SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Happenings

SBCO and SaddleBrooke Ranchers Encourage Young Readers

SaddleBrooke Ranch woodworkers (left to right) Jeff Hansen, Barry Milner, Curt Kamada, Jim Lindley, Eric Taylor, Sam Rossi, Vic Nordstrom, Bonnie Markovitz, and John Gordon made bookcases for first grade students in Kearny, Ariz. Not pictured are Russ Hardy, Ken Deleo, Lee Vulcan, Steve Laethem, John Vanderwall, and Scott Saxon.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Each year SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) funds a grant to provide first graders at Ray Elementary School in Kearny, Ariz., with a wooden bookcase and two new books. The funding also provides for each child to receive two additional books in second and again in third grade to store on their bookcases. Many high school students report that they are still using the bookcases they received in first grade. This program is especially important in a community where many children live in homes without books.

For many years, the Rotary Club of Kearny helped to finance and construct the bookcases. When the Rotary Club backed away from the program, SBCO worked with local woodworking/shop class students to build the bookcases. Then prisoners in Florence were paid to build them. But for the past three years, members of the SaddleBrooke Ranch Woodworkers Club have volunteered their talent and time to build the bookcases.

The club members worked 80 hours at the Ranch woodshop to build 31 bookcases that were delivered in May to delighted students. SBCO is grateful to the residents of SaddleBrooke Ranch who so generously contribute their skills and resources to support this and other SBCO programs.

John Williams Recognized as SBCO Receptionist of the Year

John Williams was posthumously honored as Volunteer of the Year for 2022-23 by SBCO.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

John Williams, who was a dedicated SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) volunteer for many years, died in August 2022. However, his contribution to the organization has not been forgotten. At the annual SBCO meeting on April 10, John was posthumously recognized receptionist of the year for 2022-23. His wife of 62 years, Barbara, and his sister, Susan, were present at the awards ceremony.

John lived in SaddleBrooke for more than 20 years. And although he continued working for some of that time, he generously volunteered for SBCO, working at Kids’ Closet, helping with the Food Drive and finally, when he developed back issues, serving as a receptionist in the  SBCO office. According to his sister, “John took his volunteer work very seriously. He loved SBCO and planned his schedule around his volunteer commitments. When I moved here, John brought me into the fold, sharing his dedication to the organization.” Susan herself was recognized as the SBCO receptionist of the year in 2020.

John, a California native, spent 12 years serving in the U.S. Navy where he was trained to be an air traffic controller (ATC). During his service he was stationed in Japan, Texas, and California. After leaving the Navy, he began his career with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an air traffic controller. This work took him and his family to northern and southern California. John was a skilled ATC who really liked his work. He retired from the FAA after spending 26 years on the job. But clearly John wasn’t ready to leave, quickly becoming an FAA contractor responsible for training ATCs and aiding in the advancement of air traffic technology. His family jokes that he “failed at retirement.” At long last, after four years as a contractor, John finally did retire in 2021.

The SBCO board of directors, fellow volunteers, and donors appreciate the contribution John made to the success of SBCO’s efforts to feed, clothe, provide enrichment opportunities, and award scholarships to the kids living in the Copper Corridor. SBCO’s motto: “It’s all about the kids” was thoroughly embraced by John during his time as a volunteer.

SBCO Awards 52 Scholarships to College-Bound Students

At the SBCO Annual Meeting on April 10, Makayla Martinez expressed her appreciation for the $4,000 SBCO scholarship she received to support her doctorate studies in occupational therapy at Northern Arizona University.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Each year SaddleBrooke Community Outreach’s (SBCO) Education Committee receives applications from local high school seniors for college scholarships. After the applications are received, committee members review each student’s financial situation, high school transcript, activities, an essay about personal and professional goals and letters of recommendation. Committee members then conduct a personal interview to select the scholarship recipients. This year the committee received 62 applications and awarded 53 undergraduate scholarships to students from eight high schools. Thirty-five of the scholarships were for four-year degrees and 17 were for two-year degrees. For comparison purposes, in 2022 the committee received 39 applications and awarded 32 scholarships, 26 for four-year degrees and seven for two-year degrees.

In addition, this year the Education Committee awarded three scholarships to graduate students accepted into criminal justice, occupational therapy, and clinical psychology programs. These scholarships were financed from the interest earned on the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund and were awarded as $4,000 or $5,000 one-time grants.

As of this fall, students attending two-year colleges receive a $1,800 per year scholarship while those attending four-year institutions receive $3,600 per year. Previously these amounts were $1,500 and $3,000. If a student earns a minimum 2.0 GPA while registered as a full-time student with a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, the scholarship continues until a two- or four-year degree is completed. If a student’s tuition and other expenses are otherwise covered, SBCO will pay for other school-related expenses to offer the maximum benefit from the scholarship. If a student receiving a two-year degree wishes to continue in a four-year program, a second $3,600 a year scholarship may be awarded.

Augustine Hing—An SBCO Scholarship Star

Augustine Hing is the recipient of SBCO scholarships for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice.

Marilyn Heasley

Augustine (Augie) Hing is the epitome of why the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Scholarship program does what it does when it comes to supporting the further education of Copper Corridor students.

I was new to the scholarship committee when I learned that, in addition to giving scholarship funding to deserving students, the program assigns scholarship liaisons to mentor and guide students through their college years. I inherited a student, Augie Hing, a senior at Arizona State University, from one of the scholarship committee mentors who was moving back to Canada.

Augie and I traded emails and I learned more about her as we “spoke.” We then met for lunch and she impressed me even more with her planned path, her integrity, and her maturity. And we had fun getting to know each other better. Since her degree will be in criminal justice, I told her that I could see her as attorney general one day. She made it clear to me that her plan is to return to her hometown of Superior and put her education to work helping those in need in her community.

Augie graduated from Superior High School in 2019 and was first in her class with a GPA of 3.9+. She was taking college classes while in high school and achieved a GPA of 4.0 in those classes. That is how goal-oriented and determined she is. She knew what she wanted and what it would take to achieve it.

Her list of local, state, and national awards and recognitions is very impressive: Valedictorian, Pinal County Town Hall delegate, National Coca-Cola Scholar finalist, Elks Most Valuable Student state finalist, Future Health Leader delegate, Honor Roll every year, Student of the Month every year, Arizona Girl State Representative, and Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership delegate. This is just part of the list. She is currently on the Superior School Board. But it wasn’t all just about academics. While in high school, she was active in volleyball, basketball and tennis, adding to her well-rounded resume.

Augie is completing her undergraduate degree at Arizona State University and will graduate in May. She has already begun work on her master’s degree and is also working in the District Attorney’s office in Apache Junction. Augie has been accepted into the master’s program at Arizona State University and will begin those studies after graduation. This April, she was awarded a scholarship for her master’s degree through the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund.

No doubt there are many students who have received SBCO scholarships who have also achieved much as they pursued further education. That is the reason behind the scholarship program. Augie was my introduction to this incredible program, and I am so honored to be able to watch her continue to grow and succeed.

Remember Augie’s name. You will be hearing more about her!