Karen Barraza

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Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship winner


Karen Barraza enjoyed working up to 30 hours a week at the E. Dene Moore Care Center during her junior year at Rifle High School so much so that, now she has graduated, she’s considering a career in nursing.

Karen Barraza, 2009 Alpine Bank Hispanic/Latino Scholarship winner from Rifle High School.

Karen Barraza, 2009 Alpine Bank Hispanic/Latino Scholarship winner from Rifle High School.

On the other hand, Barraza would like to study business administration and open her own business, perhaps a salon with her younger sister.

Either career path she chooses, Barraza now has her first step to higher education covered. She was selected as the Rifle High recipient of the Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship, one of 10 regional students to earn the honor this spring. The students are awarded a two-year scholarship covering the cost of in-district tuition and books at any Colorado Mountain College campus. Barraza plans to start this fall by studying business and taking some nursing prerequisites at the West Garfield Campus in south Rifle.

During her senior year in high school, Barraza decided to pour herself into volunteer and club activities while also taking Advanced Placement courses and continuing to maintain her 4.0 grade point average.

“I always like to be doing something. I just gave all the time I had,” Barraza said. “Every time an opportunity came up, I tried it to see if I liked it.”

She volunteered time at Grand River Hospital and the Lift-Up store and served on the parade committee for the Chamber of Commerce. At the high school, she served as president of the Spanish Club and vice president of the National Honor Society. She served on the school’s accountability committee, contributed as a LINK leader and participated in Future Business Leaders of America, among other activities.

Barraza will be the first in her immediate family to graduate from high school and go on to college.

The annual scholarships are awarded to students who exhibit a strong desire to pursue a college education, some of whom will be the first in their families to attend college. Since the program began in 1996 with five original scholarship recipients, the bank has awarded 95 scholarships totaling more than $350,000.