Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Francesca Pavillard-Cain has a lot of goals with big-mountain skiing and skiercross.
The 17-year-old student at The Lowell Whiteman School wants to go back to the Big Mountain World Championships in Alaska and hopes to one day have a chance to make the Olympics in skiercross.
But as with any skiing aspirations, a big price tag is attached to those dreams.
That financial burden just got a little less for Pavillard-Cain and seven other winter athletes, thanks to Steamboat Springs' Over the Hill Gang - a collection of individuals age 50 or older who meet monthly for activities. The group has a scholarship committee and awarded eight $1,000 scholarships based on talent relevant to winter sports, determination, leadership, academics and financial need.
In addition to Pavillard-Cain, Ryan McConnell, Molly Newman, Lucy Newman, Chloe Banning, Michaela Frias, Mick Dierdorff and Aleck Gantick received scholarships.
"Anytime I've received a scholarship, it really helps with motivation," Pavillard-Cain said. "It's nice for people to recognize the efforts you've been putting in. Skiing is fun, and that's why I do it. But when people recognize you're working hard and give you a scholarship, it helps you move forward with competitions."
The 10-person Over the Hill Gang scholarship committee received 14 applications. Chairwoman Donna Howell said each individual person on the committee reviewed each application and awarded it a score. Each applicant's score was then averaged.
"We had a very difficult time narrowing it down to eight scholarships," Howell said. "Everybody brought their specific perspective to the process in terms of ranking these students with it. They were very thoughtful with it."
Money for the scholarships is raised from dues that members of the Over the Hill Gang pay. Since 1999, more than 75 athletes have received scholarships totaling more than $65,000. Recipients through the years have competed both nationally and internationally.
Although the awards traditionally have gone to winter athletes, Howell said members decided at least part of next year's money will go to help athletes or families of individuals in hospice care.
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