School district offers $370k in awards at annual Scholarship Night | SummitDaily.com

School district offers $370k in awards at annual Scholarship Night

When April arrives each academic year, students at Summit High School get excited — not just for spring break, but the annual Scholarship Night where select seniors are presented a trove of awards totaling hundreds of thousands of local dollars.

For prizewinners, who first learn of their specific scholarships at the event, it can be the difference between attending college and not pursuing postsecondary education at all. For others like senior Aurora Lopez, who planned to attend Colorado State University either way, the grants announced on Tuesday, April 5, are helping to alleviate some of the financial burden and stress that came with the decision to attend college, in addition to providing a newfound confidence.

"I'm really moved by how much the community believes in us seniors," said Lopez, "that we're going to go somewhere in life. Knowing I have a community backing me up and backing me up financially, it eases mine and my parents' minds. I feel a lot more secure now going into my freshman year of college."

She grew up in Summit County and came up through Upper Blue Elementary before the district middle school and was then inspired by Sara Velasquez-Gacnik, her high school English language arts teacher of three years, to consider CSU. Gacnik, a CSU alum who graduated in 2009, put her pupil onto the Key Communities at Colorado State, which provide first- and second-year students with learning communities in the residence halls as they make the transition to college.

After visiting the school and learning about the Key Communities geared toward first-generation students, Lopez "fell in love with the atmosphere of CSU" and, in November, made her school choice. She'll enter undeclared, which offers its own apprehensions. With the support of the Key academic program, however, coupled with the $10,000 across eight awards for her first year that she took home from the scholarship ceremony, she feels she's better set up for success the moment she arrives on campus.

"I feel very blessed that the community gives so much money toward seniors," she said. "Other communities don't give that opportunity. And before I was more scared than anything, and now I'm actually excited to go."

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Historical Heights

In total this year — the 26th time The Summit Foundation has helped the Summit School District put on the senior awards event — nearly $370,000 in scholarships were passed out through 73 different funds. A majority of those named grants have multiple award winners, and, in 2016, they were chosen from an applicant pool of 102 students (and approaching 1,500 completed applications), with 93 total recipients receiving at least one scholarship.

"It's just such an inspirational night," said Jeanne Bistranin, executive director of The Summit Foundation. "To see everybody really get behind the students I think is a really special thing, and it says a lot about Summit County, and the support that we give to the community, and to each other."

The foundation, founded in 1984 and offering these types of grants since 1990, has its scholarship committee review student online applications — a new feature that the nonprofit spearheaded earlier this year — uses three criteria in making these award decisions: outstanding academics, financial need and community service/leadership. From there, it draws upon portions of the proceeds from 2,400 annual donors that total almost $200,000 in scholarship money, including its top prize, a four-year award that this time around went to senior Matt Arnold.

The funds have expanded by about 50 times in that quarter century and have through that period of time helped more than 1,000 Summit County students achieve their college aspirations. All said and done, The Summit Foundation's contributions have totaled more than $2.5 million, and counting.

"What we see is the impact on these students, it's really tremendous," said Bistranin. "For us, it's a really big priority because it's the local community supporting the local students and making sure that they can be rewarded for their efforts and given some help in college. I think that it benefits not only the individual student, but the entire community as well."

She notes the large pool of applicants for various national scholarships, and the high level of competition for them even for those who are top-notch students. Consider the high cost of living in the mountain community, and the foundation sees it as all the more important to contribute and help all of these local families.

"We know that a college educations costs dramatically more than it used to even five or 10 years ago," said Julie McCluskie, the district's director of communications. "For students in Summit County, this means the difference between the college of their dreams and not. So we are so grateful to every organization that helps our kids go to college, and The Summit Foundation has been at the heart of this for a long time."

Extra Support

Aside from putting up its own funds to create these numerous scholarships, foundation also helps by awarding named scholarships from individual donors who seek recipients with their own set of criteria. On behalf of these donors, its scholarship committee, made up of its Board of Trustees, finds the most qualified students for those grants, too, and informs them at Scholarship Night.

