Dolly Contreras selected as one of 13 Latino/Hispanic scholars
Dolly Contreras said she was “in shock” when she learned she’d been awarded an Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship to attend Colorado Mountain College. “I was so happy and really proud of myself.”
According to science teacher Joe Mollica, who recommended Contreras, she has every right to feel proud. Contreras tackled Anatomy and Physiology as a junior and AP Biology as a senior. “These difficult elective classes serve as an example of her hard work ethic and tenacity,” said Mollica.
Beyond the classroom, Contreras has shown initiative and demonstrated volunteer spirit. She played an active role in the high school’s Key Club, yearbook and Varsity Choir, and as a translator for Latino students.
This is the 17th year Alpine Bank has honored regional high school graduates through the bank’s Latino/Hispanic Scholarships. This year’s 13 recipients receive a scholarship that covers two years of tuition, fees and books at any Colorado Mountain College campus.
Part-time job led to interest in business
Contreras was particularly honored to receive support from her fellow employees at Alpine Bank, where she has worked part-time since she was a sophomore. Kristi Shelton, senior vice president of HR and training for the bank, wrote in her recommendation letter, “I know I can count on Dolly.” While working and going to school, Contreras also participated in bank-sponsored service projects such as the Relay for Life, hospital community service and highway cleanup projects.
It was Contreras’ work at the bank that fueled her desire to go into business administration. “I’ve really enjoyed working in customer service,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s a great feeling to know that you’ve helped someone solve a problem. Alpine Bank is just the best, period! I’m so honored to be a part of such a great company, with great people and great role models.
Contreras hopes to earn a degree in business administration. However, she said that if she decides to move away from the Western Slope, she seeks to pursue a career as a fashion designer. “It’s an internal desire for me,” she said.
Although she is sure of her goals, she has not decided where she is headed after attending CMC. “I’m going to live today for today, I’m going to let time tell all.”
Encouragement from family and teachers made difference
When asked who has inspired her to pursue a college degree, Contreras, the youngest of three, didn’t hesitate: “My mom and my sisters.” She explained, “They always support me in everything; they’re my best friends, my co-workers, my counselors, the whole package.”
She also noted the impact of teachers, including Mary Roose, who saw her potential when others didn’t. “She taught me to pursue what I wanted to be and who I wanted to be,” Contreras said. “Also, Mr. Mollica always challenged me to work hard and reach for my goals.”
In her scholarship application, Contreras wrote, “I believe that I have proven to not only myself but to everyone else that once doubted my academic potential that I can achieve my long-term goals with the heart and passion that I possess.” Clearly the scholarship selection committee at Alpine Bank agrees.
This year’s other student scholars and their respective high schools are Baneza Andrades Vargas, Aspen; Maritza Araiza (merit scholar) and Kevin Kiyoshi Nakagawa, Basalt; Natalie Avila, Yampah Mountain; Venezia Cuadras, Coal Ridge; Heidi Acosta, Rifle; Levi Ernest, Red Canyon; Stella Martinez, Battle Mountain; Damian Montes, Eagle Valley; Oscar Tena, Roaring Fork; Edeyanira Martinez, Summit; and Ana Orellana, Steamboat Springs.