Monger receives Rocking A Scholarship

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— Remember the name Kyle Monger, Hayden. He grew up here and in the fall he will leave for the theater department of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Who knows where he will go from there.

When Monger makes his debut in Hollywood, Hayden can take some credit.

His freshman year will be partially paid for by a new Hayden-based art scholarship the Rocking A Scholarship for the visual and performing arts.

"Kyle is a great role model for future recipients," scholarship founder and fund-raiser Lana McFadden said. "He's perfectly well-balanced. Not only is he pretty involved in theater, but he is also a visual artist (a potter) and a hockey player."

Monger auditioned for the scholarship in front of a panel of four judges at the Hayden Library.

"Kyle was very prepared and very creative in his approach," McFadden said.

For the audition, Monger recited a monologue he had memorized a couple of years earlier to recite as a joke over the school intercom.

His goal then and for the future was simply to make people laugh. He hopes to eventually get into television, maybe a sitcom.

"My parents always said that acting is what I should do," Monger said. "Acting as a career seems like the best job in the world."

Monger acted in the school play each of his four years of high school. The school, he said, was very supportive of creativity.

The problem, he thought, was that so few students took advantage of the program.

Monger is the first recipient of the scholarship, and if all goes according to plan, McFadden said, he will not be the last.

"I see so many kids who are creative and don't have an outlet," McFadden said. "It's unfortunate that budgets sometimes rule and schools can't always provide what you think is essential.

"For me, that's art and music."

When McFadden started publicly speaking out for more art in Hayden schools, "there was this body of people who came out to say that they had a daughter or a son who were interested in the arts and needed help going forward," she said.

McFadden headed up the group with a plan to start a scholarship and a $1,000 goal.

They held a craft bazaar with work from valley artisans and art from the Front Range. They held a raffle at the high school with work donated by local artists and sold a decorated tree at the Tree Festival. The fund-raising added up, the goal was met and Monger is going to college.

One provision of the scholarship is that each recipient will also become a part-owner in the scholarship foundation as a member of the board. He or she will help direct the future of the fund as "insiders."

"We want them to tell us how we can be more of a catalyst in these students' lives," McFadden said.

"I think it's a pretty cool thing," Monger said. "Quite an honor."

The group gave the entire $1,000 raised to Monger.

Now the coffers are empty.

"We're at ground zero again," McFadden said. "At this point, we really hope for guidance from other foundations who have been giving scholarships for years."

McFadden has another season of fund-raising ahead of her, but she thinks the work will all be worth it.

"If I can influence one student from falling through the cracks, that's reward enough."

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