Photo featuring all four students.

Four outstanding seniors from Mesa Public Schools have been awarded Student Community Service Awards by the Mesa Citizen of the Year Association. Ava Rodrigues (Mountain View), Camryn Long (Red Mountain), and Kassandra Macias and Natalie Pacheco (Westwood High) each received a $2,500 scholarship in recognition of their exceptional dedication to community service.

To qualify, students must complete a minimum of 150 service hours during high school and demonstrate a strong commitment to ongoing community involvement. The Mesa Citizen of the Year Association underscores the significance of honoring the impactful volunteer efforts of Mesa Public Schools students, who actively contribute to city programs, nonprofits, and other vital community initiatives.

A spokesperson for the association shares, "These students are not only making a meaningful impact through their volunteer efforts, but they are also developing into the community leaders of tomorrow. By celebrating their achievements, we hope to inspire more youth to engage in volunteerism and foster a culture of service in our city."

Rodriguez will finish her Behavioral Health Technician certification at EVIT this year. She intends to study Deaf Studies at the W. A. Franke Honors College, University of Arizona, aiming to become an American Sign Language interpreter.

Reflecting on her community involvement, Rodriguez shares, "Forming deep connections with diverse groups has been immensely rewarding. It's enriched my life and imparted valuable skills I'll carry into my career."

Long plans to major in English at the University of Alabama, fast-tracking her studies for a master's degree within four years. Following this, she intends to apply to Georgetown Law, aspiring to become a Constitutional Attorney.

"In my Girls State service projects, my interest in constitutional law was solidified," shares Long. "I gained insight into upholding our liberties through direct engagement with government. My dream is to argue before the Supreme Court, impacting our rights nationally."

Macias intends to major in neuroscience at an out-of-state college, aiming for medical school afterward.

"Through community service, I've grown personally and discovered myself. Witnessing the passion for helping others has been inspiring,” shares Macias. “Collaboration and effective communication have been crucial. These experiences have profoundly impacted me, leading to lasting positive changes."

Pacheco plans to attend an out-of-state liberal arts college and pursue studies in global and local policy, as well as sociology. Her goal is to work in the legislative field as a congressional aide or even a congresswoman, allowing her to contribute to policy making and public service.

“I was surprised to see how many people love to donate! Sharing my journey with Crutches for Africa, many people are astounded to learn that a student could directly influence the lives of so many,” expresses Pacheco. “Through service, I’ve cultivated invaluable leadership skills and found courage within myself.”