For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Ava Kleinman


Bold Points




I'm Ava Grace. I'm a singer-songwriter with a passion for spreading messages of confidence, body positivity, and overcoming trials. I love the Special Needs community and volunteer as a coach for a local Ability baseball and basketball team, peer tutor, and advocate for kids with Special Needs and Abilities. My goal is to receive a Bachelor's degree in Special Education followed by a Master's in Occupational Therapy with an emphasis in Pediatrics.


Prescott High School

High School
2020 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Special Education and Teaching
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:

      Pediatric Occupational Therapy



      Junior Varsity
      2021 – 20221 year


      • Prescott Center for the Arts, Park Avenue Theater

        Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, High School Musical, Mamma Mia
        2017 – 2021
      • Music
        2018 – Present

      Public services

      • Advocacy

        Prescott Unified School District — Student Volunteer
        2018 – 2019
      • Volunteering

        Special Olympics — Volunteer
        2022 – Present
      • Volunteering

        Prescott Unified School District Governing Board — Student Representative
        2023 – Present
      Laura Thorne Memorial Scholarship
      Two people have changed the course of my life, and I met them both when I was five. We moved to Mississippi when I was four for my dad's job. We lived in a small town and most of the people we knew were transplants like us, all working at a research facility there. The day we moved in a family with four kids was at our door helping us. I was immediately attached to their three daughters who were 11, 12, and 13. But, being the oldest daughter myself, I latched onto Afton, the eldest of the four kids. Her family became our family away from home. We spent almost every day together with our moms taking turns making dinner, our dads helping the older kids with homework, and me following Afton around everywhere I went. She became the big sister I had always wanted. Even after we left Mississippi, she and I talked often. She wrote me letters, encouraged me to audition for my first musical, and she played dress-up with me when we visited them in Mississippi. In 2013, at age 16, Afton was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. She was given a week to live. I couldn't believe this girl -- my hero, my role model, my friend -- was dying. Afton miraculously lived for 367 more days. She battled her disease, reached out to other kids fighting cancer and gave them hope, and she still completed all of her classes and graduated high school at the top of her class. In her pain and her struggle, she made the conscious choice to live. Living Afton Strong has become a guiding principle in my life. In those moments when I think things are too hard, when I want to give up, or when I feel sorry for myself, I remember her. I remember her fighting spirit, I remember her wit and intelligence, and I remember how many opportunities she was robbed of by cancer, and I resolved to fight in her honor. I don't allow myself to give up and I try to appreciate my many opportunities because of her. My perspective on life has changed. And my desire to love like her has increased. The same year I met Afton, I met MJ. We were seated next to each other in kindergarten. MJ has Down Syndrome and I was blessed with the chance to help him in school. We became fast friends. After the first week of school, I came home and told my mom when I grew up I was going to work with kids with Special Needs. I have never wavered in that decision. When we moved away from Mississippi, my first friend in Arizona was Alex, another sweet boy with Down Syndrome. Through his family, I have had the opportunity to become immersed in the Special Needs community in my town. I assistant coach a Disability baseball team, peer tutor in the Special Education classroom at my High School, nanny a little girl with Autism, and have participated in a performance group for kids with Special Needs and Abilities. My heart is with that community and I would like to be a Special Educator and continue to show kids within the Special Needs community what they are capable of and help them develop skills and confidence for life. The fighting spirit I have gained through my desire to honor Afton will help me as a Special Educator to advocate for and educate incredible kids with Special Needs and Abilities.
      Marian Haley Memorial Scholarship
      Education to me is more than just what I receive in a classroom. Education is a lifelong ambition to constantly strive to learn and grow academically, socially, and morally. I have been fortunate to attend public school in Arizona where I have had incredible teachers who have taught me the required subjects, but also taught me to critically think, to listen to others' ideas and opinions, and to apply those things I am learning to help me develop stronger opinions and ideas about the world and the important things going on around me. In my sophomore year of high school, I took AP US History with an amazing teacher named Mr. Stengel. While teaching about world religions Mr. Stengel shared information about my faith that was slightly incorrect. I timidly raised my hand and gently corrected the mistake. Mr. Stengel thanked me for the information, asked a follow-up question, and apologized for the mistake. Later that day, I passed through Mr. Stengel's room on my way to English and saw him sitting at his desk on his computer reading about my religion. Here was this well-educated teacher -- an authority on US History -- seeking continued education with the desire to understand, but also share correct information. That moment stuck with me and I gained greater respect for my teacher, but also the ability to constantly learn. I will never forget that and hope I always have such a humble willingness to learn. I have also immersed myself in opportunities to learn outside of the classroom by volunteering in the Special Needs community where I have learned greater empathy and advocacy. I am currently serving as a student representative on the Prescott Unified School District Governing Board where I have the opportunity to learn about the political process surrounding public education while educating myself on important issues, and developing the confidence to use my voice to represent and speak up for students in my district. All of these experiences have enhanced my education and love of learning and have laid a foundation for a life of learning. Education is constant, and I love the opportunity to always be learning. My goal post-high school is to attend a university to study Special Education. During that time, I hope to continue working and volunteering in the Special Needs community. Following my undergraduate degree I plan to attend graduate school to receive a degree in Occupational Therapy with an emphasis in pediatrics. After finishing my formal education, I hope to eventually open a pediatric practice that offers occupational, physical, speech, and mental health therapies all in one location, providing greater access and resources to children and their families.