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Graduates from Glenwood Springs, Roaring Fork, Basalt and Yampah Mountain high schools will attend Colorado Mountain College this fall

From left, Lucy Moncada, Latino services coordinator at Alpine Bank; Bill Sanderson, president of Alpine Bank Glenwood Springs; Mayte Milan, Basalt High School; Jenny Sauer, assistant vice president of Alpine Bank Basalt; Breanna Ballesteros, Yampah Mountain High School; Debbie Lundin, Alpine Bank officer and assistant to Alpine Bank Chairman Bob Young; and Andres Betancourt, Glenwood Springs High School, at the recent Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship luncheon. The high school graduates received two-year scholarships to Colorado Mountain College. They’ll begin their studies this fall. Not pictured: Nedesin Platero, Roaring Fork High School. Photo Kate Lapides

From left, Lucy Moncada, Latino services coordinator at Alpine Bank; Bill Sanderson, president of Alpine Bank Glenwood Springs; Mayte Milan, Basalt High School; Jenny Sauer, assistant vice president of Alpine Bank Basalt; Breanna Ballesteros, Yampah Mountain High School; Debbie Lundin, Alpine Bank officer and assistant to Alpine Bank Chairman Bob Young; and Andres Betancourt, Glenwood Springs High School, at the recent Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship luncheon.  Not pictured: Nedesin Platero, Roaring Fork High School. Photo Kate Lapides

By Carrie Click

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Four high school students might not have been able to go to college if not for a financial boost from Alpine Bank. With that help, all four are college-bound.

Now in its 20th year, the Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship program has a twofold purpose: to promote diversity within Colorado Mountain College’s student body, and to give qualified Latino and Hispanic high school graduates a pathway to a college education.

A total of 12 students from throughout the college’s six-county district earned the scholarships this spring. Four of those students attended high schools in the mid and lower Roaring Fork Valley. The bank is covering the cost of tuition, fees and textbooks for two years at Colorado Mountain College for each selected student.

To be considered for these specialized awards, students must be of Latino/Hispanic descent, classify as an in-district CMC student, have at least a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need, among other criteria. Each scholarship equals $2,200 a year.

Four achievers from valley

Breanna Ballesteros is from Rifle and attended Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs, while Andres Betancourt graduated from Glenwood Springs High School. Further upvalley, Nedesin “Ned” Platero from Roaring Fork High School and Mayte Milan from Basalt High School received scholarships.

Platero, Roaring Fork High School’s senior class president, is active in football and soccer, and missed the Alpine Bank scholarship luncheon in May since he was competing in a track meet. Although he excels at sports, he plans to study finance while at Colorado Mountain College.

“I want to work as a financial advisor because I love interacting with people,” Platero wrote in his application.

The cost of a college education is increasingly becoming a challenge to many aspiring students and their families.

According to each college’s website, the cost for in-state tuition and fees – not counting books, housing and food – at Colorado Mesa University is more than $8,000 a year. At Colorado State University, it’s just over $10,500. Colorado Mountain College’s in-district tuition and fees, in contrast, are approximately $2,000 per year.

So when these four students got the news that they had received Alpine Bank scholarships to cover their first two years at Colorado Mountain College, their choices were made.

Now, with help from Alpine Bank, these high-achieving students are able to realize their dreams of going to college.

Turning ‘dreams into reality’

Betancourt, who just graduated from Glenwood Springs High School, and his family moved from Colombia to the United States three years ago. Like Ballesteros, a Yampah graduate who is interested in studying medicine and eventually becoming a pediatrician, Betancourt wants to be a nurse and psychologist. Milan, who recently graduated in Basalt, wants to have a successful career as an event planner or interior designer. No matter what each is choosing to study, these students demonstrate a drive to achieve.

“I am a very self-directed individual learner,” wrote Ballesteros in her scholarship application. “[Receiving this scholarship] will really help me accomplish my goals and turn my dreams into reality.”