5Point scholarship urges youth to follow dreams | PostIndependent.com

5Point scholarship urges youth to follow dreams

Each April, five area high school students are rewarded for dreaming big in their personal pursuits to carry the five guiding principles of the 5Point Adventure Film Festival — Respect, Commitment, Humility, Purpose and Balance — out into their communities and the world.

Festival organizers started the 5Point Dream Project scholarship program six years ago as a way to encourage youth to follow their passions and embark on adventures that would change not only their own lives, but the lives of others.

The five students whose projects best exemplify those guiding principles are selected each year to receive a $1,500 scholarship to help make their dream come true, explained Tracy Wilson, coordinator of the Dream Project for 5Point.

"We want to see that energy and passion, and that real heart coming out in their essays as they explain their project; something that shows the spirit of the dream is really there," Wilson said.

The dream can be as big as traveling to a developing nation to teach in a school or work in a health clinic or orphanage.

Or, it can be something big right here in their own communities, such as building a school garden, developing resources for immigrant students, or making a film documentary about life in the Roaring Fork Valley.

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"It's important for us through this project to create the next set of adventurers, no matter what that is, or where it is," Wilson said.

For Felina Cruz, a sophomore at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale who is one of this year's recipients, the Dream Project was an opportunity to take advantage of the McBride Africa Internship for which she was recently selected.

"It was something I really wanted to do, but I didn't have the money for it," she said of her dream to explore the Kenyan wilderness and view and learn about the unique, and in many cases endangered wildlife.

"I heard about the Dream Project and wrote a two-page essay on why this was something I wanted to do, and how it would help me," Cruz said. "I feel like I've come so far and accomplished a lot, and I knew if I put my heart into it my dream could come true."

Hannah Hayden, a junior at Bridges High School, has long wanted to help people in difficult situations, especially children. She will be able to follow that pursuit as another of this year's Dream Project recipients, when she travels next fall to Cusco, Peru to work in an orphanage and teach the children English.

"I've been very blessed to have an amazing support system around me as I've grown up, and I want to help kids who don't have that," Hayden said. "I didn't think I'd be able to do something like this on my own, so I'm thankful for the Dream Project to make it happen."

For Colin Daniels, a junior at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, the Dream scholarship will him afford him an opportunity to travel to Costa Rica to work with marine wildlife conservation efforts.

"I feel like it's an important issue in the world, with all the threats to the environment," Daniels said, adding the experience will also allow him to work on his Spanish skills.

A total of 46 applications were considered for this year's Dream scholarships, Wilson said.

"In our feedback to the students who aren't selected, we really encourage them to figure out a way to make their dream happen," she said.

This year's recipients, which also included Basalt High School sophomore Erica Canas and CRMS senior Will Burrell, were recognized as part of opening night for the 5Point Film Festival on Thursday. The Dream Project is sponsored by Timbers Resorts.

The film festival continues through Sunday at the Carbondale Recreation and Community Center.

Meet this year’s 5Point Dream Project scholars

Erica Canas

Erica is a sophomore at Basalt High School. Her dream project is rooted in a sincere desire to support her fellow students at BHS. She will be starting a peer counseling program called “Connect the Dots,” which will allow students to get the training they need to counsel one another on making good decisions and connecting students with resources that they might not know are available to them in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Colin Daniels

Colin is a junior at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School. For his project he will be travelling to Puntarenas, Costa Rica where he will stay with a host family while volunteering with a marine conservation group. Through this project he will be expanding both his knowledge of aquatic life as well as refining his Spanish language skills.

Felina Cruz

Felina is a sophomore at Roaring Fork High School. She was recently selected as part of the McBride Africa Internship program, and will be traveling to Kenya this summer. Through the program, she will explore the natural African wildlife that inspires in you a sense of something greater than yourself.

Hannah Hayden

Hannah is a junior at Bridges High School. She has always known that she wants to help children who are in difficult situations. For her project, she will be traveling to Cusco, Peru to work in an orphanage. Her hope is to positively impact the lives of the kids that she will meet there.

Will Burrell

Will is a senior at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, with a passion for skateboarding that he wants to share with the kids (and adults) of the Navajo Nation reservation. He will be donating 10 skateboards, and building a small skatepark for everyone to enjoy. He’ll also be sharing his love of skating by giving lessons to anyone who is interested, young and old alike.

Source: 5Point Film Festival Dream Project