A Thunderbird High School recent graduate who not only excelled in classes but juggled a job and caring for her ill mother will use a special scholarship to attend Arizona State University this fall.
Faith Mackenzie Duwal, 17, of Sunnyslope, graduated in May from Thunderbird and will study biomedical engineering when she begins at ASU. She is among 19 Valley graduating seniors to receive scholarships through Desert Financial Credit Union announced during its 16th Annual Community Service Scholarship Awards broadcast on Facebook live. These scholarships are open to all members of the credit union and their family members. They are given every year to tremendous students who have contributed at least 50 hours of service in the community last year. Eligible students must be planning to attend an in-state university or college in the fall. Faith and 15 other students received scholarships of $2,500 each, while the other graduates received scholarships worth $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 each.
Faith worked in the Thunderbird cafeteria in the morning and during lunch to earn extra money for her family, her mother, Jessica Duwal said. Duwal has suffered several strokes and has spinal cancer. She said Faith has helped her walk, assists her with her medicine and cooks for her family, which also includes Faith’s three siblings and stepfather.
“She’s like heaven-sent,” Duwal said. “She’s my little angel. She’s my star. She started driving me around and doing things for me. She’s unbelievably mature.”
Faith participated in theater and took part in Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) at Thunderbird. She said she wants to become a doctor and was not expecting to receive the scholarship.
“I feel honored,” Faith said. “I was really surprised.”