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Ex-Marine would have been proud


August 4, 2007

You’d think Alyssa Ethington would have plenty to keep her busy. After all, she’s on her way to a master’s degree at Arizona State University, the last stop before launching her career as a board-certified music therapist.

But a busy schedule hasn’t stopped the Corona del Sol High School graduate from finding time to help others.

"She has taken fellow students who are challenged in some way under her wing and helped to foster their love of music,” said her voice teacher, Rachel Velarde.

“Alyssa feels drawn to use her musical gifts in a way that will encourage other people. She helps others to perform to their potential, especially in terms of music. She will use her education to help better the world, one person at a time."

The dedication has paid off, it seems.

Alyssa has been selected by the community-based Arts Council for Youth as the first recipient of its annual $1,000 music scholarship named in memory of Damon Fawcett, who graduated from Corona in 1994.

Damon served four years as a Special Forces Marine and was a medical student at University of California-Davis at the time of his death on March 23.

The council received seven applications for the scholarship from recent graduates of four Tempe district high schools.

"I was very impressed by each of the applications, and that factor made the decision hard," said one member of the scholarship committee. "These are amazing applicants. They are a credit to their music teachers,” said another reviewer.

The scholarship is aimed at current seniors in the Tempe Union High School District who are planning to major in music. They may apply for selection in 2008 by visiting the council’s website at



Photo by Mckell Keeney


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