Longmont Community Foundation awards first Ascend St. Vrain scholarships

Marjorie Weibel, scholarship director for the Longmont Community Foundation, handed out the on Monday afternoon.

Ascend St. Vrain is a scholarship available to graduating seniors in the St. Vrain Valley School District who plan to attend college in Colorado. The scholarship is for low- and middle-income students and can be used to pay for vocational schooling or a two- or four-year institution.

Additionally, the scholarship valued drive and determination over perfect grades.

Weibel introduced the inaugural scholarship recipients by noting that foundation staff didn‘t plan on giving out Ascend St. Vrain scholarships in 2018, but the community raised the funds a year early.

“To be honest, I didn‘t think we‘d be at this point already,” Weibel said. “Last year was spent talking to many, many community members about the idea behind this new scholarship.”

In all, the foundation gave away $29,000 in Ascend St. Vrain scholarships over four years — two students received $1,000 per year for four years, two received $2,000 per year for four years and two received one-time awards of $2,500.

Silver Creek High School graduate Laura Booth was the first to receive her scholarship. Booth plans on getting her bachelor‘s of science degree in nursing from University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Eventually, she would like to earn her master‘s of science in nursing and specialize in mental health.

“Besides getting her high school degree from Silver Creek, Laura has also been taking afternoon classes at the Career Development Center and night classes at Front Range Community College in anatomy and physiology,” Weibel said. “On graduation day, she will have also earned a CNA degree in addition to the high school degree.”

Booth said that she was elated to receive the money for school.

“It‘s so good! It‘s such a relief because that‘s just less money to worry about,” she said.

Skyline High graduate Sabrina Bridwell also received an Ascend St. Vrain scholarship. Weibel said that Bridwell‘s determination to do well in difficult courses won her the award.

“‘Sabrina has struggled in a couple of her AP classes. While some of her classmates simply dropped the classes, she sought out additional help from the instructor,‘” Weibel read from Bridwell‘s recommendation letter.

Bridwell works 15 hours per week outside of school and takes a dental assisting class at the Career Development Center. She plans on attending Colorado State University at Pueblo for pre-dentistry.

Silver Creek graduate Itzel Mendoza was the third scholarship recipient. Mendoza also works 15 hours per week outside of school and volunteers through the National Honor Society, her church and as a group that mentors Silver Creek freshmen.

She will use the scholarship to attend the University of Colorado at Denver and will study to become a physical therapist.

Another scholarship recipient, Liliana Arredondo Morales, is the senior class president at Skyline High, volunteers as a translator in the community and attended the Business Leadership Program at the University of Colorado Boulder in the summer.

Morales plans to use her Ascend St. Vrain scholarship, plus a scholarship from Leeds School of Business, to double major in international business and relations and finance at CU‘s Boulder campus.

The sole Longmont High graduate in the inaugural group is Brandon Staple, who led the soccer team to three consecutive state playoff appearances. Staple volunteers and participated in summer programs at both Colorado School of Mines and a pre-STEM program at MIT.

Staple will attend an eight-year, pre-medical program at CU‘s Anschutz campus. He plans to become an orthopedic surgeon because he has seen his mother suffer from a degenerative bone disease.

Staple said that the fact that the money comes from the Longmont community makes the award extra special.

“This means a lot more because it comes from my hometown where I grew up and I know that they care about our future enough to invest in us,” he said.

The last scholarship recipient was Skyline graduate Julia Webb, who led the volleyball team, volunteers at multiple organizations around Longmont and works a part-time job.

She plans to use the scholarship to study neuroscience with a concentration in psychiatry at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Webb said she wants to help those with mental illnesses because she has seen such issues affect people in her life.