Dollars for Scholars distributes $698,000 in scholarships to 38 local high school seniors |

Dollars for Scholars distributes $698,000 in scholarships to 38 local high school seniors

This year’s recipients demonstrate resiliency and determination to build a better future

Iara Rodriguez Melgarejo of Battle Mountain High School receives the Crissa Lea Swinford Memorial Scholarship during the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 Dollars for Scholars event Wednesday at Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

On Wednesday evening, 38 Eagle County high school seniors were awarded with $698,000 in scholarships at the Vail Valley Foundation’s annual YouthPower365 Dollars for Scholars event.

The students — hailing from all the county’s high schools — were honored at the awards ceremony for their leadership, community involvement and academic achievement.

“It’s a moment to not only recognize the students for all their achievements but also a time to bring together all the community members that made their success possible,” said Rachel Tjossem, the college pathway specialist for YouthPower365.

“Families, teachers and school faculty, donors and other community partners who have all invested in the future of our graduating seniors and dedicated so much to make their dreams a reality. It’s a joyful event that honors a collective effort to invest in the youth of this valley,” she said.

Since 2001, Dollars for Scholars has been helping Eagle County seniors gain access to a wider range of scholarships. Students that participate in the program complete a single scholarship application that allows them to easily apply to a variety of local and state scholarship funds.

Support Local Journalism

“For many of our students, these scholarships will allow them to attend schools that they never thought would be possible without financial assistance. For other students, it can bring their cost of attendance to zero, meaning they will graduate with little to no student debt and get a head start on their future, which will be the case for our YouthPower365 Scholarship recipients,” Tjossem said.

It was a packed house for the annual Dollars for Scholars event Wednesday night at the Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Students that completed the application this year were eligible for 14 different scholarships, each with their own criteria, considerations and requests from the scholarship donors. And in recent years of the program, the scholarships have grown to be more inclusive of a variety of future pathways for students.

“With the growing conversation around student debt and the high costs of attending college, we have also adapted our scholarships to be inclusive of more two-year or trade schools, to support the students that may not want to go to a traditional four-year school,” Tjossem said.

In addition to supporting diverse futures for students, the scholarships themselves are geared to reflect the diversity of the Eagle County student population. The scholarships include those for first-generation Latino students (the Ed and Margo Lupberger Scholarship), children of Vail Health employees (Vail Health Employee Dependent Scholarship), students interested in arts (June S. Kang Love of the Arts Scholarship), student athletes (Eric Spry Memorial Scholarship), female students (the Vail Valley Business Women, Girl PowHER and the Crissa Lea Swinford Memorial scholarships) and more.

This year, there were three new scholarships added to the program: the WIN Impact Scholarship (a new partnership with the Women’s Impact Network of Eagle County), the YouthPower365 Scholarship (as newly revamped and funded by Steve and Amy Coyer) and the Land and Rivers Scholarship (which recently partnered with Dollars for Scholars in the hopes of reaching more students).

As many of these scholarships — some new and some long standing — are locally funded and distributed, Dollars for Scholars allows the community to help invest in the next generation of leaders, change makers and community members.

“Working with local donors and community partners to provide these scholarships means that we can directly respond to the needs of our community. Many of our donors understand that living in this valley can be a challenge for many families, and our local scholarships can take into account the high cost of living to allow funding for students that may fall just above the traditional cutoffs for financial aid,” Tjossem said.

“Many of our recipients also have a strong desire to return to the Vail Valley when they graduate, which will help promote a sustainable, vibrant future for this community,” she added.

Rachel Tjossem, the college pathway specialist for YouthPower365, speaks at the Dollars for Scholars event Wednesday night at the Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

While Dollars for Scholars honors some of the community’s best and brightest each year, this year’s scholarship recipients showed incredible amounts of poise, determination and maturity beyond their years, Tjossem said.

“This year specifically, it’s become clear how resilient our students are. In a year that was considered one of the most difficult in the field of education, students were still able to achieve unbelievable levels of success,” she said. “They are a sign of a very hopeful future and our community should be very proud of what these students have accomplished.”

2022 Scholarships and Awardees

Alexander J. Allen Trust Scholarship

Awarded to: Charlie Callis (Eagle Valley), Britney Chavez (Battle Mountain), Tylan Hoppin (Eagle Valley), Barrett Woods (Battle Mountain), Eddie Palacio Menchaca (Vail Christian), and Sonam Sherpa (Battle Mountain)

Ashley Palumbo Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to: Chloe Hornbostel de Moura e Silva (Vail Christian) and Reagan Romano (Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy)

Crissa Lea Swinford Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to: Iara Rodriguez Melgarejo (Battle Mountain)

Ed & Margo Lupberger Scholarship

Awarded to: Laura Vargas Salas (Battle Mountain), Alexandra Gonzalez (Battle Mountain), Kimberly Mayorga (Eagle Valley), Jose Saucedo (Eagle Valley), Janeth Gurrola (Battle Mountain), Lizeth Loera Martinez (Battle Mountain), Yarytzel Grajeda (Battle Mountain), and Clarisa Ortega (Battle Mountain)

Eric Spry Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to: Clarisa Ortega (Battle Mountain)

Girl PowHER Scholarship

Awarded to: Luisa Raynal (Battle Mountain)

Hopper Scholarship

Awarded to: Tylan Hoppin (Eagle Valley)

June S. Kang Love of the Arts Scholarship

Awarded to: Jada Abbott (Eagle Valley)

Land & Rivers Fund Scholarship

Awarded to: Kyla Wolffe (Battle Mountain)

Tom and Maragret Edwards Scholarship

Awarded to: Jose Saucedo (Eagle Valley)

Vail Health Employee Dependent Scholarship

Awarded to: Nicholas Olson (Battle Mountain), Ava Symanski (Eagle Valley), Bently Kent (Battle Mountain), and Jaime Gonzalez (Eagle Valley)

Vail Valley Business Women Scholarship

Awarded to: Emily Davis-Provoste (Battle Mountain), Audrey Deck (Vail Christian), Shelby Delaney (Red Canyon), Eva Thomas (Vail Mountain School), and Alden Mapes (Battle Mountain)

WIN Impact Network Scholarship

Awarded to: Ana Garcia (Eagle Valley), Ajoyah Brown (Battle Mountain), and Will Elliott (Eagle Valley)

YouthPower365 Scholarship

Awarded to: Neysi Chegue Bustos (Battle Mountain), Karol Loera (Battle Mountain), Diego Perez (Battle Mountain), Raul Rivera (Battle Mountain), Kiahna Gallegos (Eagle Valley), and Emilio Sanchez (Eagle Valley)

Support Local Journalism