In addition to the 30-year anniversary of Paradise Valley Community College, the PVCC Honors Program also celebrates its first 30 years. Shadow Mountain High School and Accelerated Learning Center have many students who attend PVCC, but few seem to know about the Presidents’ Honors Scholarship  which provides all Maricopa County high school students who graduate with a 3.0 GPA or higher and test into college level classes with two free years of tuition.

Due to its close proximity to the North 32nd corridor, PVCC provides an opportunity for students to stay closely connected to the community they grew up in. The Honors Program at PVCC takes it one step further by providing those students the chance to challenge themselves with a unique college experience while being supported with scholarship and a close-knit community. The program also pushes them to grow in areas of leadership, research, communication and critical thinking all the while enjoying the intimate feel of a small college.

Alexis Peterson, a Shadow Mountain High School graduate, transferred to PVCC after overhearing about the Honors Program’s tuition scholarship in her high school Pre-calculus class. After high school, she was nervous and undecided about what to do. “I turned down a tuition scholarship to NAU because PVCC was close to home and from the first time I stepped on campus, I knew that I was making the right decision,” said Peterson. She attributes PVCC with giving her so many leadership and learning opportunities, many of which she would never have the opportunity to experience if going straight into ASU from high school. “I got to start my own leadership club, learned to facilitate training programs, took on leadership roles in the Honors Program, earned additional scholarships through the help of faculty mentors and even got to share my ideas at the National Collegiate Honors Conference,” said Peterson.

The Honors Program is designed to empower students to achieve whatever their goals may be. The majority of Honors graduates transfer to a university to pursue baccalaureate degrees in various subjects such as business, nursing, biology, accounting, education, political science and public health.

Honors encourages a sense of community on campus by having a designated honors space, taking new honors students on the Honors Retreat, and offering exciting Honors Explore Classes. These classes include traveling up to Flagstaff, taking a hike down the Grand Canyon, and travelling up to NAU to do a high-ropes course. Students also have had the opportunity to present their research at the Western Regional Honors Conference in places such as California and Oregon. Many of the Honors students have gone on to win the prestigious All-USA scholarship to pay for 2-years’ worth of classes at any of the big 3 in-state universities.

Alexis has since gone on to graduate from the Honors Program and successfully transfer to Arizona State University to graduate from the W.P. Carey School of Business with her Bachelor of Science in Management. PVCC, however, stayed in her heart and she never really left. She is still in contact with many of the friends and mentors she gleaned from her PVCC experience and knows how much they helped her to succeed. “I definitely do not feel as though I missed out on “the college experience”. Honors helped me pay for school, it exposed me to leadership opportunities, helped me make important connections and I made lifelong friends.”

Whether a student wants to be a doctor, a teacher, an accountant, or a pharmacy tech, the Honors Program at Paradise Valley Community College prepares them by providing enriching learning opportunities that teach students to thrive academically and professionally. For more information please visit www.paradisevalley.edu or contact Regina Hernandez-Garcia in the recruitment office for general questions at 602/787-6815 or alexis.peterson@paradisevalley.edu for questions regarding the Honors Program.