Page High School senior Kaya Dickson learned in December that she was one of 39 finalists for the Flinn Scholarship.
Dickson was one of nearly 1,100 Arizona students who applied for the prestigious scholarship last autumn. The Flinn Foundation will award 20 scholarships this year. The Flinn Scholarship, which includes funding for tuition, housing, meals and study abroad, is valued at more than $120,000.
In March, Dickson – along with the other 38 candidates – will meet with a five-person interview committee. The extensive interview process will take place over two days. The Flinn Foundation will announce the 20 scholarship recipients in April.
“All of the 39 Flinn finalists are very deserving of the Flinn Scholarship. We are impressed with this diverse group of extremely bright and talented students who are working to better their schools, local communities, and the state of Arizona,” said Anne Lassen, Flinn Foundation vice president of scholarship and education initiatives. “A difficult choice lies ahead for our selection committee.”
Dickson is the daughter of Orlando and Juanita Yazzie. She plans to attend Northern Arizona University and get a double-major in music education and performance with the goal of becoming a music teacher.
“I’d like to open my own studio and give private lessons to kids,” she said.
One of Dickson’s greatest passions is music. She particularly loves playing her violin. You have probably seen her playing it in the high school’s recent fall and Christmas concerts. Dickson is also a member of the Navajo Language Club, and the high school’s E-sports Club. In her free time, she can be found practicing her violin, reading and watching anime.
It will come as no surprise, given that Dickson is a finalist for one of the most-prestigious academic scholarships, that she is also passionate about learning and her education. She has taken numerous AP classes, as well as online classes with Arizona State University.
Two teachers at Page High School have had a positive influence on Dickson’s development as a student: Mary Hesse and Ben Dalton.
“Mary has been there since day one, supporting me and giving me many opportunities to grow as a student,” said Dickson.
“She recently moved over the summer, but she still gives me private lessons over zoom. She has given me confidence in my performing abilities and realized how much potential I have. Another teacher would be Benjamin Dalton. He's always rooting for me in everything I do. If I have any questions, worries, or need anything, he's right there to give me some insight. He's very encouraging and helped me become more motivated to reach my goals.”
No one is more deserving of the Flinn Scholarship than Dickson, Dalton said.
“Kaya is the model student, that all students at Page High School should strive to be like,” Dalton said. “She has a good balance of being sociable and friendly while striving for academic excellence. She’s taken all the most rigorous classes we have here at the high school while doing so with grace and poise.”