One of the recipients of those awards was senior Vicente Ramos, who, along with Lopez and eight others, received the Moniker Foundation Scholarship. Ramos, who moved to Summit County from Santiago, Chile his freshman year of high school, received 10 scholarships totaling $12,000 and an Apple iPad during the ceremony.

"With this opportunity," he said, "I can definitely focus more on my education instead of being concerned with the money or anything like that. I would have probably still gone (to college without these awards), but it would have been a lot harder. My family cannot support my education, so it would mean having to work quite a lot to pay for my education, as well as be a full-time student."

He has an initial interest in pursuing business and will either attend Colorado Mountain College in Summit County or Aims Community College in Greeley. From there, he plans to move onto his bachelor's, possibly at the University of Northern Colorado, also in Greeley, where his older brother is currently a sophomore.

"I'm really happy about the awards I got," added Ramos. "I find myself pretty lucky for having such a helpful community. Thank you to the entire community for being so nice to everyone. We all appreciate the help, it really helps us."

A list of all of the scholarship winners:

Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival Scholarship:

Ethan Minard

Alpine Bank Latino Hispanic Scholarship for Colorado Mountain College:

Dariela Flores

Sulemya Martinez-Lopez

Amico Winegar Scholarship Fund:

Hunter Drabik

Ian Hiner

Arapahoe Basin Scholarship:

Meghan Collins

Thomas Kalina

Beaver Run Resort Scholarship:

Benjamin Jorgenson

Bridget O'Brien

Emily Pappas

Jessica Horii

Bob Anderson Memorial Scholarship:

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Breckenridge Ambassadors' Al Chafee Memorial Scholarship:

Alexandra van der Hoeven

Jack Anderson

Anthony Finley

Blair Huntley

Ian Hanigan

Skylar Drakos

Wyatt Dickerson

Natalie Imamura

Breckenridge Associates Real Estate College Fund:

Karolina Kincinaite

Breckenridge Elementary PTSA Scholarship:

Ruthie Boyd

Blair Huntley

Breckenridge Masonic Lodge No. 47 of CO:

Megan Collins

Brendan Greenberg

Aurora Lopez

Karolina Kincinaite

Breckenridge Restaurant Association:

Alexandra van der Hoeven

Autumn Ward

Bailey Radek

Daniel Molina

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Jack Anderson

Brunvand Families Scholarship:

Thomas Kalina

Kaylin Lilly

Alex Mason

Buffalo Mountain Metropolitan District Scholarship:

Hannah Aimes

Dariela Flores Alvarado

Carlson and Carlson:

Megan Rose

Carriage House:

Ruthie Boyd

Christopher Ethridge Memorial Scholarship – Red, White, and Blue Fire District:

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Marley Webber

Climax Molybdenum Company, Climax Mine and Henderson Mine and Mill:

Dakota Angell

Ian Hanigan

Colorado Mountain College Scholarships – Bright Futures Scholarship for Pre-collegiate Graduates, Theobald Family Scholarship, and Breckenridge Mountain Rotary Scholarship:

Cyndy Dzib

Vicente Ramos

Javier Saenz

Hanna DuPre

Complete Family Eye Care:

Bailey Radek

Dillon Valley Elementary PTSA & Leadership Team:

Alan Medoza

Benjamin Jorgenson

Megan McDonnell

Oscar Cortez

Ebert Family Clinic Leaders Scholarship:

Dariela Flores Alvarado

Education Foundation of the Summit:

Michelle Frias

Angelica Aden

Vicente Ramos

Karolina Kincinaite

Bailey Radek

Ian Hanigan

Educational Change:

Elle Scott-Williams

Eric Fretz

EpicPromise Scholarship from Vail Resorts, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort:

Benjamin Jorgenson

Cyndy Dzib

Joseph Garcia, Jr.

