy memory.”

Leticia Velasquez Maestas

LETICIA VELASQUEZ MAESTAS, a graduate of Pima Community College’s radiology program, credits the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) scholarship program with shepherding her through her post-high school education. After graduating as salutatorian at San Manuel High School, Leticia started her college studies at Pima Community College, where she pursued studies in healthcare. It took her three years to complete all of the prerequisites for her chosen field of radiology. She then applied for a program of study in radiology where she was wait listed for a year before being able to start. She was finally able to begin in 2019. Not only was the coursework challenging for her, she worked, planned a wedding, and had to surmount the difficulties imposed by Covid. But she knew she had to keep going. She states, I was more at ease knowing that with all that was going on, my college tuition was taken care of. The SBCO scholarship was there for me from the very beginning. Leticia also appreciates the liaison that she had throughout her pursuit of her program of study. She describes the liaison as regularly checking in with her and encouraging her as she worked to pursue her goals.

Leticia has completed her degree in radiology, passed the radiology state exam, is married and has started her career. She states “I will be forever grateful for the SaddleBrooke community, not only because of their contribution, but also how much they care for us and our education.” She encourages other students to keep going, not give up, and not to let anything, even a pandemic, get in the way of reaching one’s goals and making dreams come true.

Makaiah Gorham

Makaiah Gorham

MAKAIAH GORHAM, a student at BYU-Hawaii, is the consummate volunteer and is seeking a future where he can provide service and help to those in need. His goal is to ultimately help families in dire situations to build better futures for themselves.

Following graduation from San Manuel High School in 2017, Makaiah volunteered in the Philippines, helping residents focus more on family, community, and faith. These endeavors included tasks ranging from pulling weeds and cleaning gutters to typhoon preparation and clean-up. Following his two-year stint in the Philippines, he attended Pima Community College where he finished with a 4.0 GPA. During this time he continued to volunteer and work full-time. In 2020 he moved to Hawaii and is majoring in Business Marketing and minoring in Psychology and Mandarin.

Makaiah commits to using his scholarship wisely, and assures that the investment will benefit others in the years to come. He expresses dismay that often donations to charities do not actually go to aid the needy or that charitable funds are spent frivolously. He states, “I can assure you that the money donated to me will only go towards helping pay for an amazing education.”

His dream is to form one or more non-profits that would, among other things, assist people in countries where the labor supply is great to acquire jobs in countries where the labor supply is low.

Katerina Frye

Katerina Frye

KATERINA FRYE is a published author and currently an English and Psychology major at Johns Hopkins University.  In addition to graduating from high school with a 4.0 grade point average, she was active in community youth services, volunteered at the Golden Goose Thrift Shop and received the National High School Presidential Service Award.

With respect to her college major, Katerina writes, “Writing does not stitch an aorta closed or produce the latest gadget and it rarely yields tangible benefits, but writing unravels the human spirit and speaks to all its horrors and wonders.  Pursuing a path as a writer is a noble pursuit.  I will not save lives, but maybe, just maybe, I can help them.”

As for her SBCO scholarship, Katerina adds, “I am so thankful for SBCO’s commitment to helping students.  Their generous scholarship has allowed me to attend the school of my dreams, where I can pursue my passion for learning….as of now, my career goal is to work for an esteemed news outlet or magazine company.  The future is exciting, and I am ready for it.”


Angeleaha Jennings

Angeleaha Jennings

ANGELEAHA JENNINGS is one of our scholarship students.  Angeleaha graduated second in her class of 70 at San Manuel High School.  In addition to working two jobs, she played multiple varsity sports, was President of the National Honor Society and the Rotary Interact Club, and volunteered for the Oracle Fire Department.  In her spare time, she tutored younger students. Angeleaha writes:

“The SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Scholarship has allowed me to pursue a college career I never thought was possible.  With the help from SBCO, I have been able to attend Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, which has allowed me to fully immerse myself into the experiences and benefits ASU has to offer.  Doing this would not be possible without SBCO, and I am extremely thankful for everything this scholarship has offered me.”  

“Being a recipient of the SBCO scholarship has created a space for me to feel fully supported and encouraged in all my aspirations and goals, which is why this scholarship means so much to me.  I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be involved in such an amazing organization.”

Allison Martinez

Surviving a horrific car accident ten years ago changed ALLISON MARTINEZ forever. “I remember most of it, but I cry every time the memories come to mind.  Thankfully, my brothers and I recovered soon afterward. To this day however, my Mom suffers due to that same event from so long ago. It is a miracle she is still alive and in decent health.  Much of my family’s recoveries are because of the doctors and medics who helped. People in the medical field impact many lives. Their passion is to help others and this is my passion too.”

