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Students, donors celebrate scholarships

Scott N. Miller
Special to the DailyCMC HERO scholarship recipients Airam Gonzalez, Gabriela Hernandez (standing) and Chris Montoya attended a ceremony to unveil donors' pavers at Colorado Mountain College's Vail-Eagle Valley Campus in Edwards.
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EDWARDS ” Gabriella Hernandez is a “HERO.” So are another 20 or so students at Colorado Mountain College’s campus in Edwards.

Hernandez and her fellow students are attending college thanks to the “HERO” scholarship program, which pays the full cost of tuition and books.

Those scholarships have been paid for through donations, more than $750,000 so far. The ultimate goal is $1 million. Like most scholarship funds, these donations are put into a bank account and the principal is never spent. Interest on the principal pays for the scholarships.



When the fund hits $1 million, the interest will pay for about 40 students a year to go to college, said Glenn Davis, head of the “HERO” scholarship committee.

“This is letting me fulfill my dreams,” Hernandez said Wednesday at a ceremony in Edwards to honor both donors and students. A 2005 graduate of Battle Mountain High School, Hernandez said she may take classes to get her real estate license after finishing her general education classes.



“College is great; I’m in love with it,” Hernandez said. “It’s kind of different, but I’m keeping my grades up.”

Matthew Kroschel wants to major in youth ministry. For now, though, the 2006 graduate of Red Canyon High School is taking his general education classes in Edwards.

“This is a lot more difficult than high school,” Kroschel said. “But it’s great.”



Like many other scholarships, students have to go through interviews when they apply. None of the students at thes ceremony said their interviews were particularly stressful.

“I knew a lot of people in the room,” Walter Gates said.

Donors to the scholarship fund were honored Wednesday with a small patio on the east side of the college’s building in Edwards.

With a small stone bench in the center and ringed by flowers, the patio will be a good place for students to catch some time outside, out of the afternoon sun.

The paving bricks ” several of which remain blank for now ” have the names of donors to the program.

One of program’s biggest donors doesn’t have a paver, though. Cheryl Lindstrom of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation said one local family gave $200,000 and asked that it specifically go toward scholarships for local Hispanic students.

That part of the program awarded nine scholarships during the 2005-06 school year, and another five have been awarded for 2006-07.

Looking at the patio, during the ceremony, Davis spoke about what the names on those bricks mean to students.

“For every name on those pavers, there’s at least one student here who perhaps couldn’t have gone to school otherwise,” Davis said. “But for every paver, there are probably three to five students still in need.”

The good thing about this scholarship fund, Davis said, is that every dollar goes into the bank. The money is handled by the Colorado Mountain College Foundation. That group, which is set up to take donations and handle scholarships, doesn’t take a cut of the donations.

While the students say their lives have been changed thanks to their scholarships, the presence of more than 20 full-time students has changed life at the campus, too.

“There didn’t use to be many people here in the day,” said Doris Dewton, Eagle County’s representative to the Colorado Mountain College board of trustees. “There are students here in the day now, as well as at night.

“It’s wonderful to see this campus so heavily used so early in its life.”

While money is crucial to the HERO Scholarship program, not everyone can write checks. For those who would like to help Colorado Mountain College but can’t give cash, the school has a mentoring program to help students.

To learn more, e-mail Eileen Miller, eileenm@vail.net

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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