BBB Pacific Southwest awards student-athletes with scholarships

August 9, 2023 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365

From left to right are Leah Pedersen from Sedona Rock High School, Faustine Chan from BBB, and Maritza Bautista from Cesar Chavez High School. (BBB photo)

From Kryistyna Hook, Director of Media Relation for the BBB

In partnership with Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) for its eighth year, Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) named two high school student athletes as Ethical Champions from six Ethical Athlete scholarship winners in the BBB Ethical Athlete scholarship program. Through community and self-nominations, high school students are evaluated by a panel of judges for their ability to uphold integrity in the face of ethical and personal challenges when playing a sport on and off the court. The program honors these behaviors and their positive influence on others. Each Ethical Athlete wins a $1,000 scholarship and Ethical Champions are awarded an additional $2,500 scholarship.

2022-2023 BBB Ethical Champion Scholarship Winners

  • Maritza Bautista, golf and softball athlete from Cesar Chavez High School in Laveen, AZ
  • Leah Pedersen, soccer and basketball athlete from Sedona Rock High School in Sedona, AZ

2022-2023 BBB Ethical Athlete Scholarship Winners

  • Maritza Bautista, golf and softball athlete from Cesar Chavez High School in Laveen, AZ
  • Brian Gramajo Avila, soccer athlete from Washington High School in Phoenix, AZ
  • Leah Pedersen, soccer and basketball athlete from Sedona Rock High School in Sedona, AZ
  • Matthew Griffin, baseball athlete from Williams Field High School in Gilbert, AZ
  • Declan M. Norris cross country and track and field athlete from Northland Preparatory Academy in Flagstaff, AZ
  • Jazmyn Schrader basketball, volleyball and track and field athlete from Pusch Ridge Christian Academy in Oro Valley, AZ

From a young age, Maritza Bautista lived in many group homes and was also separated from her younger siblings. But in 2020, she was adopted by a family and will be the first in her family to attend college. She was nominated by Coach Sergio Acosta, who shared that Bautista teaches her teammates to be accurate when keeping score and to report penalty strokes even when no one is watching. She believes that winning with integrity is more than cheating the game, her opponents, or the golf course.

“Being a golfer, ethics plays a critical part in the sport. Integrity, honesty and drive leads success to the game of golf. It is an honor to be named a BBB Ethical Champion,” shared Maritza Bautista.

Although she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in 2020, Leah Pedersen was able to persevere her mental health disorder through hard work, self-love, and the support from her family and friends. As a result, she also started a mental health club at her school called Bring Change to Mind. Pedersen was nominated by her mother who shared that Leah faced a teammate that verbally and physically abused her and other teammates. Leah stood up to her teammate and said her behavior was unacceptable and needed to stop.

“I never expected my ethical morals to be valued or for my experience in dealing with difficult situations to be congratulated. I choose to lead with ethics because it not only makes me feel like a better person, but because it makes other people better. Ethics are truly the way to create teams that are like family,” shared BBB Ethical Champion Leah Pedersen.

Arizona high school athletes must have a GPA of at least 2.75, enrolled in an AIA sanctioned school while participating in an AIA sanctioned sport were eligible to be nominated for the scholarship. Nominations for the scholarship are now open at

BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity, and helps consumers make wise marketplace decisions. Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses. Become BBB Accredited and join our mission to create a community of trust. Published with permission from Better Business Bureau.

About the Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest
Better Business Bureau has empowered people to find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust for more than 110 years. In 2022, people turned to BBB more than 250 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on about 12,000 charities, all available for free at The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Incorporated locally in 1938, BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest serves Greater Arizona and Southern California, providing critical tools to ignite success including mentorship, online products, coworking and access to capital. Our objective expertise educates the community on ethical behavior in the marketplace and how businesses can build trust.