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Scholarships given to low-income families, students living with disabilities

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 9:14 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Academic Opportunity of Arizona, a non-profit group, awarded hundreds of full-tuition scholarships to lift the financial burden of private school, providing more opportunities for children from low-income families or those living with disabilities.

“We’re always kind of nervous if we’re going to get a scholarship to pay for tuition but this year we were blessed,” said Michelle Nonnemacher.

Nonnemacher’s daughter, Lucciana Nonnemacher, is an eighth-grader at Casas Christian School in Tucson. Their family was awarded a scholarship this school year.

“We’ve tried other educational models that didn’t work for her with her having a specific learning disability,” Michelle Nonnemacher said.

Academic Opportunity of Arizona gave out $1.6 million in scholarships to more than 200 families.

“It’s really about giving the parents the option and support to send their kiddo to a school that’s going to specialize and help their child maybe with autism, vision or hearing,” said Chad Bays, the CEO of Academic Opportunity of Arizona.

Lucciana Nonnemacher says she’s getting more one-on-one support and learning has become easier compared to past years.

“There was a lot more kids and I didn’t like to really speak up in front of them,” she said.

Her mom has seen a huge transformation and can only imagine where they’d be without the scholarship.

“Probably would still be struggling at a public school,” she said. “I mean I was in tears through the pandemic doing online schooling.”

Fortunately for their family, this school year is looking much brighter.

Academic Opportunity of Arizona scholarship applications for the next school year will open in April.

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