Two Glenwood students are selected as Boettcher scholars |

Two Glenwood students are selected as Boettcher scholars

Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – For the first time in recent memory, and perhaps ever, Glenwood Springs High School has two winners in the same year of the prestigious Boettcher Foundation Scholarship.

GSHS seniors Anna Gauldin and Walter Gorra both learned this past week that they had been selected among 40 scholarship recipients, out of 72 finalists from throughout Colorado.

The Boettcher award covers virtually all expenses for recipients to attend any four-year public or private college or university in Colorado, including full tuition, fees, a book allowance and an annual stipend for living expenses.

“It’s very rare for a high school our size to even have two finalists, but to actually have two winners is pretty impressive,” GSHS counselor Scott Loeffler said.

“Both are just phenomenal students all-around,” he said. “Not only academically, but what they do outside their school is what really stands out.”

Gauldin, 18, says she’s “almost 100 percent certain” she’ll take advantage of the scholarship opportunity, attending either Denver University or Colorado State University and double majoring in journalism and creative writing.

Gorra, 17, said he definitely intends to accept the scholarship so he can pursue a double major in civil engineering and jazz piano, most likely at the University of Colorado, he said.

GSHS had two other Boettcher Scholarship winners in recent years in sisters Kerry Rippy (2008) and Allie Rippy (2010). Both decided to attend college out of state, however, Kerry at Yale University and Allie at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

According to the Boettcher Foundation, recipients are chosen “on the basis of their superior academic ability, demonstrated service ethic, outstanding character and their participation and leadership in both school and community activities.”

The merit-based scholarships are awarded to 40 graduating seniors in Colorado each year, and are selected from more than 1,300 qualified applicants.

Students must rank in the top 5 percent of their graduating class and have a combined score of at least 1200 on the Critical Reading and Math sections of the SAT, or a composite ACT score of at least 27.

Gauldin said her dad, Scott Gauldin, had been checking the mail for her every day this week. When the letter came from the Boettcher Foundation, she said he couldn’t help but hold it up to a light to tell what it said.

“He saw the word, ‘Congratulations,’ and immediately drove to school to give it to me,” she said.

“I cried a little, and got really excited,” she added. “It’s been an amazing experience, and I just want to thank all the people who helped me. My mom [Mandy Gauldin] has been amazing, and has been there for me through it all.”

In addition to her academic studies, Gauldin is editor of the GSHS student newspaper, the Brimstone, is student body treasurer and has been involved in student council since the seventh grade. She also has played volleyball and run track for the Demons all four years.

Outside of school, she has been a volunteer with the Books for Soldiers project and has been involved with the youth services organization YouthZone. Last summer, she was a YouthZone Kiss-n-Squeal fundraising contest candidate.

She even has her own business already, called Spike Social Media, through which she is the social media director for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. She also handles the social media duties for one of her mother’s primary media relations clients, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Her mom, Mandy Gauldin, owns Peak Communications.

“The main goal is to increase interaction on Facebook and Twitter between the clients and fan base, and get feedback from people on their experience in Glenwood Springs or at the Caverns,” Anna Gauldin said. “It’s very person-to-person interaction on these sites.

“It’s the best job I could have asked for in high school, because I can be flexible,” she added.

Gauldin also had two internships last summer, one with ESPN’s Rise magazine and the other locally with the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

For Gorra, music or engineering could end up being his primary career path. But his passion lies in both.

Gorra is the son of Adolfo and Paula Gorra of Glenwood Springs.

He has been playing the piano for nine years, and picked up the trumpet when he got to high school. He currently studies with well-known valley musicians Terry Bannon, Chris Bank and Tim Fox, and has worked as a student instructor with the Jazz Aspen Snowmass summer program.

His other activities include being an active participant in the Key Club at GSHS, and practicing the martial art of Tang Soo Do with local instructor Brian Mable.

On the engineering side of things, he also worked as a backhoe operator last summer.

“A huge part of engineering is knowing what goes on at a job site,” Gorra said. “I’m looking forward to the double major, and I really want to see how far I can progress in music.

“I’d really like the thank the whole community, and the Boettcher Foundation,” he said. “This is a huge honor, and I’m excited to contribute to the community that has helped me so much.”

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