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By Donna Gray

If statistics are to be believed, Christian Addie may not have had a bright future to look forward to. But Addie is out to buck the numbers.

Photo of Christian Addie and Cynthia Bell

Christian Addie, at left, receives the Outstanding Bachelor Student of the Year award for Spring Valley and Glenwood Springs from Dr. Cynthia Bell at the Colorado Mountain College bachelor’s commencement held at Spring Valley May 5. Photo Ed Kosmicki

Although he spent much of his childhood in foster care, he graduates this year from Colorado Mountain College with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. This, despite the fact that according to a University of Chicago study, “only 6 percent of former foster children earn their associate or bachelor’s degree by age 24,” Addie said.

His story is one of hard times and happy endings. He bounced around from foster home to foster home, most often landing with the Addie family in Glenwood Springs. “They called me a yo-yo,” he said. Although Steve and his wife Hope had discussed adopting Christian prior to her untimely passing, the unanimous decision was made when Steve sat down with his daughter Angie and Christian, and asked them both if they’d like him to become a part of the family.

After graduation from Glenwood Springs High School, Christian Addie enrolled in Colorado Mountain College, entering the business administration program in 2014.

Finding a mentor

During those four years at CMC, he formed a close bond with his business professor, Dr. Cynthia Bell. He credits her with much of his success. “She has been an amazing mentor to me,” he said.

She in turn, applauds his strength of character. “He is one of the most resilient humans I’ve ever met,” Bell said. “He’s one of those people who excels. I don’t think he knows any other way.”

Business was a logical choice for him. “I knew I could get a job. I love the idea of working in business,” he said.

Addie chose CMC over a larger school because it offered an affordable degree program. One of his goals was to graduate from college without debt hanging over his head. And he did. Small class sizes and personal attention from teachers were also pluses, he said. Most importantly, he was able to form close relationships with his professors.

Real-world internship

During his four years at CMC, he worked at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, which awarded him a scholarship. He served an internship with the City of Glenwood Springs, where he conducted an analysis of the city’s landfill enterprise fund. Although it had been a robust fund for many years, it was losing money. Addie looked at the numbers, came up with a couple of recommendations and brought them to city council. Council liked some of the ideas and put them to use, he said.

“It was a really good experience to do an internship with a tangible result. It was awesome to be part of something that mattered,” he said.

Addie has laid out a clear path for himself. This fall, he will attend graduate school at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York City, one of the top-rated schools for finance in the country. He plans to take classes in the evening and work during the day.

He has his sights on a job at Morgan Stanley, the investment bank and financial services company headquartered in midtown Manhattan. He credits Bell for his choice. Bell, he said, attended Baruch College and worked for many years on Wall Street.

“She made me fall in love with New York and finance,” he said.