Telluride Grads Receive Scholarships From Strokes Of Genius

[click “Play” to listen to Susan’s converesation with Charlotte and Xanthe]

Charlotte & Xanthe Thanks to the Strokes of Genius (formerly Benchmark) Fund, managed by the Telluride Foundation, college tuition became a bit more affordable for recent graduates of the Class of 2011. Now in its 18th year, the Strokes of Genius Scholarship is a proud Telluride tradition, the largest and longest running local scholarship program available to seniors, enabling Telluride students with financial need, academic merit, community involvement, and exceptional character to pursue higher education.  

When terrorists took down the Twin Towers, the Telluride High School Class of 2011 were children. America lost its innocence. But these local kids did not lose heart. And the heart, not the brain,is the primary source of all knowledge, explained keynote commencement speaker, director Tom Shadyac, at Friday’s graduation.

And since 9/11, our country has been at war in the Mideast. The global economy took a nose dive. Freak storms and food shortages are the result of climate change, now past the tipping point. Still, the six students awarded the Strokes of Genius funds remain tenaciously optimistic: their glasses are always half full. 

Xanthe Demas, attending Bowdoin College; Kelsey Holstrom, attending Evergreen College; Devin McCarthy, attending Columbia College; Celine Wright, attending Colorado College; Charlotte Delpit, attending Brown University; and Nina Gerona, attending Wesleyan College are destined to become the change we need. They are on track to follow Shadyac’s suggestion: change the world by changing their minds. They will not become us. Their life choices will be different and better.

“There were many talented and bright individuals amongst this group of graduates,” said Lars Carlson, Strokes of Genius Scholarship Committee member. “They are a great reflection of the community and we are excited to support them as they start the next chapter in their lives. This year the committee focused on a commitment to graduating from college and we know this group will accomplish great things.”

Any one of the six young woman make the point about making one’s own good luck: on a foundation of academic excellence, their resumes are salt-and-peppered with achievements in sports, philanthropy and the performing arts. We selected the two we know best personally, Xanthe Demas and Charlotte Delpit, to talk about, how, despite continents of contemporary worries left unexplored, they plan to march forward, head up, into the big bad world – with a little help from their friends such as Strokes of Genius.

At graduation, Telluride high school principal Alex Carter described Charlotte as a person of “great worldliness and global mindedness cultivated in a remote mountain canyon.”

“Innately, I just am the kind of person who wants to learn more,” explained Charlotte. “I want to know how things work or why they are that way.  By participating in the multitude of activities offered in this town, I have been able to satisfy many of my “itches” to just know.  There is so much that is incomprehensible in this life, so I find it reassuring when I find something that I can understand and or ponder further about. All in all, reaching out to take part in these various events has molded me into someone even more curious than before, has broadened my view of the world, and simply put, has deepened my passion for life.”

Carter summed up Xanthe in a single phrase: “She is the quintessential Telluride girl.” Xanthe spent her high school career reveling in a mind-boggling schedule that included figuring out an AP calculus problem, meeting to sort out the details of the prom or yearbook, and then dashing off to catch Lift 7 for a run in the powder.

Click the play button to learn more about these two remarkable young woman. And feel really good about your largesse.

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