Allison Martinez

The medical treatment that saved Allison and her family created in her a burning desire to become a physician.

Allison graduated from Superior High School with a 4.0 grade point average. Due, in part, to her academic achievements and extensive community service, she was awarded first place at the Arizona State Leadership Conference three years in a row and won a Gold Medal at the National Student Leadership Conference.  Allison became certified in First Aid, CPR and AED and worked part time as a lifeguard while she was going to school. After attending Central Arizona Community College, Allison enrolled at Grand Canyon University.  She writes:

“It’s been an honor to be a recipient of the SBCO Scholarship. This scholarship is worth far more than its monetary value.  It has allowed me to be a student in the rigorous, yet highly rewarding pre-medicine program at Grand Canyon University. The scholarship has taken some of the financial burden off my shoulders. I am also extremely grateful for the support provided by the SBCO Scholarship Committee. The committee has encouraged me these past few years and have been a great source of motivation for me to succeed in my classes. They have gone above and beyond to provide support and encouragement for me. I will always be grateful to the committee and the scholarship they have awarded me.”

Tommie Thompson

Tommie Thompson

TOMMIE THOMPSON graduated fourth in her class at Ray High School with a 3.9 grade point average. In addition to her high school studies, Tommie worked in a local business, took the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Central Arizona community College and was a member of the Junior Chamber of commerce. Tommie also served as a bible school leader, participated in the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists and was Captain of the varsity volleyball team.

Tommie writes: “Throughout high school, I knew I wanted to attend a four year university and then go on to medical school, which I knew would lead to a massive amount of debt. Without the help of my family, I was concerned about how I would pay for all of this. Receiving the SBCO scholarship allowed me to focus more of my time on school since I don’t need to work as much to pay for my tuition and expenses. By taking out fewer loans now, I will be better able to play for medical school after I graduate.”

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Kenneth Palmer

Using six criteria, KENNETH PALMER was one of the students carefully selected for a scholarship by a team of SBCO volunteers. The criteria include financial need, grades, references, community service, a written essay and a personal interview with a team of SBCO volunteers.

Kenneth Palmer, Grand Canyon University, Pre-Physical Therapy

Kenneth graduated first in his class at Ray High School in Kearney with a 4.0 grade point average. He was President of his junior and senior classes, was Band Club President, served as leader of the brass section and played in the jazz/rock ensemble. He was also a member of Student Council, served as national Honor Club Vice President, played varsity basketball and ran varsity track and cross country. Kenneth was described by his teachers as a “natural leader” and by his coach as “easily the most coachable athlete I have ever encountered.”

In his spare time, Kenneth served the Kearney community by teaching Sunday school and volunteering with the local Kids Club, community food basket program, Town Clean-up and Town Recycling programs!

Kenneth writes, “Over the past three years, I have been very blessed to be a recipient of the SaddleBrooke Scholarship. Not only has this generous scholarship provided me with an opportunity to learn in the college environment, but it has also opened an avenue in which I have been able to grow. Beyond the classroom, college has challenged me to look at the world and ask myself how I can best make a contribution. Even as I look forward to my senior year, I am very aware of all the roads that are now available to me because of this generous support.”

Angelita Casillas

ANGELITA CASILLAS earned an SBCO scholarship and is currently attending the University of Arizona. She graduated first in her high school class with a 4.0 grade point average, served as Secretary of the Student Council and Co-Secretary of the Junior Chamber of Commerce.  She also volunteered with the Tri-Community League and the Pinal County Youth Reading Program.

Angelita Casillas

Angelita writes, It is a great honor to have received the SBCO Scholarship. Since I began searching for colleges, the prices have always scared me. My family does their best to support my brothers and me so the finances of college have always been on my mind.”  

“With the help of SBCO, this scholarship allows me to follow my goal of becoming a veterinarian. I do not have to worry about the expense of college now that I have the support of the SBCO Scholarship.”  

“I cannot express how much this scholarship will help me in my new journey. Thanks to SBCO, I’ll be able to focus on my studies and do not have to stress over the costs of being a college student.” 


George Rivas

George Rivas

GEORGE RIVAS is a bilingual student who graduated from high school with a 3.7 grade point average and studied piano for nine years.

George volunteered at the Golden Goose Thrift Shop, the Casa Maria Food Kitchen and served as a Eucharistic Minister at the Santa Catalina Catholic Church.  In 2017, the Diocese of Tucson awarded George their Saint John Paul II Youth Award.

George is majoring in Political Science at the University of Arizona and plans to minor in Arabic.  He hopes to work in a U. S. Embassy as a Foreign Service Officer.

