Our scholarship and stipend winners are exceptional! 

(Thanks to hard work & the Arlington School System.)

2022 Winners

The Arlington Rotary Club (ARC) awarded college scholarships totaling $18,000 to two Arlington high school students at its annual education fund banquet on April 28, and also honored Heyshell Serrano Valle as the club's Key School  "Educator of the Year” for 2021-2022.

L to R: Migel Vergara (Arlington Community HS); Tony Weaver (ARC president); Heyshell Serrano Valle (Escuela Key 3rd grade teacher); and Dayana Cespedes-Mendoza (Yorktown HS).

American Challenge Stipend in Memory of Audra Rafter

Migel Vergara of Arlington Community High School is the recipient of the club’s $8,000 Audra Rafter Stipend. He plans to attend Marymount University to study English and computer science.

The AREF Academic Scholarship

Dayana Cespedes Mendoza of Yorktown High School is the recipient of a $10,000 scholarship over four years. She plans to attend George Mason University in the fall to study civil engineering.  She told Arlington Rotary "I am a senior at Yorktown High School and plan to attend a four year college, perusing a degree in engineering. I have always enjoyed being involved in my community, that being participating in the Arlington Teen Network board, AFAC, and playing soccer. I plan to continue volunteering and exercising in college. I’m beyond grateful for obtaining the Arlington Rotary Educational Scholarship, with the scholarship I will be able to attend a four year college at a lower cost."

Educator of the Year

Ms. Serrano teaches third grade math, science and Spanish language arts in Key School-Escuela Key's bilingual elementary school program. Originally from Honduras, Ms. Seranno joined the Key School faculty in 2016 after teaching previously in New York City. She was praised especially for her devotion to students and mentoring of other faculty.

The AREF American Challenge Stipend in Memory of Audra Rafter

The Arlington Rotary Challenge Stipend was created in 2013, to help Arlington Community High School (ACHS) graduates who have made a dramatic turn-around in their educational pursuits and who need financial support to attend college. The first such grant was made possible by a generous donor; subsequent grants have been funded by AREF and other interested donors. (ACHS was formerly named Arlington Mill High School.)

2021 Winner Sarai Joya Argueta, a graduate of Arlington Community High School, is the recipient of the $8,000 Audra Rafter Scholarship. She begins studies at Northern Virginia Community College this month to study information technology and hopes for a career in the medical and pharmacy field. 

2020 Winner Daniel Meskel, a graduate from ACHS, is the recipient of the ARC "American Challenge" Stipend in Memory of Audra Rafter for $8,000 to attend Northern Virginia Community College. He intends to study computer science. He previously was awarded a gold medal for web design in the Virginia Shills USA competition. 

2019 Winner Edzon Quinteres Saique, graduated from ACHS, where he was an honor student. Edzon is originally from Bolivia and speaks Spanish and English. He is currently employed as a web developer in Arlington and states that Computer Science was his favorite subject in school. At ACHS he received student of the week award, and was been recognized for his work in web design and development. Edzon began taking online courses through University of the People while attending Arlington Community High School and working two jobs. This scholarship will allow him to quit one job and attend NOVA full time. Edson’s goal is to return to Bolivia to teach computer science classes and share his knowledge. 

2018 Winner Kervin Galdamez-Carranza, attended ACHS full-time while working full-time.  He was a member of Key Club and coordinated fundraising events.  Kervin is majoring in business administration at Northern Virginia Community College.  He wants to start his own business one day. 

2017 Winner Veronica Rojas is an Arlington resident who graduated from ACHS in 2017 where she attended class regularly and was a student leader in The Key Club. Despite having to work full-time to support herself and her family, she persevered at her high school studies and completed several scholarship projects. She has now graduated from Northern Virginia Community College. Her goal is to transfer to a 4-year college and to some day own a restaurant.

2016 Winner Alejandra Fernandez is an Arlington resident who graduated from ACHS in 2016. She attended class regularly and was a student leader in The Key Club. She ran fundraisers that paid for 4 scholarships in Senegal. In addition to this, she worked full-time to support herself and her younger brother. She went on to graduate from Northern Virginia Community College. Her goal is to attend George Mason University and become a social worker.

2015 Winner Rosa Barrera is an Arlington resident who graduated from ACHS in 2015. Rosa arrived from Guatemala in October of 2012, and started high school as an English Language Learner without any high school credits. In addition to attending school full time and being a full-time parent, Rosa works at a local restaurant to support herself and her son. She attended Northern Virginia Community College and hopes to get a degree in nursing and work at a hospital.

