Phoenix Suns Charities, Helios Education Foundation recipient Star De La Rosa earns full-tuition scholarship to NAU

Star De La Rosa poses with father, Louie and Gorilla

When Central High School senior Star De La Rosa joined a recent Zoom call, she thought it was a follow-up round for a scholarship interview. Instead, she was shocked to be greeted by her principal, mentor from New Pathways for Youth, representatives from the Helios Education Foundation and more than 50 Phoenix Suns employees, including Suns President and CEO Jason Rowley.

“You really impressed everyone with your confidence, positive attitude and we heard all the positive things you have done so far,” Rowley said. “I know you were hopping on here thinking you were going through a second round of interviews, but I have some good news for you. We are extremely proud to grant you a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the school I know you want to go to, which is our great partners up north at NAU.”

She was selected based on a strong academic record, leadership qualities and outgoing character as a member of several Central High School groups. Through the New Pathways for Youth program—dedicated to mentoring youth—De La Rosa pursued academic, relationship and personal development goals that contributed to her high school success.

The scholarship was funded by the Phoenix Suns employees on the call who represented the Suns Assist program. The program allows staff to donate and raise funds for scholarships and other community initiatives for Phoenix Suns Charities. Inspired to give back, especially to those impacted by the pandemic, the Phoenix Suns family teamed up with Helios Education Foundation and local nonprofit New Pathways for Youth, to surprise De La Rosa with the scholarship.

“This is crazy, I wasn’t expecting a full scholarship or expected to get one to NAU, my dream university,” De La Rosa said. “It’s going to be perfect for me. I’m really excited to explore Flagstaff and be in a different part of Arizona.”

De La Rosa is the first to graduate high school in her family. After hearing the news, she was all smiles and embraced her father and brother as they brought in balloons and the scholarship check. Upon arrival at NAU, she plans on studying sociology and is eager to begin this fall.

“Thank you all so much, this is still so crazy. I’m so excited!”