New position to help students toward college, career

CMC and high school staff  involved in new counselor program in western Garfield County

Individuals involved in the new counselor program who attended a recent meeting are, from left to right, Grand Valley High School counselor Ryan Frink; Garfield Re-2 curriculum director Larry Brady; District 16 director of technology Nathan Humphrey; CMC CEPA and testing coordinator Jenny Boone; CMC-Rifle campus vice president Nancy Genova; Coal Ridge High School principal Rick Elertson; CMC administrative technician Katie Rust; Grand Valley High School principal Jory Sorenson; CMC interim vice president of student affairs Lin Stickler; Grand Valley High School counselor Chris Abbey; District 16 superintendent Ken Haptonstall; Rifle High School counselor Drew Hogan; and Grand Valley High School counselor Brenda Walck.

For many high school students and their parents, the path toward higher education is riddled with daunting hurdles. Financial aid paperwork, admission essays and scholarship applications loom almost as large as the cost of financing a college degree.

To help students find their way through the challenges and opportunities, Colorado Mountain College has hired Jenny Boone to join a team of counselors at Rifle, Coal Ridge and Grand Valley high schools. Since September, she has been working alongside high school counselors there to help engage students in planning their futures, even as early as their freshman year in high school.

“Through years of cooperative programs, we have learned that we must not only offer assistance for higher education, but we must also work with our high schools to create a college culture early on, providing information, guidance and support throughout high school to prepare students for college and careers,” said Nancy Genova, vice president of CMC’s Rifle campus. “We hope also to engage the community and parents in this holistic process.”

Generous donations support new position

Boone’s position is made possible by a generous grant from the Clough Family Foundation and Encana. In addition to their ongoing support of Colorado Mountain College, each contributed $35,000 toward the effort. Alpine Banks of Rifle, New Castle and Parachute recently added $5,000 of additional support.

In 2007 the Clough Family Foundation established a multimillion-dollar endowment to provide the need-based Genevieve Clough Scholarships for graduates of Rifle High School, Grand Valley high School and Coal Ridge High School to attend Colorado Mountain College. The foundation’s additional contribution to support Boone’s position serves a complementary purpose: to make students aware of opportunities, scholarships and pathways to higher education early in their high school careers.

Encana, too, has long been a generous supporter of the college, including a donation of $3 million toward constructing the new Rifle campus in 2005. According to Doug Hock, director of community and public relations at Encana, “The counselor program helps students explore and understand the opportunities available to them post-graduation. Encana is pleased to be able to help provide students with this great resource.”

The CMC Foundation hopes to secure additional grant funding in the future to help build the program with college visits, communications to students and parents, tracking of college applications and acceptances, and workshops aimed at increasing awareness of and preparedness for college and careers.

“Our partnership with Colorado Mountain College provides our students extra support, guidance and resources to expand their horizons and all of the possibilities open to them for either a college or career track,” said Garfield Re-2 School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Birdsey. “It’s another tool to help them become exceptional citizens when they leave high school.”