Kaitlin Akers

Kaleigh Klaas

Logan Ramsay

FirstBank:

Kaylin Lilly

Anthony Finley

Friends of the Summit County Libraries:

Ruthie Boyd

Frisco Chapter of the Summit Chamber of Commerce:

Karolina Kincinaite

Frisco Elementary PTSA Scholarship:

Gytis Pankevicius

David Reifsteck

Margie Ramirez

Eric Fretz

Ian Hiner

Hunter Drabik

Olivia Patti

Natalie Imamura

Casey Lewark

Shannon Mitchell

Marcus Sandberg

Dakota Angell

Rylan Miller

Monica Allen

High Country Unitarian Universalist Scholarship:

Javier Saenz

Josue Razo

Angelica Adan

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology Science Scholarship:

Matt Arnold

Diana Gasiouk

Thomas Kalina

Lake Dillon Theatre Company's Scholarship:

Cait McCluskie

Laura Helen Foote Memorial Scholarship:

Hannah Aimes

Mountain Comfort Furnishings:

Matt Arnold

National Repertory Orchestra Arts Scholarship:

Suzie Brady

Pediatric Dental Group of CO, Summit County Office:

Alex Mason

PEO Scholarship:

Megan Collins

Silverthorne Elementary Alumni:

Michelle Frias

Alejandro Baltazar Torres

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Maddy O'Malley

Juan Carlos Mejia

Megan Rose

Jessica Horii

Brandon Greenberg

Summit–Lake Dillon Optimist Club:

Autumn Ward

Alex Mason

Chantell Cordova

Parker Shell

Summit–Lake Dillon Optimist Club: T.C. Cronbach Memorial Scholarship:

Oscar Cortez

Summit Association of Realtors:

Diana Gasiouk

Stephanie Toni Gutierrez

Riley Beck

Skylar Drakos

Aurora Lopez

Summit Chamber of Commerce Scholarship:

Anakayla Carchi Easterly

Bendan Greenberg

Christina McLachlan

Kaylin Lilly

Meagan Collins

Maddy O'Malley

Vicente Ramos

Summit Choral Society:

Cait McCluskie

Summit County Builders Assoc. Steve Kertscher Memorial Scholarship:

Vicente Ramos

Summit County Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association Scholarship:

Dadney Nogueda

Daniel Molin

Bailey Radek

Summit County Education Assoc.–Teacher Education Scholarship:

Stephanie Toni Gutierrez

Summit County Elks Lodge No. 2561:

Becca Jane Rosko

Casey Lewark

Summit County Rotary:

Siena Fowles

Maddy O'Malley

Elle Scott-Williams

Oscar Cortez

Vicente Ramos

Javier Saenz

Autumn Ward

Summit County Sheriff's Office Citizenship Award/CSOC Award:

Michelle Frias

Summit Cove Elementary PTSA:

Cait McCluskie

Diana Gasiouk

Ethan Minard

Meagan Collins

Summit Daily News:

Ruthie Boyd

Maddy O'Malley

Summit Girls Rugby Scholarship:

Megan Rose

Summit High School Leadership Scholarship:

Josue Razo

Blair Huntley

Summit High School PTSO Scholarship:

Alex Mason

Skylar Drakos

Vicente Ramos

Wyatt Dickerson

Thomas Kalina

Allyson Pothier

Cait McCluskie

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Juan Azaga Meja

Autumn Ward

Bailey Radek

Javier Saenz

Jessica Horii

Aurora Lopez

Michelle Frias

Summit Medical Center Health Foundation:

Alex Mason

Bailey Radek

Elle Scott-Williams

Vicente Ramos

Alan Mendoza

Becca Jane Rosko

Diana Gasiouk

Bridget O'Brien

Hannah Aimes

Eric Fretz

Summit Middle School Tiger Trot Scholarship:

Suleyma Martinez-Lopez

Josue Razo

Rhiannon Myers

Summit Youth Hockey:

Brendan Greenberg

Megan Rose

Wyatt Dickerson

Natalie Imamura

Cait McCluskie

Synagogue of the Summit Community Service Award:

Justine Lorch

The Summit Foundation Scholarships:

Matthew Arnold (Four-year award)

