Colorado Mountain College was recently acknowledged for promoting access to higher education to disadvantaged and diverse populations when the college received the Institution of the Year award from the Colorado Educational Services & Development Association.
Two CMC staff members were also recognized for their service to CESDA. Vicky Valentine, admissions assistant at CMC in Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley, received a certificate for dedication and service to CESDA, and Matt Gianneschi, Ph.D., CMC chief operating officer and chief of staff, was acknowledged as a longtime supporter and contributor to CESDA.
Encouraging post-secondary education
Now in its 40th year, Denver-based CESDA held its annual conference for founders, leaders and colleagues in Avon May 21-23 at the Westin Resort & Spa.
On the evening of May 22, nearly 70 people attended a banquet to honor individuals and organizations that support and encourage post-secondary educational opportunities for underrepresented populations, such as students of color and those who are economically disadvantaged.
Receiving the Institution of the Year award on behalf of Colorado Mountain College was Yesenia Arreola, herself a recipient in 2005 of an Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship. Arreola went on to graduate with honors from Regis University in Denver and is now the youth outreach coordinator at CMC.
Representing the college at the awards dinner in addition to Arreola and Gianneschi were Paul Edwards, admissions counselor, and Krisan Crow, Upward Bound director in western Garfield County.
Successful symposium at Spring Valley
CMC received the award specifically because of the successful CESDA Western Slope Symposium that was held April 11, 2014, at CMC’s residential campus in Spring Valley. Nearly 100 high school juniors from Basalt, Eagle Valley, Roaring Fork, Coal Ridge and Grand Junction high schools came to the campus to visit with representatives from participating Colorado colleges and universities, and to learn about collegiate opportunities available to them. Valentine’s certificate acknowledged her work in organizing the event.
“CMC and Vicky were an absolute treat to work with,” said Priscilla Gardea, CESDA’s chairwoman. “Vicky was our point person. And Paul Edwards has always been a supporter of CESDA. It was Paul who pushed for the symposium to be at CMC. For those 100 students from Glenwood to Eagle County and the I-70 corridor, [CMC] changed and positively impacted their lives, and the ripple effect will make [that] hard work pay off even more.”
Besides CMC’s award and acknowledgements, CESDA awarded six scholarships to graduating high school seniors to attend Colorado colleges and universities. The organization also gave six awards:
- Legacy award: Mary Ontiveros, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
- High school counselor of the year: Andrea Caruso, Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale
- Distinguished service – Joshua Gabrielson, Metropolitan State University of Denver
- Rookie of the year – Cheya Dowden, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
- Committee member of the year: Christopher Anderson, University of Colorado at Boulder
Rising star: Edward Nance, Arapahoe Community College.