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West Valley high school seniors earn millions in scholarships

PEORIA, Ariz. — It’s been a banner year for Peoria Unified District high school seniors earning scholarships.

“This year our seniors amassed over $51 million in scholarships,” said District Superintendent Denton Santarelli. That’s up from last year’s $43 million, he added.

More than 1,700 seniors received scholarships to post- secondary institutions. That includes private donor, athletic, vocational and both in-state and out-of-state merit-based scholarships.

Santarelli said the secret to the success is that the district starts as early as the seventh grade to get students thinking about their future. The schools help students realize why the classes they’re taking are relevant.

“It starts then,” he said. “It certainly builds as those students move on to high school. They have a plan. We assess their strengths and weaknesses. We stay in constant communication with parents.

“We help them realize what career opportunities are there, and we try to combine their interests with an actual course of study.”

Santarelli said counselors are on every district campus to help the students stay focused on their plan.