Local students semifinalists

Three teens compete for prestigious Boettcher Scholarship

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Three Routt County high school students have been named semifinalists for one of Colorado's most prestigious scholarships.

Steamboat Springs High School seniors Amanda Toy and Kelsey Patterson and Soroco High School senior Greg Block recently were notified that they are among 200 seniors from across the state who are semifinalists for the Boettcher Scholarship. The merit-based scholarship is available only to Colorado high school seniors and covers full tuition at all four-year, accredited Colorado universities and colleges. The scholarship also provides an annual living stipend of $2,800, a book allowance and the opportunity to pursue additional educational grants.

About 1,000 students typically apply for the scholarships each year; only 40 will be named Boettcher scholars. In its 51 years, the Boettcher scholars program has awarded $35 million in undergraduate scholarships.

The stringent requirements for scholarship consideration include ranking in the top 5 percent of the student's graduating class and scoring at least 27 on the ACT exam or 1200 on the SAT exam. However, simply meeting those requirements usually isn't enough to be named a Boettcher scholar. In recent years, Boettcher scholars averaged being in the top 2 percent of their graduating classes and scoring an average of 32 on the ACT and 1420 on the SAT.

The trustees of the Boettcher Foundation also consider a student's leadership and involvement, service to his or her community and school and character.

Steamboat Springs High School Principal Dave Schmid and Soroco High School Principal James Chamberlin said Toy, Patterson and Block meet all of the scholarship criteria.

"They're just great kids, great students and great people," Schmid said about Toy and Patterson.

A total of three Sailors have been named Boettcher scholars during Schmid's tenure at the school. He thinks Toy and Patterson will push that number to five.

"I'm really optimistic," Schmid said. "I think they have a great chance of getting the scholarship."

Chamberlin has worked with Block for the past six years, and the senior continues to impress him.

"He's a very well-rounded student," Chamberlin said. "We're very proud of a school our size having the honor of having a Boettcher semifinalist."

In addition to her academic success, Toy is a member of Steamboat's speech and debate team, National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America chapters and El Pomar Youth in Community Service club. She is editor of the school's Periscope newspaper, a varsity tennis player and vice president of the senior class.

Patterson is a member of the school's National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of American chapters, French Club, co-founder of the school's Gnosis literary journal, a peer tutor, a peer educator for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse and a mentor for a young Routt County child through Partners in Routt County.

"It's certainly a great honor," Patterson said. "The idea of not having to worry about how you're going to afford college and being able to focus just on school is exciting."

Block is president of his school's National Honor Society chapter and 11's Club, a member of Future Business Leaders of America, vice chairman of the South Routt School District's District Accountability Committee, a mentor with Partners in Routt County and an accomplished artist and musician.

Boettcher Foundation trustees will use letters of recommendation to narrow down the field of semifinalists from 200 to about 70. Those 70 students will travel to Denver for in-person interviews before the final 40 Boettcher scholars are named next year.

The Boettcher Scholarship was established in 1952 by Charles and Claude Boettcher to recognize and develop outstanding high school seniors who have the potential to make useful contributions to the people of Colorado.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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