Nike Cleverly wasn’t sure what to expect as she walked down a staircase Thursday morning at Moffat County High School.
As she approached the area outside the school’s second floor office, she could be heard repeating one phrase — “What is this?”
“My principal (Thom Schnellinger) totally tricked me into thinking I was in trouble for something,” Cleverly said. “I saw this and it didn’t connect why everybody was here and stuff.”
But, trouble wasn’t on the agenda for the three-sport senior student-athlete.
Members of both the MCHS staff and Cleverly’s family gathered to surprise her with good news — she had been offered a position on the Ambassador Team at Utah State University. The scholarship gives her four years of tuition at the school, estimated at $28,000.
Cleverly said she plans to major in landscape architecture, with a possible minor in graphic design.
She is one of 20 people selected for the team from 550 applicants. Only 115 were chosen for the interview process. Cleverly is the only ambassador chosen from Colorado, and one of five from outside Utah.
“I was kind of scared because it seemed like a lot of people were more qualified and I was just betting on my great personality,” Cleverly said. “It seemed slim because a lot of the friends I met there, they were just as great, so it wasn’t a done deal by any means.”
As a member of the team, she will be required to help with prospective students, give campus tours, host events, and work with the president’s office.
Cleverly said getting the position required a portfolio including a scrapbook and resume. There was also a rigorous interview process involved.
She wasn’t expecting to hear about the position until March, so Thursday’s news caught her off-guard.
“I didn’t know if I got it or not, so I was like, ‘Why are we celebrating right now? I don’t even know (if I got it,)’” she said.
Getting the position required plenty of work aside from the interview and portfolio.
Cleverly set a goal in middle school to achieve a 4.0 grade point average in high school. She said she’s taken tough classes at MCHS, which were made easier by having friends in similar courses.
She also said she’s used athletics as motivation.
“My mom made it very clear that if I didn’t get good grades, I couldn’t play sports,” Cleverly said. “I love sports way more than academics, so I did my best at it all so I could play sports.”
At MCHS, Cleverly competes in cross-country, golf and basketball. She isn’t planning on continuing her athletic career in college, however, instead choosing to focus on academics.
Schnellinger said Cleverly is an example of the payoff for students who take a rigorous curriculum. He cited her participation in advanced classes and pushing herself with a hard schedule.
“The results of that (work) are that opportunities open,” he said.
Cleverly said she’s thrilled to be part of the Utah State program.
“I’m flattered because I was really scared after I did my interview,” she said. “(I wondered), did I do it right, did I say the right things? That sort of stuff. For them to actually like what I said was amazing.”
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