New Chandler High grad is also a Flinn Scholar - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

New Chandler High grad is also a Flinn Scholar

June 3rd, 2019 development
New Chandler High grad is also a Flinn Scholar

By Kayla rutledge

Anna Lee Iverson was so busy shuttling between Chandler High’s varsity soccer practice and the school’s musical rehearsals that she had entirely forgotten she applied to be a Flinn Scholar.

Then, she received an email notifying her she landed her first interview with the Flinn Foundation.

“Not only was the scholarship really enticing, but the title of being a Flinn Scholar is the type of person I want to be. I want to be that kind of person,” said Anna.

The Flinn Scholarship covers tuition, room and board and other expenses for any of Arizona’s three state universities for four years.

Students must have a minimum 3.5 grade-point average, participate in extracurricular activities where they demonstrate leadership skills, rank in the top 5 percent of their class and score a minimum 29 on the ACT or 1340 on the SAT to be considered.

And her passion for helping others and her willingness to learn leadership skills ultimately made her one of the 20 Arizona high school seniors to receive the scholarship.

The journey to win the award is anything but short or easy.

Anna started her application in October, which consisted of a long essay, five short essays, transcripts, teacher recommendations and a counselor recommendation. In December, the senior was notified she would be taken in for the first round of interviews.

But with such a packed schedule, there was hardly time spared to prepare.

“I remember my mom and I would practice questions in the car going to and from places because that was really the only time I had. We printed out a bunch of possible things they could’ve asked me, but they didn’t end up asking me anything I practiced. Except for a question they asked me to submit, I nailed that one,” said Anna.

Making it to the final interview, Anna had to reflect on what shaped her into a student deserving of such a scholarship.

Though she had many experiences throughout high school that made her rise to the needs of her community through service and positively contribute to the future, Anna said there were a few moments that really shaped her.

Many of those moments happened when no one was watching.

As a teen nurse, Anna shadowed a nursing assistant in a hospice care facility. Among other duties like repositioning people and cleaning bedpans, she comforted people by talking to them or just sharing her presence when they were asleep.

“I would play gospel music and just sit with them. It really taught me a lot about empathy and how to support others. It also showed me what an impact being there for somebody can have when they don’t really have anyone,” Anna said.

As a freshman on the varsity soccer team, Anna said she learned a lot about how to observe strong leaders and take advice from those wiser than her.

“I’ve always been someone that likes to take charge and lead everybody and rally everybody, but learning as a freshman how to watch and learn from other leaders was something that I took to heart,” she said.

However, after tearing her ACL during soccer her sophomore year, Anna had more free time than ever before.

At the same time as her injury, students were congregating in Phoenix as part of the March for Our Lives movement — a student-led response to the Parkland school shooting in Florida.

And she joined them.

“It was, for me, about getting people to listen to a message that is so important and take it seriously even though it’s coming from the mouth of a child,” Anna said, adding:

“For me it was really just about opening my eyes to local government and national government and see how they interact and experience what it’s like to be on the front line of a grassroots movement.”

Anna plans on attending the University of Arizona next year for nursing, hoping to get her masters down the road.

As part of the Flinn Scholarship, Anna will have the opportunity to study abroad anywhere she’d like though her first experience will be three weeks in China during her freshman year.

Though she hasn’t chosen where she will go just yet, she plans on embracing and sharing her cardinal rule wherever she goes.

“The biggest rule that I’ve followed throughout everything is to be kind. It’s harder than it sounds but its something so valuable that I think we lose sight of a lot. If you are as kind as you can be, there’s a lot of things you can do that will benefit the world around you and it comes back in spades,” she said.

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