As a first-generation college student in his family, Benjamin Aguilar is continuing his education on the right foot after winning the 2021 Flinn Foundation Scholarship. Aguilar is the 14th Brophy alum to receive this award.

The Flinn Foundation is a philanthropic grantmaking organization that was established in 1965. The scholarship, established in 1986, is awarded yearly to around 20 high-achieving Arizona high school seniors. It’s worth $120,000 and covers tuition, housing, meals and more at any of Arizona’s three public universities. The acceptance rate for the class of 2021 was 2.1 percent.

“Students like Benny have many university choices,” Brophy Director of Communications Kathy Mabry said. “The Flinn Foundation plays a huge role in keeping bright minds and potential leaders here in Arizona.”

During his time at Brophy, Aguilar was a member of the National Honor Society and on the robotics team. He was also active in the Boy Scouts, reaching the level of Eagle Scout.

He began the initial application process for the Flinn scholarship in the fall of 2020. He explained that he didn’t quite know what he was in for and how much the award could change his life.

“I didn’t know much about Flinn when I started,” Aguilar said. “It was something I did in the background during the college application process. At the time, I didn’t realize how big of a thing I was signing up for and what could come from it.”

Aguilar said the entire college evaluation and application process was new to him and his parents.

“When the foundation notified me that I was a Flinn semifinalist, I’d almost forgotten that I’d signed up for it. That’s when I started to get excited about what a big opportunity this was. From there, I was locked in all the way,” Aguilar said.

When he received notification that he’d won the scholarship, Aguilar said that he knew an Arizona public university was the route he would take.

“I’m extremely grateful to the Flinn Foundation,” Aguilar said. “This is a blessing, and a financial burden has been removed from my family. This is an awesome award and presents a tremendous opportunity with a wonderful group of people who will help guide me and my future.”

This fall, Aguilar will begin his college career at ASU’s Barrett Honors College, where he plans to major in English literature and pursue a pre-law curriculum.

He counts English as one of his favorite subjects. Because of its emphasis on writing and critical thinking, Aguilar said that English is an excellent fit for law school preparation.

“My brothers and I have always benefited from the generosity of scholarships to attend school,” Aguilar said. “Thanks to the generosity of the Catholic Community Foundation, I was able to attend Brophy. Now, Flinn is connecting me with other winners and alumni. I’m overwhelmed with their generosity and desire to see me grow.” I’m surrounded by so many connections and people eager to help me grow and succeed.”