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David Avila

CMC graduate David Avila received from the Spring Valley campus both the David Allen Outstanding Student award and the Outstanding Associate Degree Student award. Photo Otilio Avila

David Allen Outstanding Student awardee Avila earns accounting degree

David Avila began attending Colorado Mountain College after graduating from Aspen High School in 2016. At the start of his college career, he earned an Alpine Bank Latino/Hispanic Scholarship awarded to determined, motivated students. And now this May, he’s graduated with two additional recognitions: CMC Spring Valley’s 2020 David Allen Outstanding Student award and Outstanding Associate Degree Student award.

David Avila and Kristen Cameron

David Avila was surprised at home the day before the virtual commencement ceremony when Kearstin Cameron, TRIO Success Center coordinator, showed up to give him the David Allen Outstanding Student award. He was wearing his cap and gown because his parents had told him to dress up for a video call with his grandmother.

Avila graduated in a virtual commencement ceremony May 15 with an Associate of Applied Science in accounting and bookkeeping.

“David is an extremely extraordinary student,” Heather Exby, CMC vice president and campus dean at Spring Valley and Glenwood Springs, said in her commencement speech. She noted that one faculty member said in his 11 years of teaching he had “yet to meet a more kind, dedicated, devoted and ethical student” than Avila.

The afternoon before the ceremony, the Aspen resident was surprised by being given the David Allen Outstanding Student award, which honors the late David Allen. After sustaining debilitating injuries in a car accident, Allen attended CMC Spring Valley and, despite severe obstacles, graduated with an associate degree in 1991.

The David Allen award is given annually to a graduating Spring Valley student who has overcome challenges in order to complete college.

First in the family

The Avila family

David Avila and his parents Norma and Otilio Avila. Photo Kearstin Cameron

 Avila is the first in his family to graduate from college. The Spring Valley student’s strong academic performance and perseverance helped him complete his degree.

“With the support of CMC and the CMC Foundation’s generous donors, I have received scholarships and thrived as a learner,” he said.

Immersed in some of Avila’s favorite classes – including College Algebra, Business Statistics and Accounting Principles II – he’s earned his degree “with honors and without debt,” he said.

“CMC has had a great effect on my life, personally and academically,” said Avila. “Over the past four years, I have had the pleasure and privilege to meet so many friendly faculty, tutors and counselors who care about me and my success.”