Rebecca Graf of Marana High School, left, was one of three area students to receive a $2,000 scholarship from the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce. She received the good news from NPCCC President/CEO Dave Perry, right. Thelma Grimes/The Explorer

The Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce last week awarded three $2,000 scholarships to deserving students throughout Tucson.

During the NPCCC’s monthly breakfast, held April 28, chamber CEO David Perry recognized the three students selected from nine applications. Receiving the honor were Rebecca Graf of Marana High School; Cameron Blazevich, a catcher on the Pima Community College baseball team; and Chad Springetti of Pusch Ridge Academy.

Graf attended the chamber breakfast held at El Charro Café, thanking the judges for the honor.

She told the small crowd of businesspeople that she would be using the money to attend the University of Arizona, where she plans to major in nursing. It is a career choice she holds dear to her heart.

Graf became interested in becoming a nurse in 2007, after a family tragedy gave her a firsthand look at how a hospital operates. When Graf was 13, her father was struck from behind by a van wile out jogging.

He suffered severe brain injuries, and spent a lot of time in the hospital.

“With a head injury you spend a lot of time at the hospital, and (Rebecca) saw how well the nurses took care of him and became interested in doing it,” said Graf’s mom, Jackie. “That event really gave her a desire at a young age to become a nurse.”

Accepting the scholarship on behalf of Blazevich was family friend Melanie Larson.

Blazevich is attending school to become an engineer, focusing on optical or aerospace.

“I know he will give it 100 percent,” Larson said. “Of all the young people I’ve known, he is not only a well-round nice young man, but understands the depth of what he’s getting in to.”

John Springetti accepted the scholarship on behalf of his son, who is looking at attending college in Illinois.

Springetti not only played four years of football and soccer, but he also performed well academically.

“He’s a great kid of character,” the proud father said. “He’s really made use of all his God-given talents, and I wish I could say I’m as humble as he is.”

Springetti is looking at an academic and athletic scholarship to go along with the award money from the chamber.

The NPCCC’s annual scholarship is named in honor of Steve Engle, a longtime resident of Oro Valley who died in 1990.

Engle helped shaped the Oro Valley community, serving as mayor between 1974 and 1990, Perry said. The public servant loved young people, and often held mock town councils and taught students about the role government plays, Perry added.

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