Eagle student named first Vail Mountain School Taft Conlin scholar
VAIL — An Eagle student is the first awarded Vail Mountain School’s new Taft Conlin Scholarship.
Kevin Garcia will enter Vail Mountain School as a sophomore next fall. The endowed scholarship will cover his tuition until he graduates.
The Taft Conlin Scholarship will be awarded annually to a high achieving student based on academic merit and positive impact in their community.
“The program is an opportunity for me to make a difference and be a positive influence in the community,” says Garcia.
Garcia was born and raised in the Vail Valley and has attended Eagle Valley elementary, middle and high schools. He has also been a participant in the SOS University Program since third grade and is currently a part of the SOS Masters Program, where he serves as a mentor for younger students.
He also participates in the Upward Bound program at Colorado Mountain College, which provides local college bound students with tutoring, mentoring, career counseling and ACT test preparation. By participating in Upward Bound, he also earns funding that will help him pay for college. He said his goal is Harvard.
“Kevin has distinguished himself as a scholar, athlete and leader among his peers,” said Jeremy Thelen, VMS admissions director. “I’m certain that we have a lot to offer Kevin, but likewise, he will also bring a lot to VMS.”
‘GREAT STUDENT, EXCELLENT LEADER’
“Kevin is a great student and an excellent leader,” said Mikayla Curtis, the former SOS youth programs director, who recommended Garcia for the scholarship. “He shows a strong adherence to a moral compass, is very supportive and compassionate, and demonstrates a level of maturity that very few people his age possess.”
He even takes the bus to meet his younger sister at her school and walk her home.
The endowed scholarship was created in Taft Conlin’s name by his parents, Louise Ingalls and Steve Conlin, as well as by contributions from the community and other members of the Conlin’s family.
“We established this scholarship to create opportunities for students who truly stand out — young men and women who will thrive in college and probably appear on the cover of Time magazine some day,” Ingalls said. “Our goal is to open doors for kids who will take full advantage of the learning and networking opportunities that exist at VMS.”
Taft Conlin was killed in an avalanche on Vail Mountain.
“Vail Mountain School has been a launchpad for countless individuals who not only do well in their careers, but who also do good in service to others. For us, this is Taft’s legacy. He will live on through the positive effects that the Taft Conlin Scholars will have on their local and global community,” Ingalls said.
It would be really hard to spark a wildfire anywhere near Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek right now. Still, unattended campfires will always draw attention.