2014 Winner José Mateos Nunez graduated from ACHS in 2014 and works in the food service industry to provide for himself and his daughter. A native of Mexico, he studied business at Northern Virginia Community College.  While at ACHS, he showed a high level of insight and academic acumen in his studies.

2013 Winner Edson Flores was awarded a two year stipend by the Arlington Rotary Educational Foundation on July 18, 2013. An Arlington resident, Edson graduated from ACHS in 2012 and was a server at Gordon Biersch Restaurant. He graduated from Northern Virginia Community College studying business. 

The AREF Academic Scholarship

2021 Winner Emma Newman, a Washington-Liberty senior, is the recipient of a $10,000 scholarship over four years to attend Virginia Tech. She plans to major in psychology and hopes to pursue a career helping people who live with mental illness.

2020 Winner Maria Canales-Williams, a graduate of Washington-Liberty High School, is the recipient of the ARC Educational Foundation Scholarship for $10,000 to attend Virginia Tech University where she intends to study biology and pursue a career as a research scientist in gene therapy to help fight and find cures for diseases.  Her many activities include serving as president of the Cystic Fibrosis Club.

2019 Winner José Pomarino Nima graduated from Wakefield High School with a perfect 4.5 GPA. He volunteered with The Red Cross Club and Wakefield Upstanders, dedicated to getting rid of bullying an harassment. He speaks English and Spanish and is learning French, Italian and American Sign Language. He attends Columbia University where he is studying Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. 

2018 Winner Undrakh Tsend, graduated from Yorktown High School in 2018.  She is currently attending William and Mary University.  Her family emigrated from Mongolia. She plays the violin, speaks English, Spanish, and Mongolian. She volunteers at AFAC and AHC. She wants to work for a non-profit organization or become a diplomat.

Update, Fall 2019: Undrakh is studying International Relations and Russian Studies at College of William and Mary. Overall she is thriving and doing well in school. In addition to her studies, she works at the Global Research Institute. She joined a sorority and has done some service trips. She is also the editor of a blog.

2017 Winner Geovanny Morales graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 2017 with a 4.2 GPA and is attending Dartmouth College. His interests include music and sports. He was a member of his school’s marching band, jazz band, and symphonic band. He played soccer, lacrosse, and tennis. He did all of this while holding a part-time job at Starbucks and tutoring kids in music and lacrosse. His career goal is to become a diplomat.

2016 Winner Callie Randall graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 2016 with a 4.2 GPA and is attending Georgetown University. In high school, she was president of the National Honor Society and a reporter for the school newspaper. She enjoys singing, writing music, and playing piano. She worked part time at Brick's Pizza. Callie is interested in justice and peace studies and hopes to work for an international non-profit organization after gaining a master’s degree.

2015 Winner Trang "Vicky" Vo of Washington-Lee High School graduated in 2015 with a 4.2 GPA and attends Virginia Commonwealth University. She is pursuing a pharmacy degree. She is a first generation college student who was raised by her single mother. She worked part time at Fortune restaurant to save for college. She was an active President in the Direct Relief International Club to help countries around the world that have been struck by natural disaster and are facing serious poverty.

2014 Winner Enkhjin Tuvshinskaya, a graduate of Washington-Lee High School, immigrated from Mongolia in 2003 with her family and will graduate in June 2018 from James Madison University with a degree in International Business.  Besides being an outstanding scholar, who also took part in summer overseas work-study programs, she participated in a variety of extracurricular activities such as tutoring, volunteering to work with the elderly and disabled, and fundraising for charitable causes.  She was President of her school's Red Cross Club, a speaker for the Dream Project, and a summer camp teacher for Mongolian children.  

2013 Winner Victor Gomez graduated from Wakefield High School with a 4.35 GPA and attended Yale University.  He had plans to pursue a degree in Economics as part of a pre-med path to Medical School. Besides being an outstanding scholar, Victor participated in many extracurricular activities and was elected to multiple leadership positions:  captain of the Wakefield Track and Field Team, member of Wakefield’s Leadership Team, member of the Teen Network Board, and Secretary of the National Honor Society.  He was recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor.  He was a four year member of the Principal’s Honor Roll and achieved perfect attendance in high school.  He has been a tutor, camp counselor, and interned in a doctor’s office as well as participating in numerous charitable fundraising events.  He plays piano and violin and also speaks Spanish.