Yampa Valley Community Foundation unveils 4 new scholarships
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As Tanner Ripley unpacked his bags inside his dorm room at the University of Wyoming, he thought back to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s virtual scholarship announcement in 2020 where he was declared the winner of 10 local scholarships.
“Hearing my name called each time was like ‘oh my gosh, that’s a lot of money,’” Ripley said. “They’ve really helped me in trying to pursue what I really want to do and figuring out what’s next in my future.”
The foundation gives out several scholarships each year to incoming college and trade school students from Routt and Moffat counties and has unveiled four new scholarships for 2021.
The Frank Levkulich Scholarship will be awarded to a Moffat County High School graduating senior who demonstrates financial need and is pursuing a trade school education.
Two scholarships in memory of Romaine Robson-Hamilton will support a graduating senior — one from Steamboat Springs High School and one from Hayden High School — pursuing an education that would lead to a career in music.
And the new Partners Youth Scholarship is for students who have participated in the Partners in Routt County program and are graduating from a Routt County high school or receiving their GED.
Michelle Petix, executive director of Partners in Routt County, said many kids who participate in the organization’s mentoring program go on to become first-generation college students and often need financial assistance to attend college or a trade school.
“So much of what we do with mentoring is planting seeds and exposing kids to opportunities they might not otherwise have,” Petix said. “This is us using our reserves to launch this in a time where we think kids need to see that forward-looking belief.”
Jenny Campbell, scholarship program manager with the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, said the groups are currently rewriting how much each scholarship is worth, though Petix said Partners has a total of $5,000 to award and the amount delegated to each student will depend on how many apply.
Petix said the goal of the scholarship moving forward is to help younger mentees in the program see college as an accessible opportunity for themselves.
“The beauty of mentoring is investing in a kid so that they invest in themselves,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s knowing that there’s opportunities for them if it’s something they want to pursue.”
Campbell said the scholarship donors have tried to be more inclusive of students attending trade schools over traditional universities, as that is the case for many students in more rural parts of the Yampa Valley, she said.
“Education opens the door for skills that translate into economic self-sufficiency and that can be defined really broadly,” she said. “Someone pursuing a higher-level graduate degree or someone who will do a trade are both equally important.”
Kaitlyn Marchbanks, head of the Kenny Corriveau Trade Scholarship, said her family’s scholarship, created in honor of her late brother, is specifically for trade school students, as Kenny was a passionate mechanic and welder.
“With Kenny being really into mechanics and welding, it’s an opportunity to help kids who otherwise wouldn’t be getting any help,” she said. “There are not very many scholarship opportunities for kids going into the trades.”
Brett Shaw, who started the Live Like Sancy Memorial Scholarship in honor of his late wife, said their scholarship, which is awarded to student athletes from Steamboat Springs High School, honors what he believes his late wife, Sancy, would want: students passionate about pursuing athletics and mentoring other students, as older recipients are required to mentor their younger counterparts.
“We wanted students that had a high level of integrity, that showed they worked hard at school and were student athletes that loved the outdoors,” Shaw said. “This was a way that we felt we could not only keep her memory alive but keep her involved in the community.”
Campbell said the main purpose of the foundation’s various scholarships is to open doors for students who may not otherwise have opportunities for higher education.
“We feel that higher education costs being so high, this is a super valuable service to the community to help launch youth and young adults and kind of set them up for success in life,” she said.
Students interested in applying for scholarships may do so at yvcf.org/scholarships/find-a-scholarship.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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