The Charro Foundation: Education initiatives spark underlying fuel for support

Scottsdale Charros Executive Director Dennis Robbins at the 31st Annual Outstanding Students & Educators Awards Banquet. (Submitted photo)

For nearly 60 years the Scottsdale Charros have been instrumental supporters of public education and all things Scottsdale.

And, for more than 30 years The Charro Foundation has supported specifically the men and women of the Scottsdale Unified School District.

The Scottsdale Charros present the 33rd Annual Outstanding Students & Educators Awards Banquet 6 p.m. Friday, April 26 at the The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, 7700 E. McCormick Parkway.

For 58 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

“I think the Charros all understand that our future is directly tied to the success of our children and the next generation,” said Charro Ryan Schubert, who serves on the 2019 Education Committee.

“The two most important things in a child’s life are a strong family unit and a solid education. No matter what socioeconomic status a student comes from, their education will set them up for either success or failure as an adult. Our teachers and administrators work tirelessly, loving what they do and the Charros believe it is critical that they are recognized consistently for their great work helping to ensure our children are productive, successful adults in our community.”

Ryan Schubert

Mr. Schubert considers saluting the outstanding teachers and students of Scottsdale Schools a privilege.

“We are forever grateful for their service and I would say the most rewarding aspect of being a Scottsdale Charro is being able to help celebrate the fine men and women of SUSD year after year,” he said.

The Scottsdale Charros have a rich history of supporting education through programs based within Scottsdale Schools as well as education and youth programs delivered through community-based nonprofits.

The Charros support SUSD by investing not only dollars but their time as well, through the Charro Liaison Program.

The foundation of the Scottsdale Charros education initiatives is the year-round, hands-on Charro Liaison program.

With information provided directly from the Scottsdale Charros, here is a rundown of each program fueled by local business leaders of the community:

The Math and Science Academy is an accelerated STEM program open to all SUSD high schoolers. (Submitted photo)

Education Grants

Intended to provide financial assistance for projects, equipment and programs related to the classroom, athletics or infrastructure that are not funded through traditional funding streams.

This year, four $10,000 grants for computers, robotics and science materials will be given to Tonalea, Redfield, Sequoya and Coronado schools. The Charros are also awarding five $2,500 grants to Tavan, Hohokam, Arcadia and Coronado.

Future Teacher Scholarships

Established as a means to encourage SUSD seniors to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education from one of Arizona’s three state universities and, now including, Grand Canyon University. This $20,000 scholarship is awarded to students who can demonstrate outstanding achievement in academic activities, as well as non-academic activities, during their high school years.

SCC Scholarships

The Charros have been proud supporters of Scottsdale Community College since the school’s inception in the 1960s and recently established this $5,000 scholarship for graduates of SUSD high schools who want to pursue an associate degree at SCC. In addition to the academic scholarships, the Charros have added two athletic scholarships to the top male and female athletes as selected by SCC.

STEM grants

This year the Charros have established a Community STEM Education Grant program and will be awarding up to $50,000 for science, technology, engineering and math educational programs within SUSD.

iTeachAZ Scholarships

The iTeachAZ program at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is a one-of-a-kind, hands-on experience that more than doubles the amount of time most future teachers spend in the classroom. Seniors in the program spend an entire academic school year student teaching in a pre-K-12 school with mentor teachers. The Scottsdale Charros support this endeavor by providing scholarship funds, matched by ASU, to 10 seniors each year.

This year, the Charros have doubled its investment and will add an additional 10 student teachers who are located at Coronado High School.

All District Athletics Awards
and Scholarships

The Scottsdale Charros proudly award $500 scholarships to one male and one female athlete during the All City Athletic Awards Banquet, held three times annually. The recipients of the award are selected by the athletic directors from the school district and are based upon the students’ character, academics, community service, and future plans.

Project Graduation

The Scottsdale Charros, through The Charro Foundation, provide funding to SUSD high schools to help ensure a safe graduation event for graduating seniors.

Youth Luncheon & Baseball Clinic

Through a partnership with MLBPAA Legends for Youth and the City of Scottsdale, each year 300 deserving students, selected by their principals, arrive by the busload at Scottsdale Stadium to join Major League Baseball greats for lunch and an afternoon on the field.

Students learn baseball skills from MLB’s finest, including Hall of Famers, players, and coaches with storied careers. Fitness clinics are part of the day’s programming and the students, players, coaches and volunteers create a lifelong memory during one incredible afternoon.

Community leaders and the great equalizer

Dennis Robbins, Executive Director of the Scottsdale Charros, says supporting public education in Scottsdale is apart of the Charro DNA.
“One of the reasons that the Charros exist is to promote the health and welfare of the Scottsdale community. What better way is there to do this than to support the youth in our community?” he asked.

“SUSD has been a foundational part of the Scottsdale community for over 100 years. The people who endured living and working in Scottsdale before air conditioning knew that educating our youth was a value to be lived. The Scottsdale Charros want to make sure that families in our community have equal access to a quality education.”

A view of Scottsdale Charros Executive Director Dennis Robbins at left, and Todd Peterson, longtime Charro and community advocate. (File photo)

The prospects for a community’s success is largely dependent on the qualities of its leaders, Mr. Schubert contends.

“Often times, the strongest leaders within a community have deep roots in that community,” he said. “Those roots start growing as local children are being educated and when they gain critical thinking skills over the early stages in life.”

Mr. Schubert says access to top-notch public education and quality of life of any community go hand-in-hand.

“If that education is of quality and that child is surrounded by passionate teachers and strong school systems they will thrive and develop into leaders,” he said.

“Further, if that same quality of education is available to every child no matter what neighborhood they live in or what socioeconomic status they possess then our community will cultivate a diverse group of future leaders that don’t move away. These leaders will work together, combining all their different perspectives and life experiences to always work to make their community the best it can be.”

Sometimes the best commodity to share is time — rather than dollars and cents — Mr. Robbins says.

“Not only do we offer grants and scholarships to students and teachers, but we give our time in every SUSD school,” he said.

“We assign a Charro liaison to every school in the district. The liaison’s job is to meet with the principal, teachers and students to assist in making the educational experience the best it can be at every school. We have boots on the ground who care about what is happening in our classrooms.”

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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