Jacob Morgan: Coal Ridge High’s first Boettcher Scholar
For the first time in school history, a Coal Ridge High School student has been named a Boettcher Scholarship winner. Senior Jacob Morgan will be one of 42 students to receive a full ride to any Colorado college of his choice.
“Having the support of family and friends really helped to give me the confidence to apply and see where it took me,” he said. “Not having to pay for school will open so many doors for me.”
The application process was a rigorous one that took months of time and preparation.
“More than 1,400 of Colorado’s top students apply each year,” Tiffany Anderson, director of the scholarship program, said in a press release. “Jacob really stood out with his accomplishments both in and out of the classroom.”
To stand out among the 1,400 applicants, Morgan sent in four essays, one several pages in length and three smaller ones, but it would be months before he received the news that he made it to next round where the field shrunk to 300 students.
“I never thought I’d make it this far, but with every round I knew I’d have a better chance to showcase myself,” he added.
Over the next several weeks Boettcher administrators reviewed three letters of recommendation highlighting his leadership, community service and academic accomplishments.
By late January, several months after his initial application, Morgan was into the final round of 100, which included a 15-minute interview with a 12-person panel in Denver. He is the first CRHS student to even make it to the final round.
From there, he was named one of 42 students chosen for the prestigious scholarship.
“I arrived to Coal Ridge High School when Jacob was a freshman,” said Principal Richard Elertson. “His father passed away from an extensive battle with cancer that same year. Faced with becoming the man of the house for his mother and two sisters, Jacob flourished. He and his family have turned tragedy into personal triumph.”
Losing his father to cancer will stay with him wherever he goes, but he gives his dad credit for who he is today.
“He always pushed me to be the best person I can be and taught me the morals and standards that I live by today,” Morgan explained. “That really helped during the interview process.”
Teachers and coaches alike praised Morgan for tenacity and dedication. CRHS Athletic Director Ben Kirk called Jacob “the single most outstanding young man” he has coached and/or taught in 11 years.
Morgan will graduate as valedictorian and has been captain of both the track and football teams for the past two seasons, but it is in his work outside of school where his connection to his dad can most clearly be seen. He is on the board of directors at the River Center in New Castle, and said his true passion is volunteering at the cancer center at Valley View Hospital.
There, he gets to explore and expand his love for medicine, one that began during the five years he watched his father battle cancer.
“His goals are to become a doctor and work in cancer research, I believe he honors his father’s memory in this choice, and in his personal choices each and every day,” Elertson added.
Using the Boettcher Scholarship, Morgan plans to enroll at the University of Colorado Boulder and study pre-med.
Established in 1952, the Boettcher Scholarship program awards 42 scholarships each year and has established a network of more than 2,400 Boettcher scholars, according to the press release.
The scholarship Morgan has been awarded includes virtually all expenses to attend school, including full tuition, fees, a cook allowance and an annual stipend for living expenses. The award is granted for eight semesters at either a public or private four-year college or university in the state.
He is the first Garfield Re-2 student to receive the scholarship in 11 years.