Francine Scholnick, a member of the Rio Rico High School graduating Class of 2020, was one of 10 RRHS seniors awarded a scholarship by the Jando Meza Rio Rico Alumni. The award is for $750.
Francine’s father, Jack Scholnick, said she is planning to use the award to attend Pima Community College in Nogales. “Then, when she graduates that, we’re going to try to push her through the U of A,” he said.
Francine has Down syndrome, and Jack Scholnick, along with his wife Maria, has been at the forefront of the Santa Cruz Parent Love Connection, an organization that supports local families with a child with Down syndrome or other special needs. He said he hopes his daughter’s achievements can be an inspiration to others.
“We want all people to know that it can be done if people are patient and teach.”
Scholnick said he wants parents and advocates for kids with Down syndrome to push school districts to “make sure they’re out of a resource room and into a regular class like Francine,” and to also do their part to help their kids with their homework.
“Then at least the children have a chance at being looked at differently, and be able to get employment and go from there,” he said.
Francine’s long-term employment goal is to open a business selling bakery items like donuts and cupcakes, her father said. “That’s what she wants to do, so I guess she’ll go for business – she’s been in business all through high school,” he said, adding: “We’ll see what happens; everybody changes their mind at the last minute.”