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Colorado Mountain College, as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, has announced an essay contest in conjunction with Colorado Mountain News Media for people living within CMC’s service area.

The contest topic is “How diversity shapes our lives in western Colorado.” Winners will receive $500 scholarships to CMC and winning essays will be published in CMNM newspapers, in the Leadville Herald Democrat and on websites.

CMNM includes the Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Vail Daily, Summit Daily News, Steamboat Pilot and Rifle Citizen Telegram. A scholarship will be awarded in each of those markets, plus Leadville/Chaffee County. One winner from Lake and Chaffee counties will receive a $500 scholarship to the college. Winning essays will be submitted to the Leadville Herald Democrat and the Vail Daily for publication.

Essays must be no more than 600 words in length and will be judged on clarity of concept, depth and levels of meaning, and impact and composition.

“In celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, Colorado Mountain College is looking back at what has made us so different from any other college,” said Carrie Besnette Hauser, president and CEO of the college.

“The 11 communities and people we serve have been diverse in many ways,” she said. “By bringing together ranchers, entrepreneurs, miners, hippies, educators and a range of different ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and ages in conversation and learning, we have profoundly and positively affected the vitality of Colorado’s Western Slope.

“In this essay contest we want to hear from people who also embrace the diversity and inclusivity of our communities.

“I am grateful to Colorado Mountain News Media for partnering with CMC on this essay contest, for helping us to broaden this conversation into the next 50 years,” she added.

Post Independent Publisher and Editor Randy Essex said he’s looking forward to seeing the entries.

“CMC is playing an increasingly important role in developing our future leaders and reaching out to all sectors of our communities,” he said. “The school is a tremendous asset, and we’re proud to be a partner in this contest.”

The CMC service area is Pitkin, Garfield, Eagle, Summit, Lake, Jackson, Grand and Chaffee counties, and Routt County except for the southern part of Routt that is part of Colorado Northwestern Community College’s service area.

The newly extended entry deadline is April 1. Entries are being accepted at http://cmcbecauseofyou.org/cmc-50th-essay-contest/. Additional information and rules are on the website.