Desert Vista HS grads get $33 million in scholarships

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

When it comes to success at Valley schools, Desert Vista High School is making waves.

The school's graduating class this year received more than $33 million in scholarship money.

Students say much of the success can be attributed to the administration, who is also working to create strong bonds between the staff and nearly 4,000 students who attend Desert Vista.

No matter where she is on school grounds, Desert Vista High School principal, Dr. Christine Barela is almost always smiling.

Those you ask say she's the driving force behind the success here for thousands of kids.

We followed Dr. Barela as she greeted students in the halls and spoke to a senior English class, something she's done now for the past two years to encourage students starting their last year of high school.

"They wanna know that people care about them and life is so fast and furious that we need to take a moment to let everybody know, even including staff members that we are a family here," said Dr. Barela.

Desert Vista was awarded the A+ school of excellence award in 2011.

Last year alone, 711 students graduated and $33,000,000 in scholarships were awarded, while 17 students received a high school diploma and an associates degree, thanks to a large dual enrollment program.

Over 1,000 students are enrolled in college and high school at the same time.

"Excellence through performance is one of our mottos and it's something we pride ourselves in as educators," said Darcy Boggs, an English teacher at Desert Vista.

Senior Elyssa Goswick says she loves the passion and loves how involved students at Desert Vista are and attributes much of the school's success to the bonds Dr. Barela goes out of her way to create.

"Everybody who goes here cares so much about what they do, so like no matter who it is, if it's the students or its the teachers or its the administrators, whatever they're doing it's because they love it," said Elyssa Goswick, a senior at Desert Vista.

72 percent of those who graduated from Desert Vista in 2017 planned on going to a 4-year university, while 21 percent planned on attending community college.

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