George states, “Receiving the SBCO Scholarship has been a blessing. Attending college today is not as affordable as it was in the past, so this scholarship has helped me a lot in being able to afford this next step in my education. With this scholarship, I was able to pay for all my textbooks in both my first and second semesters. I am so grateful that this scholarship is here for me!”

Brittany Paton

Brittany Paton

SBCO is very proud to announce that one of our scholarship students, BRITTANY PATON, will complete her Masters Degree this year from Northern Arizona University.

Brittany was first selected for the SBCO scholarship program when she graduated from Ray High School in Kearny, AZ  back in 2015.  In addition to being on the honor roll all four years, she served as Secretary and President of the Student Council, was a varsity volleyball player and was an active volunteer in her community.

With financial support from SBCO, she attended Northern Arizona University and graduated summa cum laude in 2019 with a 4.0 GPA and a B.S. in Accounting. With continued financial support from Community Outreach, Brittany is completing her Masters in Business Administration this year.

She writes, I have been honored to be selected for an SBCO scholarship. This $3000 annual scholarship has allowed me the chance to further my education and my dream of becoming a Certified Public Accountant. I want to express my gratitude to you for your support to students such as myself furthering their education.”

Makayla Martinez

Makayla Martinez, ASU, Exercise & Wellness

MAKAYLA MARTINEZ graduated third in her class at Superior High School with a 3.8 GPA. She was Treasurer of both DECA and Student Council and served as both President and Editor of her high school yearbook.

Makayla worked as a restaurant cashier and as a lifeguard to save money for college, and in 2018 received a Congressional Award for Community Service. She is currently an Exercise and Wellness major at ASU and hopes to become an Occupational Therapist.

Makayla writes: “This SBCO scholarship has reduced my burden of paying for college. I am so proud to not only be accepted into college but also to receive this financial assistance.  Continuing my education is important to me because I want to be independent and never have to depend on anyone else.  I want to thank the SaddleBrooke community for acknowledging small town students like me who want a bigger and brighter future.”

Cassandra Frye, ASU, Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Cassandra Frye

CASSANDRA FRYE was not only an honors student in high school, but also a rodeo champion and an entrepreneur.

She grew up on a small ranch and started her own pet sitting business while she was in high school. Cassie took care of farm animals, household pets and even exotic animals in order to save money for college. She grew her business, “Cowgirl Pet Sitting”, to the point where she was even able to hire a few part time helpers. In her spare time, Cassie competed in barrel racing and won first place in a 2016 rodeo competition in Phoenix.

Cassie began her studies in pre-veterinary medicine at Arizona State University in fall of 2019. Here is what she had to say about her Community Outreach Scholarship:

Being raised by a single mother with two children, I knew she couldn’t afford to send both of us to college. This scholarship has given me the opportunity to pursue my dream of attending college and becoming a veterinarian. Without the generosity of the SaddleBrooke community, I would not be able to attend Arizona State University. I am very grateful to SaddleBrooke Community Outreach for providing me this opportunity and I admire the SaddleBrooke community for helping students further their education.”

Robert Casillas, University of Arizona, Nursing

Robert Casillas

ROBERT CASILLAS graduated first in his high school class with a 4.0 grade point average and served as President of the Student Council.

In addition to working part time for the Town of Hayden, Robert served as Vice President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and organized and delivered food baskets to local families. He helped organize the local blood drive and volunteered with the Pinal County Youth Reading Program and the Little League baseball program.

Robert states “Being the recipient of the Community Outreach Scholarship means that I am financially able to attend the University of Arizona to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. I knew that continuing my education would be costly and this scholarship will help me purchase many of the materials I need. I am honored that the SBCO Scholarship Committee chose me as a recipient and I sincerely appreciate their contribution to my future success.

Augustine Hing

Augustine Hing

AUGUSTINE HING attended Central Arizona college for two years and earned a 4.0 grade point average before enrolling at Arizona State University in 2019 to major in Education.

In addition to earning a 3.9 grade point average as valedictorian of her high school class, Augustine was a member of Student Council and was a varsity member of the basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball teams. She worked as a grocery clerk at the local food market in Superior to save money for college and, in her spare time, volunteered at the Food Bank and for the Superior Fire Department.

Augustine writes, “My choice to become an educator is inspired by my high school teacher, Mrs. Villaverde. Her daily lessons, advice and encouragement guided me through high school. My Mom, a single parent, also motivated me to excel and take advantage of every opportunity afforded me. One day I will come back and inspire the next generation at Superior High School the way my Mom and my teachers have inspired me.”

Regarding her scholarship, Augustine writes, Receiving this scholarship relieved the stress of how I was going to be able to afford going to college. I am able to be here at ASU and enjoy everything there is to offer. I love school. I love the environment and the energy that Tempe has. I can walk to class, visit home and continue to work towards my dream of becoming a teacher.

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