2021 Scholarships

Annis Dotts Memorial Scholarship

Barbara A. McDonald Resilience Award

Blake Norvell "Smile" Scholarship (2 scholarships will be awarded)

Dr. Eileen Yellin Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Joe McDonald Memorial Scholarship

Hasan Naqvi Health and Education Scholarship

Janis Chapman Merrill Foundation Scholarship  (54 scholarships will be awarded)

John Lassen, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Julie Butler Kenkel Memorial Scholarship

Katherine and Dan Roberson Memorial Scholarship

Kathryn Shook Kilcrease Memorial Scholarship

Larry Cannell Memorial Scholarship

Larry Thomas Memorial Scholarship

Pam Olsson Memorial Scholarship

Rund Family Scholarship (2 scholarships will be awarded)

Tempe St. Lukes Medical Staff Ione Sharp Memorial Scholarship (5 scholarships will be awarded)

Tom Welling Memorial Scholarship

Zita and Pen Johnson Scholarship

Scholarship Descriptions

Annis Dotts Memorial Scholarship   Annis Dotts grew up in Phoenix and attended North Phoenix High School.  She was an active student leader at Arizona State University and married ASU classmate Don Dotts after her graduation.  She was a dedicated elementary school music teacher who later left teaching to raise her family.  She was a leader in the Tempe First United Methodist Church, in Tempe women's organizations and in Lakes Community Association programs.  Don served for 26 years as Alumni Director at Arizona State and Annis was busy as a supportive "first lady" of the association.  Her son, David and daughter Debbie, both attended Marcos De Niza High School.

Barbara A. McDonald Resilience Award    Barbara A. McDonald was a loving mother, grandmother, and teacher who had health issues all of her life.  She was a teacher for 22 years, and the last ten of those years she was legally blind.  She was resilient to say the least.  She was the President of the Arizona Council for the Blind, served on the AZ State Governor committee for the blind, and so many more things.  She touched many by her story.  This scholarship recipient must have overcome a disability in vision or hearing or received a transplant.  This student must have the capacity to recover from adversity in order to continue his or her mission in receiving an education.

Blake Norvell "Smile" Scholarship    The family and friends of Blake Norvell established this scholarship in honor of his passionate, fun-loving spirit and his infectious smile. Confidently riding around in his beat-up minivan,  Blake had the ability to make everyone around him feel welcome and will be remembered as  the "glue" that held Corona's class of 2006 together. This scholarship will be awarded to a  Corona del Sol student who most epitomizes the qualities that made our dear friend Blake so special - community leadership, academic acumen, and a positive, outgoing personality. 

Dr. Eileen Yellin Memorial Scholarship     Dr. Eileen Yellin began teaching at Tempe High School in 1990, and worked tirelessly to serve the students in her Special and General Education classes.  In addition to her work within the classroom, Dr. Yellin was known for her outspoken advocacy.  She was a fervent champion for the rights of all, specifically active in the LGBTQ and handicapped communities.  As a founding member of the Tempe High School Stand and Serve, GSA, and GLSEN, her advocacy epitomized a message from one of her favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, when Atticus recommends fighting not with fists but rather with minds.  Eileen did just that, and used her mind and her voice to fight for those causes she believed so strongly.  She was recognized multiple times for her work, most recently being honored with the GLSEN Safe Schools Advisory Award.  She was a caring educator who had a great impact on those around her.

Dr. Joe McDonald Memorial Scholarship      Dr. Joe McDonald (1942-2019)     This scholarship was established to honor the life and legacy of an exemplary educator. Joe McDonald believed education was the cornerstone to reaching your full potential in life and he wanted all students to have access to higher education. McDonald often spoke of how transformative his time at Arizona State University was for him (where he earned his Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees) and the many opportunities that developed because of it and he wanted students to also have positive life-changing experiences.  

One of the most satisfying things to hear about Dr. Joe McDonald was how he made others feel. All throughout his life and recently in death, people would often tell Dr. McDonald himself or tell his family members how he 'changed their lives'. That's a mighty phrase that would make anyone boastful, but not Joe McDonald. He would chuckle and continue to uplift, encourage, and serve others by speaking life into them and affording them opportunities to rise to the occasion. Joe McDonald always had a vision of excellence and helped others to showcase their capabilities and talent.  In the 60s, Joe McDonald was recruited by Arizona State University to play football. After graduating, Joe started his career as a coach at ASU. He was one of the first black coaches at a Division One (D1) University. During his tenure, he helped coach the Sun Devils to several bowl game victories. After his many successes as a coach, Dr. McDonald also served a tenure in the 80s as Associate Athletic Director and Assistant Dean of Students at ASU. During Dr. McDonald's time at ASU, in addition to the value he brought to the football field and his positive interactions with the people, he really began to tap into his love for education.

