Dollars for Scholars recognizes 44 local high school seniors with $715,000 in scholarships |

Dollars for Scholars recognizes 44 local high school seniors with $715,000 in scholarships

In its tenth year, the YouthPower365 program is bringing opportunities for students no matter what path they take ahead

For 10 years, Vail Valley Foundation’s annual YouthPower365 Dollars for Scholars program has provided graduating Eagle County high school students with funds to take their next step. On Wednesday, May 17, the organization held its annual event at Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle, which saw a distribution of around $715,000 in scholarship funds to 44 local students.

The event celebrated the high school seniors — from Vail Mountain School, Battle Mountain High School, Red Canyon High School, Eagle Valley High School and Vail Christian High School — not only in their accomplishments so far, but in what they will do next.

Students pose after receiving their scholarships during the YouthPower365’s Dollars for Scholars event Wednesday in Eagle. Each year hundreds of thousands of dollars are given to local students.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“Throughout our application process, we were amazed at how many students are working to address the challenges that our community and society are facing today through advocacy, volunteerism, and other outlets. They are a voice for social justice, equity, inclusion and many other issues and their passion and dedication give us hope for a brighter future ahead,” said Rachel Tjossem, YouthPower365’s college pathway specialist.

“It’s clear that this generation is motivated to make positive changes in this community and the communities they will be part of in years to come. For that reason, among many others, we are thrilled to acknowledge their hard work with scholarship support,” Tjossem added.

Since its inception, the Dollars for Scholars event has grown each year both in the number and value of scholarships awarded to local students.

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In 2023, two new scholarships were added to the program. This included the Mountain Pride Scholarship, funded by the local LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit and individual contributions to support students who identify with and are advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. It also included the Wilson Family Scholarship, funded by Tina and David Wilson, aimed to support students seeking trade degrees after high school.

In the last decade, the program has also evolved to support the various paths that students take after high school.

YouthPower365 College Pathway Specialist Rachel Tjossem speaks to the crowd during the YouthPower365’s Dollars for Scholars event Wednesday in Eagle. Over a hundred donors make the scholarships possible.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“We are working hard to evolve our scholarships to meet the changing trends in education and the needs of our community,” Tjossem said. “We recognize the growing importance of supporting alternative educational and career paths as costs of post-secondary education continue to grow and students are seeking more secure job placement opportunities.”

In supporting this, the program had various scholarships this year specifically for students pursuing trades and vocational schools in addition to those for four-year colleges and universities.

“Our scholarships have been able to evolve in this way thanks to generous community support and our incredible funders,” Tjossem said. “Donors have been crucial in responding to the needs of the community and adapting their scholarships to better support our students and for that, we are very thankful.”

This year, this included donors adjusting their requirements to open it up to more than just four-year colleges and universities, she added.

Students pose after receiving their scholarships during the YouthPower365’s Dollars for Scholars event Wednesday in Eagle.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Dollars for Scholars has around 150 donors within the community that provide scholarship opportunities ranging from $500 to $20,000 annually to graduating seniors in the Vail Valley. 

Students that completed this year’s application were eligible for 12 scholarships, each with their own criteria, considerations and requests from the scholarship donors. Next year, Dollars for Scholars will be renamed YouthPower365’s Valley Scholars Program along with a new application platform.

In addition to supporting various paths, the scholarships also support various populations and groups.

This includes scholarships for students that will be the first in their families to attend a four-year college (the Ed & Margo Lupberger Scholarship); student-athletes (Eric Spry Memorial Scholarship); female-identifying students (WIN Impact, Vail Valley Business Women and the Crissa Lea Swinford Memorial scholarships); and more.

In addition to receiving financial support through their next phase of education, students also have the opportunity to be paired with a mentor from the community. This person helps guide them as they “transition to life after high school and be a resource for them during their time at school,” Tjossem said.

For the past decade, this program has been an important avenue for Eagle County students to receive support from their community in their next steps.

“Oftentimes national and institutional scholarships can be difficult to come by. Students are up against thousands of applicants and it’s challenging to stand out in a large pool. This is why local scholarships are so important,” Tjossem said.

“Local scholarships, while still competitive, are more accessible to our local students and families and can better address their specific needs. Our scholarships also give students the opportunity to be seen and recognized by local community members and remind them how much this community wants to invest in their futures,” she added.

2023 Scholarships and Awardees

Alexander J. Allen Trust Scholarship
Awarded to: Carlos Chavez (Vail Christian), Alexander Murray (Eagle Valley), Isabel Sanchez Devora (Eagle Valley), Grace Schultz (Eagle Valley), Christina Velasco (Eagle Valley) and Hazel Nall (Eagle Valley)

Crissa Lea Swinford Memorial Scholarship
Awarded to: Katrina Kovacik (Battle Mountain)

Dollars for Scholars Scholarship
Awarded to: Xiomara Caballero Hernandez (Eagle Valley) and Cassidy Kinzler (Battle Mountain)

Ed & Margo Lupberger Scholarship
Awarded to: Luis Cervantes (Eagle Valley), Jocelyn Chavez (Eagle Valley), Paulina Escobar (Vail Mountain School), Andrea Leal (Battle Mountain), Cassandra Ledezma (Battle Mountain) and Armando Medrano (Battle Mountain)

Eric Spry Memorial Scholarship
Awarded to: Katelyn Caudill (Battle Mountain)

Girl PowHER Scholarship
Awarded to: Melissa Perez (Battle Mountain)

Hopper Scholarship
Awarded to: Reagan McAdams (Eagle Valley)

June S. Kang Love of the Arts Scholarship
Awarded to: Georgianna Oliver Smith (Battle Mountain)

Land and Rivers Scholarship
Awarded to: Morgan Friel (Red Canyon)

Mountain Pride Scholarship
Awarded to: Emily Law (Vail Mountain School), Amari Stepanek (Battle Mountain) and Hazel Nall (Eagle Valley)

Tom and Margaret Edwards Scholarship
Awarded to: Jahaira Reyes (Eagle Valley)

Vail Health Employee Dependent Scholarship
Awarded to: Milaina Almonte (Battle Mountain), Oliver Grems (Vail Christian), Ryan Hutchinson (Vail Christian) and Sofia Rindone (Battle Mountain

Vail Valley Business Women Scholarship
Awarded to: Lydia Bloess (Eagle Valley), Samantha Boeke (Eagle Valley), Ahtziri Hernandez (Eagle Valley), Natalie Izbicki (Eagle Valley), Lesley Salinas Gonzalez (Eagle Valley), Faith Sandoval (Battle Mountain) and Carolina Tuscano (Eagle Valley)

WIN Impact Scholarship
Awarded to: Jaquelyn Chavez (Eagle Valley), Ava Crowley (Vail Mountain School), Christi San Diego (Eagle Valley) and Ngimi Sherpa (Battle Mountain)

YouthPower365 Scholarship
Awarded to: Monica Duran (Battle Mountain), Kevin Gonzalez (Eagle Valley), Yulisa Medrano (Battle Mountain), Sarah Morales (Battle Mountain), Valerie Romagnoli (Eagle Valley) and Eduardo Saucedo (Eagle Valley)

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