Hayden Booster Club starts scholarship in honor of Chad Jones
To remember Hayden’s former wrestling coach Chad Jones, who passed away in September 2018, the Hayden Booster Club created a scholarship in his name, which will be granted to a Hayden student who meets the requirements.
Not long after Jones died, the Hayden Booster Club started fundraising with the intent of starting a scholarship. Through the last two Hayden Galas and a few other means, the club collected funds, which the Yampa Valley Community Foundation now manages.
Traci Hiatt, donor engagement manager at the foundation, said not only does it hold the funds for the scholarship but also put together the application and manages all submissions.
“We can take donations to the scholarship fund here, and they will go directly into the fund,” Hiatt said. “People can donate through our website or by writing a check, and it will all go into that fund for the purpose of funding scholarships in Chad’s name.”
Seniors from Hayden have until April 6 to submit their applications. Requirements include being nominated by a coach and exemplifying self-improvement, a positive attitude, leadership, resilience and mental toughness.
Jones’ daughter, Piper Jo, a sophomore at Hayden High School, had a say in what some of the requirements for the scholarship would be. She said it originally was planned to be available to students in neighboring counties, but Piper Jo pushed for it to be available exclusively for Hayden students, or at least Routt County.
The original requirements also stated the applicant should be a leader in the community, but Piper Jo said high school students aren’t typically leaders in the community but can be within their school. She wanted the recipient to show characteristics that her father valued, like mental toughness.
Chad Jones is remembered on a daily basis by Hayden High School students.
Near the anniversary of his death, the Tigers volleyball team invited their opponents and fans to the floor for a Tiger pound out ahead of their match. Senior Hunter Planansky brought a picture of his late coach to every wrestling competition, and upon winning the state championship, knelt in front of a framed photo of Jones.
“Even my principal (Gina) Zabel, has a picture of my dad in her office. So any time there’s a kid in her office, they see a picture of my dad,” said Piper Jo. “There’s tons of kids with my dad as their (phone) wallpaper. All the Planansky boys have a picture of my dad in their wallet.”
When Piper Jo graduates, and all of Chad’s former wrestlers graduate, the scholarship bearing his name will stand as a way to remember him and the values he exhibited and instilled in others.
“I’m just hoping it goes to someone who really deserves it,” Piper Jo said.
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