Craig Kiwanis Club provides big funding to college-bound Moffat County seniors

Craig Kiwanis Club members and scholarship recipients hold high the checks collectively worth $16,000 provided for college-bound students Wednesday, May 10 at Moffat County Fairgrounds.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

With a long history of providing educational funding for area students, this year was no different for the Kiwanis Club of Craig.

The local service organization handed out a combined $16,000 Wednesday night for seniors from Moffat County High School. The Kiwanis have provided more than $120,000 to date over the years for students attending college or vocational training.

The club collects funding through the Kiwanis Play and Yahoo Golf Tournament from community donations. Club members handed out the sizable checks — literally — during a barbecue at Moffat County Fairgrounds.

“This is one of the best classes we’ve had ever and one of the best clubs we’ve had ever,” Kiwanis President Jim Hershberg said.

Taking home the biggest money was Alexis Jones with $3,000 as part of the Key Club Scholarship, which is a joint effort between Kiwanis and the student group.

Jones is the president of the Moffat County Key Club branch, and she will study nursing at Montana State University, specializing in pediatrics.

“We had some great applications and a lot of great kids,” scholarship committee member Mike Anson said. “Key Club has really stepped up the last couple years and had a lot of good officers this year.”

Fellow seniors Sadie Smilanich and Aftyn Kawcak also received Key Club funding to the tune of $2,000 each. Smilanich will pursue a degree in radiology at Colorado Mesa University, while Kawcak will attend Oklahama State University’s agriculture program.

Earning $1,000 apiece from the Class of 2023 were Catcher Jackson, Carter Green, Easton Eckroth, Reagan Hafey and Maddy Hume.

While Jackson will go to Mesa for civil engineering, Hume and Eckroth are both off to the University of Wyoming — Hume for veterinary medicine and Eckroth for agricultural business.

Green said he will use his scholarship either for vocational training through WyoTech or to attend Laramie County Community College.  

Hafey, who was unable to attend the ceremony, will matriculate at Chadron State College this fall, studying human biology and psychology.

Kiwanis members also provided $1,000 each for two MoCo grads and former scholarship winners who are current college students — Allison Villard and Alex Nichols, whose families accepted their checks on their behalf.

Villard, a 2020 MoCo grad, attends Colorado State University with plans for a career in forestry with the U.S. Forest Service. Nichols graduated last year from MCHS and is pursuing mechanical engineering at the University of Wyoming.

Grace Baker received the Sarah Fleming Scholarship, part of funding between Yampa Valley Bank, the Fleming family and Kiwanis to memorialize the late MoCo graduate and rodeo star.

The bank offers $1,500 and Kiwanis $500.

Baker, who also achieved her associate’s degree earlier this month from Colorado Northwestern Community College, will attend Montana State University’s nursing program alongside Jones.

She and her fellow recipients were more than pleased with the amount of funding they were getting toward college aspirations.

“I think they had more money to give out this year, and we’re definitely all thankful for that,” Baker said.

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