This year’s Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship program is helping 11 students from Western Slope high schools attend Colorado Mountain College. Alpine Bank has been awarding scholarships to qualified students since the program began in 1996 and, to date, has financed more than 170 scholarships. ENews has been running a series of profiles on these hopeful, hardworking students. Today’s profile features two recipients from Garfield County.
Magdalena Hermosillo-Velez from Rifle High School and Alex Jaquez-Caro from Coal Ridge High School are among the 11 students who received the 2014 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship to attend CMC. With them are (left to right) Karrie Fletcher, vice president for Alpine Bank in Rifle; Hermosillo-Velez; Jaquez-Caro; and Angela Meraz, senior vice president and branch manager of Alpine Bank in New Castle. Photo Charles Engelbert
Two graduating seniors from west Garfield County were recently named as Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholars: Magdalena Hermosillo-Velez from Rifle High School and Alejandro “Alex” Jaquez-Caro from Coal Ridge High School.
To be considered for these specialized scholastic awards, students must be of Latino/Hispanic descent, classify as an in-district student, have at least a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need, among other criteria. Each scholarship – which equals $2,200 a year – helps to cover the cost of tuition, fees and books for two years.
Rifle grad wants to become self-sufficient, set good example
Magdalena Hermosillo-Velez received the 2014 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship for Rifle High School. This year the scholarship covers two years of tuition, fees and books for 11 students to attend any Colorado Mountain College campus. Photo Charles Engelbert
Magdalena Hermosillo-Velez gave birth to her son, Ryan, during her junior year in high school. “When I was a new mom, I was really confused,” she said. She believed she would never amount to anything, and it was hard for her to think her life would change.
Fortunately, her family and high school advisor rallied around her. Her sister watched the baby while Hermosillo-Velez attended high school. Her mother encouraged her to continue her education, and Kathy Terry, the Rifle High School registrar, urged her to complete the scholarship applications that could help put a college degree within reach.
Earning an Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship was a “life-changer,” said Hermosillo-Velez. “Getting a scholarship made it possible for me to go to college, and to create a better future for me and my son.”
Hermosillo-Velez plans to pursue a degree in accounting and hopes to become a positive role model for her younger brother and her now 1-year-old son.
“I like the fact that CMC is close to home,” she said, “so I can be near family. It’s a quality education, and it offers what I need right here.”
Coal Ridge High School student has been working toward college since 8th grade
Alex Jaquez-Caro received the 2014 Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship for Coal Ridge High School. This year the scholarship covers two years of tuition, fees and books for 11 students to attend any Colorado Mountain College campus. Photo Charles Engelbert
Starting in junior high, Alex Jaquez-Caro, now a recent Coal Ridge High School graduate, began signing up for every advanced math class he could take. “Even though I have not entered college yet, I have begun to prepare for college early,” he wrote in his scholarship application essay.
He also completed two Advanced Placement courses and several CMC concurrent enrollment classes during his high school years – all while volunteering at the library as a student assistant. Each week he helped teach a different subject to elementary-aged students and particularly enjoyed setting up and demonstrating science experiments.
“He is a strong problem solver and is able to handle detail work,” said his math instructor, Valerie Friedly, in her recommendation letter. “He has shown this ability with his physics projects, which he has shared with me on a few occasions. He has the same attention to detail in all his classes.”
Jaquez-Caro is particularly eager for his 10-year-old brother to follow in his footsteps to college. “I’d like for him to know it’s possible,” he said, “and to set a model for him to follow.”
He plans to study mechanical engineering and hopes to work in the petroleum industry. “I thought my skills in math could help make an impact there,” he said.
This year’s other scholarship recipients and their respective high schools are Katia Reyes-Castillo, Glenwood Springs High School; Elide Andrade, Roaring Fork High School; Andy Sandoval, Eagle Valley High School; Thelma Juarez, Battle Mountain High School; Pedro Gallegos, Red Canyon High School; Cinthia Valderrama, Summit High School; Celeste Portillo, Steamboat Springs High School; Joeli Villa Cedeno, Aspen High School; and Wilber Marquez, Basalt High School.