Four SLV grads among Boettcher scholars for 2024

DENVER — The Boettcher Foundation has announced the 2024 Class of Boettcher Scholars. Listed among the 50 outstanding graduating seniors from around the state are four students from the San Luis Valley, including Brock Benton (Alamosa High School), Jaymi Gile (Alamosa High School), Gus Miller (Monte Vista High School) and Kaia Skadberg (Centauri).

The Boettcher Scholarship is considered to be one of the most prestigious scholarships offered in the state of Colorado, not only recognizing the most remarkable students but also in providing full tuition and expenses for four years of college at the Colorado college or university of their choice.

As part of the announcement, scholars offered some information about themselves.

When asked about his accomplishments, Benton (AHS) said, “My proudest achievement is creating an entire student-supported mental health team within my school.” Benton will be attending the University of Colorado.

Gile (AHS) stated, “My favorite Colorado experience is camping outdoors with my family and becoming a Junior Ranger at the Great Sand Dunes, my second home.” Gile is also attending the University of Colorado.

In speaking of his accomplishments, Miller (MVHS) said, “My proudest achievement is having learned the ability to lose and be unsuccessful graciously and celebrate even the smallest of accomplishments and continue on." Miller plans on attending Colorado State University.

Skadberg (Centauri), who will be attending the Colorado School Mines, said, “During my undergraduate career, I plan to acquire a degree in engineering and learn not only how to work but how to live.”

As described by Curtis L. Esquibel, Senior Director of Communications and Community Engagement with the Boettcher Foundation, the Boettcher Scholarship Program has been in place since 1952, aiming to retain Colorado’s inspiring high school graduates within the state for their college education. More than 1,900 students applied for the scholarship this year.

Scholars are selected based on academics, service, leadership, and character. In addition to receiving an $80,000 scholarship award across four years, Scholars can also receive institutional, merit, and/or need-based aid from their respective campuses. The Boettcher Scholarship is more than just financial assistance; it includes a comprehensive program and support system designed to help Scholars maximize their academic and leadership capabilities.

The Boettcher Scholar community is a robust network of over 2,800 leaders who have made significant contributions in various fields such as business, government, nonprofits, and education.

This year’s cohort of 50 Scholars includes the following:

  • A stuttering awareness advocate who spreads information and insight on stuttering to her 230,000 followers on TikTok.
  • A student who works full-time, takes care of younger siblings before and after school, and still maintains the highest GPA in her school’s 20-year history.
  • A student that lives off the grid, commuting 90 minutes to school every day and relying on solar energy to power her life.
  • The year-round manager of a local nonprofit bike repair shop, overseeing a team of 10 peers.
  • A “Positive Peer” presiding on her city’s Municipal Teen Court, focused on issuing judgments rooted in compassion that have the greatest potential for positive change in the respondents.
  • A proud, self-proclaimed “nerd” with a mission to destigmatize STEM education by making it more accessible and appealing to younger generations.
  • A scientist, so passionate about science that she conducted her own, self-designed research on algae at home throughout high school.
  • A 4th generation farmer who is committed to returning to the family farm after college.

“As we welcome the newest cohort of Boettcher Scholars, we’re thrilled to highlight their remarkable talents and passions. These dynamic thinkers and leaders bring a diverse array of skills and interests to our community,” said Vanessa Roman, director of scholarships & foundation programs. From self-taught knitters and private pilots to vocal soloists and innovative entrepreneurs, their commitment to leadership and service has already enriched communities across the state.”