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Fire and police chiefs honored as alumni of the year at the Phoenix UHSD Foundation Scholarship Dinner

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  • Craig Pletenik/Phoenix Union High School District

PHX Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner PHX Police Chief Jeri Williams 1216

Police Chief Jeri Williams and Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner have more in common than being two women in top public safety leadership positions for a major U.S. city.  They are both products of Maryvale High School.

Williams and Kalkbrenner will be honored as Phoenix Union Alumni of the Year at the 9th Annual Phoenix Union Foundation for Education Scholarship Dinner, Friday, February 24. The Phoenix Art Museum will lend to the theme, “The Art of Education: A Night on the Red Carpet.”

Proceeds from the top fundraiser of the year for the 501 (c) 3 goes to post-secondary scholarships for Phoenix Union students.   The evening includes student entertainment and artwork, student servers and food preparers, a silent auction and live auction.

Last year 48 District seniors were awarded over $88,000 in scholarships to Arizona colleges and universities.

Helen and Bart Nadolski of Express Technology, longtime benefactors of the Foundation, are this year’s Friends of Phoenix Union honorees.  They have donated over $170,000 in scholarships.  Antoinette Jones of Cesar Chavez is the Counselor of the Year.

Adding to the Maryvale High School connection, alumnus Donna Rossi, KPHO Channel 5 Chief Journalist, will be the Master of Ceremonies.

With its mission of “Strengthening our Community by Investing in Student Success,” the Foundation has raised over $1 million for scholarships, and is building an endowment fund for future scholarships that is nearing $400,000.  The Foundation provides grants for innovative school or District programs, as well.

“We have awarded over 1,200 scholarships to graduating Phoenix Union High School District students since 1987.    We now have 30 current named scholarships through individual and corporate donors, as well as 173 District employees giving to our “Invest in the Best” program, Foundation President Jason Gellman said. “It is inspiring to hear about the continuing journeys of these worthy recipients as they prepare to succeed in college, career, and life.”

The Scholarship Dinners’ Principal Sponsor is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Salutatorian Sponsors are Chasse Building Team, McCarthy Construction, Logicalis, Honeywell, Principal’s List: CORE Construction, Honor Roll: A&H Painting, and Scholar Sponsors: Snell & Wilmer, Orcutt Winslow, Edgenuity and DLR Group/WRL.

The dinner, and a Scholarship Open Golf Tournament, May 5, are the two fundraisers each year. Individuals and companies give name scholarships, and hundreds of Phoenix Union employees also contribute through an employee-giving program.

For tickets or more information, contact the Foundation for Education at (480) 289-5761 or their website