Alpine Bank awards CMC scholarships |

Alpine Bank awards CMC scholarships

Photo by Kate Lapides
Staff Photo |

This year’s Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship program is helping 17 graduates of Western Slope high schools attend Colorado Mountain College next fall.

Six students from Glenwood Springs and Carbondale earned 2013 Alpine Bank scholarships: Daniel Peña, Jesse Monsalve-Moncada, Luis Peláez-Álvarez and Arianna Lomeli-Alcala, Glenwood Springs High School; and Georgina Martinez-Almeida and Judith Ruelas (merit scholar), Roaring Fork High School.

In honor of Alpine Bank’s 40th anniversary, four more scholarships than usual were awarded to qualified students, the most since the program began in 1996. The scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition, fees and books for two years, promotes diversity in the college’s student body. Many of the scholars will be the first in their families to attend college.

“The Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship has been instrumental in opening doors to qualified Latino-Hispanic high school graduates in our communities,” said Yesenia Arreola, youth outreach coordinator at Colorado Mountain College. “Without the assistance to make this important first step, many would have not been able to see themselves become graphic designers, business owners, teachers, banking representatives, nurses, entrepreneurs, nutrition specialists, paralegals and more.”

Hope, determination

Arianna Lomeli-Alcala, who recently graduated from Glenwood Springs High School, said she wants to be a role model for her two younger siblings. She is the first in her family to graduate from high school and to attend college, a huge step considering her family’s long journey from Guadalajara, transitioning into a new life in the U.S. and learning a second language.

“My impressions must be lasting so that my younger siblings have the courage to explore a world of their own,” she wrote in her scholarship application, “in hopes of having them follow in my footsteps, to make it clear to them we are capable of achieving our life goals.”

Lomeli-Alcala plans to study nursing and eventually become a paramedic.

Instructors from Glenwood Springs High School who recommended Luis Peláez-Álvarez call him a natural role model for younger students.

Six years ago, Peláez-Álvarez moved to the U.S. not understanding any English. He said in his scholarship application that “I may be a slower walker but I never walk backward.”

He acquired his English language skills faster than many students, his teachers said, because of his determination and confidence. The recent graduate is the first in his family to graduate from high school, and he plans to study engineering.

Daniel Peña has stood out at Glenwood Springs High School because of his artistic and creative talent. He said he has always enjoyed drawing and painting and wants to channel his passions into a career in graphic design.

Peña is very excited about entering CMC’s Isaacson School of New Media.

Jesse Monsalve-Moncada has been involved in many activities at Glenwood Springs High School, including acting in the spring musical, mentoring math students, playing on the soccer team and volunteering at community events.

He hopes to double major in theater and business administration and someday start his own business.

“It’s really important to open yourself to new opportunities,” he said. “I don’t like settling for less if I can have more.”

Careers in service

Judith Ruelas, who received the Alpine Bank merit award for her exceptional academic performance in high school, said her ELL teacher’s help when she first moved to Colorado inspired her to strive for a bachelor’s degree in education.

“It was frustrating to have to have someone translate and not be able to express myself when I first arrived here,” she said. “I want to teach kids how to speak and write in English.”

Roaring Fork High School teachers said Ruelas has a natural teaching ability in working with students of different ages and abilities. She tried to teach as much as possible during high school, even using two of her class periods to tutor at Carbondale Middle School.

Georgina Martinez-Almeida experienced a life-changing event a year ago when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Roaring Fork High School student said although the journey was challenging, she found a new calling.

“I want to study nursing to help out others in situations similar to my mother’s,” she said. “An education is a way to get a better job and better future so I can succeed in life.”

She said her parents have always taught her never to give up when life gets hard. She lives by the motto, “The mountain will always be there and you will always want to remove it, but it’s the journey that matters.”

This year’s other scholarship recipients and their respective high schools are Alexandra Lujano, Steamboat Springs; Verónica Mendivil, Yampah Mountain; Sandy Loera and Briana Fernández, Eagle Valley; Juliet Kennedy, Red Canyon; Jesús Garcia and Bebly Machado, Rifle; Elizabeth Navarro, Coal Ridge; Marcela Carrasco and Yoseline Ayala-Pineda, Aspen; and María Teresa Puerta-Giraldo, Summit.

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