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Aspen High School graduate now attending Colorado Mountain College 

By Carrie Click

photo - David Avila with Alpine Bank Aspen Branch President Doug Peate.

David Avila from Aspen High School received a 2016 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship to attend Colorado Mountain College for two years. Avila, left, is with Alpine Bank Aspen Branch President Doug Peate. Photo Kate Lapides

ASPENDavid Avila might not have been able to go to college if not for a financial boost from Alpine Bank. With that help, he is 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.

Avila is one of 12 students this spring who received the good news that he will receive the Alpine Bank scholarship. 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.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Avila has spent nearly all his life in Aspen. He and his family – his parents and brothers – are actively involved with St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Besides maintaining a 3.6 GPA, last fall Avila traveled with his church to the Philippines on a two-week humanitarian mission distributing medicine and supplies – a trip that, for the first time, exposed him to different cultures and new parts of the world.

“The children in the orphanage we visited were the most joyful and exuberant people that I have ever met,” Avila wrote in his Alpine Bank scholarship application. “I felt that I grew in my faith and I am even more inspired to help others in the future.”

Interested in music, math

Music and math are Avila’s strong suits. He aspires to become a professional trumpet player and travel the world with small bands. In the meantime, he plans to earn an associate degree in accounting, and he has a strong interest in computer programming as well.

Avila is a first-generation college student, and he and his family are on a fixed income, so paying for college was a concern – before Colorado Mountain College became an option and he received the Alpine Bank scholarship.

According to colleges’ websites, 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 Avila got the news that he had received one of Alpine Bank’s scholarships to cover his first two years at Colorado Mountain College, his choice was made. Now, with help from Alpine Bank, he is able to realize his dreams of going to college.

Kelly Gordon, a teacher at Aspen High School, has watched as Avila has progressed from freshman to senior and now graduate of the school.

“It’s so great to have CMC here,” she said.