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Graduates from Coal Ridge, Grand Valley high schools are attending Colorado Mountain College this fall

By Carrie Click

WESTERN GARFIELD COUNTY – Two local high school students might not have been able to go to college if not for a financial boost from Alpine Bank. With that help, both 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.

Dania Moreno, a recent graduate of Grand Valley High School in Parachute, was among the 13 students awarded the 2016 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship to attend Colorado Mountain College. Photo Kate Lapides

Dania Moreno, a recent graduate of Grand Valley High School in Parachute, is attending Colorado Mountain College thanks to the Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship. Photo Kate Lapides

A total of 12 students from throughout the college’s six-county district earned the scholarships this past spring. Two of those students attended high schools in western Garfield County. 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.

Two determined students

The recipients of this year’s Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarships from western Garfield County have all proven that they are resilient and determined.

While maintaining her school work Dania Moreno, who recently graduated from Grand Valley High School in Parachute, had to take on the majority of her family’s household responsibilities when she was just 13.

Miguel Navarro maintained a 3.5 grade point average and participated in athletics at Coal Ridge High School while taking college classes, working as a shift manager at McDonald’s in New Castle and watching over his siblings.

“I do not want to be judged on the struggles I have overcome,” Navarro wrote in his scholarship application, “but on my capacity to do better.”

Miguel Navarro, a recent graduate of Coal Ridge High School, was among the 13 students awarded the 2016 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship to attend Colorado Mountain College. Photo Kate Lapides

Miguel Navarro, who graduated in May from Coal Ridge High School, was awarded one of 12  2016 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship to attend Colorado Mountain College. Photo Kate Lapides

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 students got the news that they had received one of Alpine Bank’s 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. 

For Moreno and Navarro, attending Colorado Mountain College on an Alpine Bank scholarship is a pathway to success. Moreno plans to pursue a career in health care. Navarro’s goals are directed towards engineering and business management.