In 1993, as Assistant Principal of Mountain Pointe High School, in addition to his contributions to their academic growth, he also wrote and sung their official Alma mater. Later in 1993, Dr. McDonald was named the first principal of Desert Vista High School. Joe McDonald hired the inaugural staff which included a team of very talented and diverse staff members. This super group of educators he assembled worked to push themselves and their students to greatness. While Joe McDonald was principal, Desert Vista was recognized nationally multiple times for their outstanding academic accomplishments. At one time Desert Vista had 19 students with perfect SAT scores. Many of the staff and students give acknowledgements to Dr. McDonald for the historic run during that time. They said that he was a true leader, giving them the tools and encouragement needed to excel. Joe McDonald also wrote and sang the alma mater for Desert Vista, which has been high copyrighted under his name as words and music by Dr. Joe McDonald.  A few years after his retirement, the staff, students and community wanted to honor Dr. McDonald for his dedication to Desert Vista's success. They honored him with the Dr. Joe McDonald auditorium. A moment that Dr. McDonald said was unforgettable.   Dr. McDonald's loves of football, people, education and family carried him throughout his lifetime and his knowledge and love permeated others to help them reach new heights within their personal and professional lives. Through this scholarship, the family hopes to continue to give back in his honor and continue his life's mantra.

Hasan Naqvi Health and Education Scholarship    This scholarship is in memoriam of my brother - Hasan Naqvi. Hasan was born with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage to the developing brain, most often before birth. CP may have taken my brothers' ability to walk and talk, however it did not take away his ability to enjoy life. With the support, compassion and education provided by Tempe High, he was able to enjoy high school to the fullest. His teachers and fellow students fostered an environment where he was able to thrive and feel "normal." Hasan unfortunately passed away while still in high school, however, with the love and support from Tempe High, I was able to walk in his place at graduation. The Tempe High Buffalo family stands together and as a grateful alumni, I believe it is important to ensure the next generation of ambitious students have the resources to succeed.   The faculty at Tempe High believed in me as they believed in my brother. With their support, I was able to reach my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. However, this would not have been possible without the graciousness of others in the form of scholarships and financial assistance. Unfortunately, many students who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine or teaching are hindered due to financial obstacles. These fields sorely need more scholarships in order to assist future health/educational professionals in reaching their goals. It is for this reason I have established a scholarship award and I hope it continues for years.

 Primary Award Criteria:  Minimum GPA Requirement: At least 3.3 GPA; On-campus and off-campus extracurricular activities and leadership; Resiliency; Tempe High School Graduating Seniors who have career ambitions in the field of Health or Medicine (i.e. physical therapist, nurse, speech therapist, doctor, nutritionist, etc) or Teaching. Those who wish to focus on working with the underserved or special needs population should mention this as well.
Must be accepted to a 4 year accredited institution and enrolled FULL TIME; Must provide evidence of acceptance and enrollment into an accredited institution prior to receiving scholarship funds.

Janis Chapman Merrill Foundation Scholarship    The Janis Chapman Merrill Foundation Scholarship has been established to support the students in the Tempe Union High School District as they pursue higher education. Mrs. Merrill, who holds a J.D. Degree from Arizona State University, served as in-house legal counsel for the Tempe Union HS District, the Tempe Elementary School District, and Kyrene Elementary School District until her retirement in March of 2011. Mrs. Merrill served on the founding Board of Tempe Dollars for Scholars, and has made significant contributions and provided ongoing support to Tempe Dollars for Scholars.  

John Lassen Jr. Memorial Scholarship     John Lassen, Jr. was a highly respected and admired educator.  His teaching career spanned 37 years.  He taught at Mountain Pointe and Marcos de Niza High Schools.  He found effective ways of helping a wide variety of students understand and enjoy mathematics.  In addition to teaching, he coached boys' and girls' golf and boys' basketball teams.  He was the original driving force for initiating the dual credit program for public schools with Rio Salado College, starting with the math department at Mountain Pointe.  He was one of the elite few to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics teaching.  He was a mentor for many educators and held in high regard by all who knew him.  This scholarship in his memory is made possible by a donation from Bonnie Lassen.

Julie Butler Kenkel Memorial Scholarship     Julie Kenkel (1956 - 2020) graduated from Tempe High School in 1974. She was active in pom poms, participating and eventually captaining the Tempe High Buffalo squad. A blind date led to Julie marrying the love of her life, a USAF fighter pilot. In their first 21 years together, the family, which grew to include a daughter and son, moved 12 times.  Julie loved traveling the world, experiencing different cultures and seeing historical sites.  She became a "relocation expert," diligently researching schools and housing to make moving as smooth as possible for her family. Their world changed many times but Julie's love was constant.  This great capacity to love also extended beyond her immediate family as she opened her door and her heart to so many people through the years, including providing a home for one of her children's high school friends. Julie was generous with her life and her earthly possessions. Her family and friends are honored to continue that example by funding this scholarship.  

