Local grads ready for college in Rifle | PostIndependent.com

Local grads ready for college in Rifle

Colorado Mountain College
Special to the Citizen Telegram
Kate Lapides Colorado Mountain College
Staff Photo |

They say it takes a village to raise a child. But when that village support leads a motivated young person onto the path of higher education, he or she is empowered to give back an even greater amount than they received.

That’s the hope for three students from western Garfield County who earned 2013 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarships: Bebly Machado and Jesús Garcia of Rifle High School, and Elizabeth Navarro of Coal Ridge High School. This year’s scholarships are helping 17 students from Western Slope high schools attend Colorado Mountain College next fall.

“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.”

In honor of Alpine Bank’s 40th anniversary, four more scholarships than usual were awarded to qualified students in need, 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.

Rifle graduates want to ‘pay forward’ support

Bebly Machado has spent her childhood moving from one place to the next. Born in Colorado, she moved to Mexico when she was two months old, then back to the U.S., living in several locations in Colorado and Arizona before settling at Rifle High School for her junior and senior years.

Between attending multiple schools, living away from her parents (who reside in Mexico) and improving her English skills along the way, Machado has maintained a 3.92 GPA, participated in extracurricular activities and volunteered. And thanks to the Alpine Bank scholarship, Machado will be able to enroll at Colorado Mountain College next fall.

“I love Colorado,” she said. “I didn’t want to go outside of the state for college, and I’m so excited to attend CMC.”

After Machado finishes her associate degree, she hopes to continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration and work in tourism, traveling around the world. Although it has been difficult living away from her parents, Machado said they are extremely proud of her accomplishments.

“I know how hard my mother and sister have had to work,” she said. “Having a degree will open a lot of opportunities for me.”

For Jesús Garcia, a Rifle High School graduate, the realization that he received the Alpine Bank scholarship didn’t sink in until he arrived at the awards banquet in May.

“I was really excited and thankful,” he said. “It gives me the opportunity to be able to go to college and study something I like. Not everyone has the resources to do this.”

Garcia plans to study radiology, something that fulfills his desire to help others. Once he finishes his associate degree at CMC, he said he plans to enroll in a bachelor’s program in a specific branch of radiology.

“I want to use a bachelor’s degree to work in a hospital … the beginning of a lifetime contribution to others,” he wrote in his application for the scholarship. “That’s the main reason I strive day to day to become a radiologist, to fulfill my true life goal of helping others.”

Coal Ridge grad builds on CNA training

School has never been easy for Elizabeth Navarro; she worried she might not be able to graduate from high school. But her hard work and perseverance paid off. She has maintained a 3.25 GPA, won numerous school awards, including Math Student of the Year, and volunteered at the Grand River Hospital District.

“I realized I could do much better,” she said. “I’m taking steps to keep moving forward.”

Navarro completed the certified nurse aide program at CMC while attending high school, and she wants to pursue nursing.

“I’m looking forward to studying for my future career,” she said.

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