Craig Kiwanis Club pools $15K in scholarship funds for Moffat County students |

Craig Kiwanis Club pools $15K in scholarship funds for Moffat County students

Andy Bockelman
For the Craig Press
The Craig Kiwanis Club provided more than $15,000 in scholarship funds this week to Moffat County High School students. Andy Bockelman / for the Craig Press

Despite a year of many changes locally and nationally, Craig Kiwanis Club went the distance to fulfill its mission of supporting area students.

And, that’s even without the group’s biggest fundraiser.

The local branch of the service organization provided more than $15,000 in scholarship funds this week to Moffat County High School students.

Kiwanis’s usual big draw for money is ticket sales for its annual March play, a satire of current events. However, this year the show could not go on due to concerns about a public gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Even so, the cash flow didn’t just stop as the group were able to draw community donations nonetheless.

“We reached out to members and people who bought tables in the past, and we were still able to bring about what we usually do with the play,” said Mike Anson, head of the Kiwanis scholarship committee.

Anson noted that the lack of a play also meant fewer expenses, so that was a little extra for the pot.

As part of the application process, students are encouraged to break down costs like tuition and room and board wherever possible to let Kiwanis reviewers determine the level of need along with grades and other scholarships they’re already getting.

“They also have to give us a small essay about what they plan to do with that degree once they graduate,” Anson said.

Kiwanis members presented oversized checks to the recipients Wednesday night during a barbecue at Loudy-Simpson Park.

Recipients of the general scholarship included Caleb Frink, Joey Gates, Lauren Hilley, Jayden Mack, Alyssa Rodriguez, and Tate Severson.

Though most of their classmates will be staying within Colorado or nearby, twins Alexei and Cristiann Reyes will be going well out of state, with Alexei heading north to Montana State University and Cristiann Reyes south to Prescott, Arizona and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Though her sister was unable to attend the presentation, Cristiann told the crowd in attendance Alexei plans to study nutrition and biomedicine, whereas she has a goal of becoming a pilot.

“I want to travel international for free, so I thought that would be the best way,” Cristiann laughed.

Besides the general scholarship from the group — which ranges from increments of $500 to $1,000 — the presentation included multiple $1,200 checks through MCHS Key Club.

Key Club funds went to Alexa Neton, Kelsey McDiffett, Haylee Ludgate and Ellina Jones.

Besides being part of Key Club, Jones was also a state-competitor swimmer and part of Dog Pack, a student orientation program.

She plans to pursue a career in criminal justice at Colorado Mesa University this fall.

“I want to go into crime scene investigation, so I’ll also have a minor in forensic science,” Jones said. “I took the Intro to Criminal Justice class at the high school, that’s what I thought was really interesting. I really like learning about the criminal psychology.”

A $2,000 amount came from both Kiwanis and Yampa Valley Bank in the form of the Sarah Fleming Memorial Scholarship, which went to Amber Salazar, who will be upholding Fleming’s love of rodeo as she competes in the sport at Central Wyoming College while also studying agricultural business.

Moffat County High School Class of 2021 Kiwanis Club scholarship recipients

Kiwanis General Scholarship

Caleb Frink — $500; Colorado School of Mines, Mechanical Engineering

Joey Gates — $700; University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Biology

Lauren Hilley — $1,000; Colorado School of Mines, Economics

Jayden Mack — $500; Colorado Northwestern Community College, Nursing

Emaleigh Papierski — $500; University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Nursing

Alexei Reyes — $1,000; Montana State University, Human Nutrition/Biomedicine

Cristiann Reyes — $1,000; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Aeronautical Science/Air Traffic Control

Alyssa Rodriguez — $1,000; University of Northern Colorado, Chemistry

Tate Severson — $1,000; Colorado State University, Biology

Key Club Scholarship

Ellina Jones — $1,200; Colorado Mesa University, Criminal Justice/Forensic Science

Haylee Ludgate — $1,200; University of Northern Colorado, Nursing

Kelsey McDiffett — $1,200; University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Nursing

Alexa Neton — $1,200; Regis University, Psychology

Sarah Fleming Memorial Kiwanis/Yampa Valley Bank Scholarship

Amber Salazar — $2,000; Central Wyoming College, Agricultural Business

Kiwanis organizers also presented a special award for MCHS alumnus Aliceson Jones, who was unable to attend the barbecue. Jones received scholarship money from the club in 2019 but applied to receive additional financial aid as part of Circle K International, the Kiwanis collegiate service group, garnering $1,500 for her studies at University of Northern Colorado.

“She stayed actively involved in a lot of activities on campus and she really stuck with what we as a community service group really strive for, so we thought we would reward her for that,” Anson said.

Kiwanis chapter president Kevin Peck commended students as well as the people who helped make the scholarships possible in an unusual year.

“We’re really fortunate that our community supported us this year,” he said. “That’s what Craig is all about — when people are in need, they stand up.”

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