Katherine and Dan Roberson Memorial Scholarship      Katherine and Dan raised their three daughters in Tempe and dedicated their lives to Marcos de Niza for many years, and in many capacities. They valued education and extracurricular activities in which all of their daughters were a part of and were successful in. They served as mentors in the Padre community and took pride in what they contributed back to the school. They were a big part of many programs and lives during this time.

Kathryn Shook Kilcrease Memorial Scholarship      Kathryn Shook Kilcrease (1952-1987) grew up in east Phoenix and attended Arizona State University, where she majored in elementary education. She worked as a leasing agent in Tempe and then joined Salt River Project, where she worked in the customer service and rates departments. Mrs. Kilcrease's daughter and several other family members are long-time Tempe residents. Her nephews are graduates of Tempe High School, and her great nephew and great niece attend Tempe schools.

Larry Cannell Memorial Scholarship   Larry Cannell (1953-2008) graduated with honors from Northern State University and earned Master's Degrees from Texas A & M University and Arizona State University. Larry excelled in athletics and academics during high school and college. He taught, coached, and was a great husband, father, and a positive role model and mentor to many students.  He always supported daughters (Paige and Megan) in their athletic participation and encouraged  them as they earned their medical degrees.   Following his tenure as an FBI Special Agent, he became part owner of the Scottsdale Pavilion Shell Service Station. Larry supported many educational and community organizations and dedicated his life to working hard and helping others.

Larry Thomas Memorial Scholarship  Larry "Coach" Thomas was a former Marine, graduate of Tempe High, and worked at Mountain Pointe High School as the Dropout Prevention Coordinator and Head Track Coach.  Larry also co-funded the Arizona Saints in Laveen and held numerous coaching positions  throughout the valley.  Those who knew Larry immediately believed in his word and promise to help those, especially youth, become the best they can be.  Larry knew where there was a will he would help find a way.  This scholarship was developed by family, friends, and general community to help youth achieve their goal of higher learning.  Thank you "LT" for your dedication, support, and lifelong impacts we will cherish forever.

Pam Olsson Memorial Scholarship   Pam Olsson, an educator for more than 30 years, worked to develop the McClintock High School Dance Program and was the founding educator of the Desert Vista High School Dance program. Her work in coaching and teaching touched hundreds of students, inspiring an entire generation who are now teachers, professional choreographers, performers, and dance studio owners throughout the nation. She was known as not only a dance teacher but a compassionate role model who truly cared about her students. The Pam Olsson Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in her honor to continue her legacy.  Students planning to major in Dance and/or Performing Arts are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Rund Family Scholarship   Dr. James, Barb, Alison, and Kristen Rund are long time Tempe residents committed to the ongoing success of the community through education. Dr. Rund has been a loyal and supportive member of the Tempe Dollars for Scholars Board for many years.  He and his family are proud and pleased to support student achievement through Tempe Dollars for Scholars. The Rund Family Scholarship will be available for students who plan to attend Arizona State University.

Tempe St. Luke's Medical Staff Ione Sharp Memorial Scholarship    Ione Sharp (1914-1987) graduated from Loma Linda School of Nursing. Over four decades in the medical profession she served in various capacities-a nurse, a medical records librarian, and an administrator and executive assistant. Ione helped open Tempe Community Hospital (presently Tempe St. Lukes) and whether she was in the operating room, maternity room, library or office she continually worked to improve the quality of service given to the hospital, its patients and its physicians.

Tom Welling Memorial Scholarship    The Tom Welling Scholarship is open to any students who has a 2.5 GPA or higher. The scholarship recipient must be planning for a career in automotive mechanics. Thomas Welling was a loving husband and father. At an age when people are established in their careers, Mr. Welling left the restaurant and resort industry and returned to school to become a certified automotive mechanic. Mr. Welling's passion was working on Nissans, traveling to car shows, and driving Arizona's roads in his red Mustang convertible. This award was established by family and friends to assist an enthusiastic automotive or engineering student to get started in a career that brought Mr. Welling so much joy.

Zita and Pen Johnson Scholarship   The Zita and Pen Johnson Scholarship expands access to higher education for students graduating from a Tempe Union High School District school (Compadre Academy, Corona del Sol High School, Desert Vista High School, Marcos de Niza High School, McClintock High School, Mountain Pointe High School or Tempe High School). Zita served as a Governing Board member, and Zita and Pen are very active in and committed to the Tempe Union High School District and the City of Tempe.