Telluride Foundation: $135K in Scholarships in 2019

Telluride Foundation: $135K in Scholarships in 2019

The Telluride Foundation awards $135,000 in scholarships to regional high school graduates.

Most families are feeling the pinch of the soaring cost of college. The average in-state tuition and fees at public schools increased from $6,468 in the 2007-2008 academic year to $10,691 in 2017-2018, a 65 percent jump according to an annual U.S. News survey of 300 ranked national universities. In comparison, the average tuition and fees at a private university rose by 49 percent, and the average out-of-state tuition and fees climbed 55 percent during that same period.

Local scholarships in the Telluride region contribute a significant source of financial support for college-going students and help ease the financial burden.

This year, the Telluride Foundation awarded a total of $135,000 in scholarships to 23 high-achieving students from the five regional school districts that make up the Telluride Foundation’s service area.

Scholarships this year included four new Chang Chavkin Scholar awards totaling $60,000; $14,000 in Chang Chavkin Scholar finalist awards; a $20,000 Neil Armstrong Scholarship;  a $12,000 Neil Armstrong Merit Scholarship; two $2,000 Neil Armstrong Prize Awards; five $5,000 Strokes of Genius Scholarships; and five $1,000 Telluride Foundation Scholarships.

At the May 21st Ridgway senior awards ceremony, graduating senior Ty Kraft received the sixth annual $20,000 Neil Armstrong Scholarship. Kraft, the second Ridgway graduate to receive the award, was selected from a very competitive pool of applicants from the Telluride, Norwood, Ouray, Ridgway, and West End school districts. The scholarship committee based its decision on his outstanding academics, strong interest in science, dedication, perseverance, and financial need.

This year, the scholarship committee, which includes the late Neil Armstrong’s wife, Carol Armstrong, also awarded a Neil Armstrong Merit Scholarship for $12,000 to Telluride graduate Karla Carias Carracciole, as well as two Neil Armstrong “Prize” awards to recognize the high STEM academic achievement of two Telluride High School graduates, Wynton Brown and William Jansen.

The friends and family of Neil Armstrong created the Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund to honor the achievements and character of the late American hero and astronaut who died in 2012. The Neil Armstrong Scholarship is awarded each year to a regional high school student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

Now in its second year,The Chang Chavkin Scholars Program awarded four $60,000 scholarships. Two of the scholarship recipients were Ridgway seniors James Northey, who will attend Cornell University, and Johnathan Bruss, who will attend the University of Denver. The other two scholarship recipients were Telluride seniors Macy Desmarais, who will attend the University of Washington, and Mike Ambriz, who will attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition, seven seniors from four area highs schools received $2,000 Chang Chavkin Finalist Scholarships.

The Chang Chavkin Scholars Program is made possible by Telluride Foundation donors Laura Chang and Arnie Chavkin. The goal of the Program is to increase the success of rural, first-generation college students.

The Program selects scholars at the end of their junior year, supporting them through the college application process, during their high school senior year, and then until they graduate from college. They must be scholars who are high achieving, have the ability to develop supportive relationships, take advantage of opportunities that come their way, and persevere through challenges. The Program will expand next year to include the Montrose School District.

Now in its 25th year, the Strokes of Genius Scholarship has become a proud Telluride tradition, and this year, five scholarships were awarded at the Telluride awards ceremony for graduating senior. Strokes of Genius is the largest and longest running local scholarship available for Telluride’s graduating seniors, awarded to students who demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, exceptional character, community involvement, and leadership potential.

The 2019 Scholarship Committee was comprised of Lars Carlson and Kevin Holbrook, from the Strokes of Genius Committee; Sara Kimble, Principal of Telluride High School; Alex Jones, a THS faculty member; and Katie Singer with the Telluride Foundation. The committee received 15 applications and selected scholarship recipients based on several criteria, including applications, essays, personal interviews, and financial need.

The Strokes of Genius Fund was established originally as the Benchmark Fund by the Benchmark Partners, a generous group of individuals that included Ron & Joyce Allred, Forrest & Maria Faulconer, Nancy and Tom McNamara, Ock & Joanie Peterson and Jim & Sheila Wells, who identified the need for a college scholarship fund for Telluride High School students. Since its inception, Strokes of Genius has distributed over $395,000 in college scholarships to 99 Telluride graduates.

The 2019 recipients include: Marcos Mendoza ($4,000), attending Western State Colorado University; Jessica Pack ($4,000), attending Hope College; Maddie Regrut ($4,000), attending The University of Nevada, Reno; Caitlyn Regrut ($4,000) attending Colby-Sawyer College; Jackson Tharp ($4,000) attending CU Boulder.

The Telluride Foundation also provides $1,000 scholarships. Those recipients are selected by the school administration from each of the five regional school districts. Seniors receiving the Telluride Foundation scholarship include: Zoey Truelock (Norwood); Taryn Sickles (Nucla); Alec Bridges (Ouray); Emily Bernstein (Ridgway); and Quinn Beere (Telluride).

“The Foundation Board and its donors believe that one of the best investments we can make is in education,” said Paul Major, President & CEO of the Telluride Foundation. “We are thankful to our generous donors who believe in the importance of post-secondary education and in recognizing these local kids who are such a great reflection of our community and are the future of our country.”

The Telluride Foundation, more:

The Telluride Foundation is committed to enriching the quality of life of the residents, workforce, and visitors of the Telluride region. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that makes grants and runs programs in arts, education, health and human services, community development, and social enterprises. The Foundation strives to achieve excellence for the community through its mission and core values of inclusion, self-reliance, and innovation. Our work is funded through the generous support of hundreds of donors as well as grants from state and national foundations.

For more information on the Telluride Foundation visit

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