Anjelica Adan

Dariela Flores Alvarado

Jack Forest Anderson

Paloma Arredondo

Oscar Aldair Cortez Barrientos

Jacob Boettcher

Ruthie Boyd

Anakayla Carchi Eastelry

Meagan Collins

Chantel Cordova

Abigail Cremer

Wyatt Dickerson

Hunter Drabik

Skylar Drakos

Anthony Finley

Siena Fowles

Michelle Frias

Brendan Burke Greenberg

Ian Mack Hanigan

Ian Hiner

Jessica Horii

Zoe Hough

Ruth Hunsinger

Blair Huntley

Josue Ivan Razo Nicolas

Benjamin Jorgenson

Thomas Kalina

Alex Lehman

Maria Aurora Lopez

Justine Lorch

Alex Mason

Cait McCluskie

Megan McDonnell

Christina McLachlan

Shannon Mitchell

Ethan Moroco

Bridget O'Brien

Maddy O'Malley

Emily Pappas

Olivia Patti

Allyson Pothier

Janay Probst

Bailey Radek

Megan Rose

Becca Rosko

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Javier Saenz

Elle Scott-Williams

Vicente Ramos

Alexandra van der Hoeven

Emily Wallace

Autumn Ward

Alexandria Zangari

Copper Mountain Resort:

Hunter Drabik

Bridget O'Brien

Megan Rose

Moniker Foundation Scholarship:

Oscar Cortez

Michelle Frias

Maria Lopez

Anakayla Carchi Easterly

Vicente Ramos

Dariela Flores

Josue Razo

Javier Saenz

Autumn Ward

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Summit County Government Scholarships:

Meagan Collins

AnaKayla Carchi Easterly

Blair Huntley

Kaylin Lilly

Alex Mason

Cait McCluskie

Becca Rosco

Albert/Krainz Vocational Studies Scholarship:

Jacob Boettcher

Lee Zimmerman Scholarship:

Aurora Lopez

Theobald Women in Engineering Scholarship:

Jessica Horri

Brad Odekirk Scholarship:

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

The Merriman Family Foundation Scholarship:

Bridget O'Brien

Dr. Oliver Stonington Memorial Scholarship:

Megan Rose

McIntosh Scholarship for Business:

Christina McLachlan

McIntosh Scholarship for the Arts:

Ernesto Valderrama Saavedra

Westerland Family Scholarship:

Ian Mack Hanigan

Snyder Family Scholarship:

Janay Probst

Dick Masica Engineering Four-Year Scholarship:

Wyatt Dickerson

Lenzmeier Williams Advised Fund Four-Year Scholarship:

Bailey Radek

Ian Mack Hanigan

Three Peaks Scholarship Fund:

Brendan Greenberg

Anakayla Carchi Easterly

Bailey Radek

Megan Rose

Bridget O'Brian

Alex Mason

Meagan Collins

Vicente Ramos

Madeline O'Malley

Jessica Horii

Ruth Hunsinger

Matt Arnold

Becca Jane Rosko

Aurora Lopez

Josue Razo

Paloma Arredondo

Town of Breckenridge:

Alex Mason

Alexandra van der Hoeven

Anthony Finley

Blair Huntley

Bridget O'Brien

Elle Scott-Williams

Ian Hanigan

Jack Anderson

Jonathan Kaker

Kaleigh Klaas

Ruthie Boyd

Shannon Mitchell

Stephanie Toni Gutierrez

Wil Laidlaw

Wyatt Dickerson

Town of Dillon:

Justine Lorch

Alan Mendoza

Rhiannon Myers

Natalie Imamura

Andrew Brock

Town of Frisco:

Hunter Drabik

Anakayla Carchi Easterly

Ian Hiner

Alison Lome

Karolina Kincinaite

Madeline O'Malley

Rylan Miller

David Reifsteck

Marcus Sandberg

Autumn Ward

Town of Silverthorne, Schmidt Scholarship:

Brendan Greenberg

Ernesto Saavedra

Gytis Pankevicius

Javier Saenz

Jessica Horii

Josue Razo

Maria Lopez

Marley Weber

Matt Arnold

Michelle Frias

Oleh Kovch

Sienna Fowles

Suleyma Lopez

Suzanne Brady

Thomas Kalina

Vicente Ramos

Aurora Lopez

Upper Blue Elementary Leadership Council:

Josue Razo

Upper Blue Elementary PTA:

Dariela Flores Alvarado

Skylar Drakos

Vail-Summit Orthopaedics:

Hannah Aimes

Logan Ramsay

Women of the Summit:

Maddy O'Malley

Kaylin Lilly

Angelica Aden

Elle Scott-Williams

Christina McLachlan

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