Summit County high school seniors receive $382K in local scholarships |

Summit County high school seniors receive $382K in local scholarships

Summit High School senior Alex Veleta smiles after receiving the Dick Masica Engineering Scholarship from The Summit Foundation on Monday, April 20, 2015.
Courtesy The Summit Foundation |


71: Local organizations provided scholarships

114: Students who received awards

1,835: Scholarship applications completed

$382,000: Total amount awarded by local organizations

$2.5 million: Scholarship funds awarded by The Summit Foundation since 1991

Every year, Summit County’s high school seniors gather with their families, teachers and other school district staff and supporters for one of the community’s most heart-warming events.

The students know they’ve been awarded at least one scholarship when they receive their invitations to Local Scholarship Night, but until their names are called that night they have no idea what they’ve won.

At this year’s event, held Monday, April 20, at Summit High School, 71 local organizations bestowed a total of $382,000.

The roughly 114 students completed 1,835 scholarship applications, or 16 each on average.

From large corporations including Vail Resorts and Climax Molybdenum to small local businesses, nonprofits, real estate and restaurant groups, law firms, health care practices, family foundations, religious groups and school PTSAs, donors represented every sector of Summit. The towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne gave out money as did the county sheriff’s office.

“Summit County acted on its belief in the value of continued education for our youth in sponsoring tomorrow’s leaders and dreams,” said Drew Adkins, Summit High’s principal.

Students will pay forward the investment, he said, often giving back to Summit County in various ways later in life. For now, the scholarship night is the first in a series of events that signals graduation and an important rite of passage for the students as they transition to adulthood.

Adkins said many of the scholarship recipients would not have been able to continue their education and paths toward careers without the community’s generous donations.


The county’s largest nonprofit, The Summit Foundation, and its partners doled out $129,700, or about a third of the total funds, to 77 students.

Eight of those scholarships awarded by the foundation were distributed through a joint program with Summit County government.

The foundation marked its 25th year providing scholarships to local students at Summit High School’s annual awards ceremony. Since 1991, the foundation’s scholarship program has awarded more than $2.5 million.

“It was a very inspirational evening just to see the high caliber of the students that were receiving the scholarships as well as the amazing support that the community provides for those students,” said Jeanne Bistranin, The Summit Foundation’s executive director.

Vivian Rennie received the foundation’s top scholarship, and two others, Emily Carlson and Alex Veleta, also were awarded four-year scholarships through the foundation.

Dillon resident Lori Burke, whose daughter Emily received a Summit Foundation scholarship and four others, said the cost of college can be overwhelming and seeing the outpouring of community support was exciting.

She was impressed by a scholarship created by The Three Peaks Foundation, which represents a neighborhood north of Silverthorne.

“Where else do you have just a neighborhood that goes and helps send some of the community members to college?” she said.

Burke said she was also impressed by a high school junior, Riley Beck, who raised money through a dodgeball tournament to give out a scholarship.

In such a small community, Burke said, families attending the event know most of the other students and the personal connections make the awards even more special.

“You just cheer every time,” she said.


Summit High School also recognized five students who received nationally prestigious awards.

Kaeli Subberwal, 17, of Frisco, was awarded the John M. Stalnaker Memorial Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship given by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

“I was really surprised. I didn’t know that was even a possibility. I was really honored,” Subberwal said of finding out in March, a month before she and the school were allowed to go public with the award.

Subberwal was chosen for the four-year $20,000 scholarship from a pool of National Merit Scholar finalists who plan to pursue careers in science or mathematics and come from rural areas.

Subberwal, who earned a perfect score on her SAT, will attend the University of Chicago in the fall and is leaning toward majoring in astrophysics.

Another National Merit Finalist, Ben Cottrell, received a $120,000 scholarship from the University of Oklahoma that will cover tuition, books, housing, technology, research and study abroad.

Based on their PSAT scores, Subberwal and Cottrell were named among 16,000 semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Semifinalist Program, and then both were chosen among 7,600 finalists.

Another Summit High student, Logan Weinman, was among 34,000 students commended by the program.

School district officials said having one student recognized by National Merit is rare, let alone three.

Weinman also was a semi finalist for the Boettcher Foundation scholarship, the most prestigious merit-based scholarship available to graduating seniors in Colorado. Modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship, it pays for tuition, fees and books at a four-year Colorado university or college, and 40 students are chosen every year.

Local Scholarship Night’s emcee and graduating senior Ben Hull was recognized for winning one of about 200 Daniels Scholarships from among 2,000 finalists in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The award can be used at any accredited nonprofit university in the country, and most of Hull’s college costs will be covered as he attends his dream school of Asuza Pacific University in California.

The final student recognized for a national achievement was Jake Schulman, who received the University of Nebraska’s George Beadle Scholarship. The award is for out-of-state students with high academic achievements, and Schulman will receive $56,000 over four years.

Subberwal said she was touched by all the local support she and all the other students received at the ceremony.

“It’s so amazing that our community does this, and it’s so huge for Summit High School to have this amount of money to motivate kids to go to college,” she said.

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