Ray Beck: Accepting the challenge | CraigDailyPress.com

Ray Beck: Accepting the challenge

It was Dec. 23 when I poured my usual morning cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table to read the Craig Daily Press.

After reading some of the main stories for that day, I managed to look at the editorial, which for me is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you're going to get.

As I read the editorial that morning, I actually had flashbacks of growing up.

Upon graduating from high school in 1968 in Steamboat Springs, I was given an opportunity to attend three different colleges on a wrestling scholarship. Two of them were out of state, while one was at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely.

After some soul searching and guidance from my parents, I decided to take the CNCC scholarship and pursue a higher education.

I graduated in the spring of 1970 from CNCC and got married the following summer.

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Reality set in quick.

I worked in construction, first as a carpenter's helper, and later I became an equipment operator. Back then, both of these jobs were as good as any for the area but were very dependent upon the weather and the four seasons.

After struggling for a couple of years, it dawned on me that if I was going to be married and raise a family, I needed a 40-hour a week job with benefits.

Fortunately for me, I was hired on at Yampa Valley Electric as a meter reader in 1972. This job was a blessing, and it provided me with many opportunities throuhgout the years.

I took advantage of as many as I could, moving up the ladder of success with hard work, commitment and dedication.

However, with only two years of college, I came to realize that if only I would have continued on and earned that degree, where could of I gone?

That always has bothered me. Because of my lack of education, it certainly limited me from moving up the corporate ladder or opening other doors in the electrical field.

That morning, as I read the editorial, it made me think about what those on the Editorial Board were trying to say about our young adults.

Getting a good paying job right out of high school and having no higher education to fall back on in case that high paying job didn't pan out for some reason is risky.

It made me think back when I was younger and the opportunities missed because of the degree I chose not to seek.

It also made me think of my daughter, Robyn, who is 35.

It was at the same time this editorial was written that she expressed to me her desire to seek a degree.

She also mentioned that she has been overlooked because of a lack of higher education, although she has been very successful up to this point. I support her decision to go back to school part time, maintain her job as a Realtor and go after that degree she wished she would have obtained many years ago.

After reading that article and thinking about it for more than a week, I made a call to Daily Press publisher Bryce Jacobson and told him I was going to accept his challenge. I wanted to create a Citizens Academic Scholarship.

This scholarship would be to our local CNCC and for any graduating senior who has graduated within the past three years from Moffat County High School.

He or she would have to be a resident of one of the three counties within our local region, a citizen of the United States and in good standing within the community.

Bryce and I have teamed up to offer this scholarship to any deserving graduate seeking higher education because we feel it's the right thing to do. It's an opportunity to enable deserving young adults a chance to seek more education in their own community. We plan to offer three scholarships at a minimum of $500 dollars each, which will take care of registration and books.

The Citizens Academic Scholarship is our way of supporting you, the local college, the community and investing time and money in your future.

We believe that continued education is one of the most important decisions you will ever make as you move forward in life. We expect you to take this scholarship seriously, make the commitment, stay the course and obtain your educational goals.

Applying for this higher educational scholarship is a testament to your character.

You may pick up an application at the Daily Press, 466 Yampa Ave., or at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane.

If you are interested in donating to this worthwhile endeavor, or are interested in making an investment in a young adult, you can go to Yampa Valley National Bank and ask about the Citizens Academic Scholarship Fund.

You may also call Bryce at the Daily Press at 875-1788, or me at 824-4994 for more information, or to donate.

The number of scholarships awarded could increase depending on the level of funding we receive from the community.

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