Summit High alum creates scholarship for 2021 grads
Cristian Santiago-Lopez, Skylar Halverson earn Roaring Summit Valley Scholarship
Just months after his own college graduation, 2014 Summit High School alum Joel Gomez gave back $500 each to a pair of 2021 Summit seniors as part of the newly created Roaring Summit Valley Scholarship.
Gomez said he and a few Colorado School of Mines peers came together to launch the scholarship specifically for high school graduates with an interest in science, technology, engineering, math and teaching. In its debut, this year’s scholarship provided $500 to Cristian Santiago-Lopez and Skylar Halverson. Santiago-Lopez received the scholarship after recovering from a car accident that left him hospitalized last fall.
“We are fortunate enough, we all have received quite a bit of help from other organizations and people who have donated to scholarships and stuff like that,” Gomez said. “So we just wanted to contribute our small grain and give back to the community that has helped us and reaching back and helping others that are in similar needs.”
Bonnie Ward, Gomezs mentor and co-chair of Education Foundation of the Summit, said Gomez’s creation of the scholarship for Summit High grads so soon after his own graduation from Colorado School of Mines is the first of its kind for Summit High School. After graduating high school, Gomez became the first in his family to go to college and was part of the pre-collegiate and Mountain Scholars programs in Summit County.
“Our scholarship is not the biggest scholarship or the largest in amount,” Gomez said. “But I think, when looking back to when I went to school, anything counted. So for us to be able to set aside a little bit and giving back in a way that we received help — firsthand we know how much of a difference it was.”
Ward described Gomez’s scholarship as a full-circle manifestation, as the 2014 Summit High grad received a scholarship from Education Foundation of the Summit before heading to Colorado Mountain College and then Colorado School of Mines. Gomez distributed the Roaring Fork Summit Scholarship in collaboration with Education Foundation of the Summit.
“Joel’s story, I think he represents a lot of students in Summit County who worked hard through high school, studied several years at CMC and then received further support achieving their college bachelor’s degrees,” Ward said. “I think Joel represents how a community supports its students and helps them to achieve the dream of being the first in the family to earn a college degree and how that student decides to give back to that community.”
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