Academically driven student among 12 Alpine Bank Latino scholars
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Coal Ridge High School graduate Mark Aguirre could be somewhat of a rarity in a 17-year-old since he loves going to school.
“I like constantly learning, really applying yourself to continue learning something new every day,” said Aguirre, a resident of Peach Valley. “I love going to school and having something on my mind to give me a purpose to wake up in the morning and try.”
High school teachers call Aguirre an “academic standout” at Coal Ridge, where he earned a cumulative 3.9 GPA and took several concurrent enrollment courses in Spanish and health care skills from Colorado Mountain College. Aguirre is one of 12 students honored in May as an Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship recipient. The scholarship covers two years of tuition, fees and books at any Colorado Mountain College campus, up to a maximum of $2,200 per student, per year.
“I have particular respect for the inquiring and analytical mind of Mark that is evident during our classroom discussions,” registered nurse Paula Chelewski, who teaches health care skills at Colorado Mountain College, wrote in her letter of recommendation for Aguirre. “He demands excellence from himself and pushes himself to learn beyond what is expected in class. He has high character skills that include respect for other classmates, honesty in his dealings and a strong work ethic.”
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Aguirre said there was little chance he would attend college without the Alpine Bank scholarship, because the tough economy forced his family to dig into savings to make ends meet. His mother is a bookkeeper, and his father is a stucco worker with much less work these days.
“With only 12 out of the Colorado Mountain College district, I was really amazed because I thought there was a one in a million chance of getting it,” Aguirre said of receiving the scholarship.
The academically driven, self-motivated teen plans to take the certified nursing assistant exam in June. In addition to nursing home and hospital observations for his college health skills class, he volunteered at a nursing home in Rifle for his high school senior project. He may use his CNA skills for employment while pursuing his desire to become a paralegal, he said.
This year’s other student scholars and their respective high schools are Yanira Canas, Basalt; Ana Vega Terrazas, Roaring Fork; Cesar “Alex” Alvarado, merit scholar, Roaring Fork; Cristal Aguirre, Glenwood Springs; Maria Jimenez Cobian, Yampah Mountain; Israel Ulloa, Rifle; Azucena Dominguez, Red Canyon; Guadalupe Gutierrez, Battle Mountain; Jaime Silva, Eagle Valley; Maria Martinez-Lopez, Summit; and Claudia Janette Najera, Steamboat Springs.
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