Steamboat Springs High School teen wins sought-after scholarship |

Steamboat Springs High School teen wins sought-after scholarship

Nicolas Hessenberger 1 of 267 Rocky Mountain West students to get Daniels Fund

Jack Weinstein

Steamboat Springs High School senior Nicolas Hessenberger was awarded a Daniels Fund scholarship.

— Those who know Steamboat Springs High School senior Nicolas Hessenberger say he has a big heart. It's one of the reasons he's involved in so many things that require him to volunteer his time. And it's at least part of the reason he was awarded a Daniels Fund scholarship.

Hessenberger, who goes by Nico, was one of 267 high school seniors from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to be awarded a Daniels Fund scholarship this year. The recipients were announced Monday.

"It's not always based on No. 1 in a class," Steamboat Springs High School career and college counselor Danica Moss said. "It's based on heart, a willingness to give back, to help other kids — and that's Nico for sure."

The coveted scholarship supplements a student's other financial resources for attending any two- or four-year school. The scholarship provides the remaining cost of schooling after other financial aid programs and an expected family contribution have been applied.

According to a news release, the Daniels Fund choses students who demonstrate strong character, leadership and a commitment to community service. The scholarships are named after Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer who passed away in 2000.

Hessenberger, of Clark, is a one-to-one youth mentor with Partners in Routt County, participates in the high school's Rotary Interact Club, is a member of the Humanitarian, Edu­cation, and Leadership Projects in Rural Zambia group that will work with a school this summer in Africa, is the varsity football team manager and is an aide for the counseling department.

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He also is in the high school's leadership class, is a member of National Honor Society, works part-time at Ace at the Curve and raises pigs for Routt County 4-H.

Emily Dennis, Partners in Routt County's one-to-one mentoring program case manager, nominated Hessenberger for the scholarship. She said that in addition to being charming, likable and personable, he's positive and mature. She said Hessenberger works so hard to be a part of the life of his junior partner, a sixth-grader who he has mentored for two years.

Dennis said Hessenberger is the type of person Partners is looking for to pair with youths.

"It's really refreshing to see those things come from an 18-year-old," she said.

Hessenberger said he was overjoyed when he found out Saturday that the Daniels Fund would give him a scholarship. He said it was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.

Hessenberger said it will help him pay for the $34,000 annual cost to attend California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where he wants to study mechanical engineering.

"It's basically a giant weight off my shoulders not paying for college for the next four years," he said. "I'm going to an out-of-state school, so it's going to be expensive. It's unbelievable that I don't have to worry about money, for school anyway."

Moss said Hessenberger was so excited after a recent trip to visit Cal Poly with his father. She said he talked about the quality of the engineering program, how great the school was and how it would be a great fit for him.

"It's exciting to see a kid's dream come to fruition," Moss said, "and he deserves it."

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email

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