Colorado Mountain College awards Alpine Bank scholarship to area students
Special to The Citizen Telegram
This year’s Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship program is helping 11 students from Western Slope high schools attend Colorado Mountain College next fall.
They include two graduating seniors from West Garfield County high schools: Magdalena Hermosillo-Velez from Rifle High School and Alejandro “Alex” Jaquez-Caro from Coal Ridge High School.
To be considered, students must be of Latino/Hispanic descent, classify as an in-district student, have at least a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need, among other criteria. Each scholarship – which equals $2,200 a year – helps to cover the cost of tuition, fees and books for two years.
Rifle grad wants to be self-sufficient, set good example
Hermosillo-Velez gave birth to her son, Ryan, during her junior year in high school.
“When I was a new mom, I was really confused,” she said.
Hermosillo-Velez believed she would never amount to anything, and it was hard for her to think her life would change.
Fortunately, Hermosillo-Velez’s family and high school advisor rallied around her. Her sister watched the baby while Hermosillo-Velez attended high school. Her mother encouraged her to continue her education, and Kathy Terry, the Rifle High School registrar, urged Hermosillo-Velez to complete the scholarship applications that could help put a college degree within reach.
Earning an Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship was a “life-changer,” said Hermosillo-Velez.
“Getting a scholarship made it possible for me to go to college, and to create a better future for me and my son,” she added.
Hermosillo-Velez plans to pursue a degree in accounting and hopes to become a positive role model for her younger brother and her now 1-year-old son.
“I like the fact that CMC is close to home,” she said, “so I can be near family. It’s a quality education, and it offers what I need right here.”
Coal Ridge grad works toward college since 8th grade
Starting in middle school, Jaquez-Caro began signing up for every advanced math class he could take.
“Even though I have not entered college yet, I have begun to prepare for college early,” he wrote in his scholarship application essay.
Jaquez-Caro also completed two Advanced Placement courses and several CMC concurrent enrollment classes during his high school years – all while volunteering at the library as a student assistant. Each week, he helped teach a different subject to elementary-aged students and particularly enjoyed setting up and demonstrating science experiments.
“He is a strong problem solver and is able to handle detail work,” said his math instructor, Valerie Friedly, in her recommendation letter. “He has shown this ability with his physics projects, which he has shared with me on a few occasions. He has the same attention to detail in all his classes.”
Jaquez-Caro is particularly eager for his 10-year-old brother to follow in his footsteps to college.
“I’d like for him to know it’s possible,” he said, “and to set a model for him to follow.”
Jaquez-Caro plans to study mechanical engineering and hopes to work in the petroleum industry.
“I thought my skills in math could help make an impact there,” he said.
This year’s other Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic scholarship recipients and their respective high schools are Katia Reyes-Castillo, Glenwood Springs; Elide Andrade, Roaring Fork; Andy Sandoval, Eagle Valley; Thelma Juarez, Battle Mountain; Pedro Gallegos, Red Canyon; Cinthia Valderrama, Summit; Celeste Portillo, Steamboat Springs; Joeli Villa Cedeno, Aspen; and Wilber Marquez, Basalt.
Alpine Bank has been awarding qualified students more than 170 scholarships since 1996.
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