ActivePaper Archive THS seniors named scholarship winners - The Chronicle News, 5/17/2018

THS seniors named scholarship winners


Photo by Steve Block / The Chronicle-News These five Trinidad High School seniors, as seen in this photo take on Monday, May 14, have all been awarded significant amounts of college scholarship funding. They include, (L-R) Kaylee Gegelman, Florencio Guzman Diaz, Carlee Garrison, Wyatt Wiening and Adrianna Santillanes. English teacher and counselor Louis Rino is on the right.


Photos by Steve Block / The Chronicle-News Trinidad High School Principal Chuck Smithey talked in a Monday, May 14 interview about how proud he was of the nine scholarship award winners the school has had this year. More scholarships are expected to be announced in the near future. These four Trinidad High School seniors each won $500 college scholarships from the Confederacion Mutualista Mexicana y Hispana Americana, also known locally as La Casa as seen in this photo taken on Monday, May 14. From left to right, they include Jacquelyn Rae Hernandez, Mariah Leeigh Casias, Frida Suzzette Ochoa Lopez and Brandileigh Destiny Bowman.


Meeting the costs of upcoming college expenses can be a serious challenge for high school seniors and their families, but nine Trinidad High School seniors are among those who will get some financial help through various scholarship programs. The students, their advisors and High School Principal Chuck Smithey talked about the importance of students earning scholarships in a Monday, May 14 series of interviews.  

Florencio Guzman Diaz and Wyatt Wiening were both awarded Mary John Goree Las Animas County Scholarships this year. These are four-year scholarships that cover the costs of academic and living expenses.  

Guzman Diaz will attend Colorado State University (CSU) at Fort Collins, where he will study Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering. With total expenses averaging $27,000 per year, that means the scholarship is worth $108,000 over four years.  

“It’s kind of daunting at first, because the school’s student population is bigger than Trinidad’s, but I think all of us can adjust pretty quickly,” Guzman Diaz said.   

Wiening will attend the South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City S.D., where he’ll study Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics, and based on total expenses at that school, he estimated the value of his scholarship at $80,000 over four years.  

“It’s a unique opportunity, for sure,” Wiening said. “I’m really looking forward to it. The way it works is they will pay cost of attendance and room and board. So depending on what school you attend determines the value of the scholarship. For the school I plan to attend, that’s going to amount to approximately $80,000 over all four years.”

These highly competitive scholarships are available only to high school seniors in Las Animas County, according to high school teacher and counselor Louis Rino.  

“The Mary John Goree scholarship is for a term of up to five years,” Rino said. “So in dollar value these two have, potentially, $500,000 in scholarship money.”  

Other scholarship funding available to Trinidad students include the Malcolm Erickson scholarships, named for a Trinidad High School graduate who wanted to make it easier for Southern Colorado students to attend four year colleges and universities, and Comcast scholarships from the cable TV and Internet services provider. The Erickson Scholarships are worth $7,000 per year for four years, meaning a total value of $28,000, while the Comcast are worth $1,000 for five years, meaning a total value of $5,000.  

Adrianna Santillanes and Kaylee Gegelman will both attend the University of Colorado at Boulder, after each received both the Erickson and Comcast scholarships.  

“I’m going to get a bachelor’s degree in Science and then probably go into the medical field,” Santillanes said.  

Gegelman said she would major in Integrated Physiology before attending medical school.  

Carlee Garrison won a Masonic Benevolent Fund scholarship, based on a national competition, worth $1,000 per year for four years, a total value of $4,000. “I’m going to finish up my associate’s degree in Science here at Trinidad State,” she said. “Then I’ll go to Pueblo Community College to study Dental Hygiene.”     

“Just these five students have won scholarships worth approximately $600,000,” Rino said. “These don’t include the Trinidad State Educational Foundation scholarships, which haven’t been announced yet, but I just wanted to point out these students for all of their hard work and the example they have set for other students.”  

High school Principal Chuck Smithey said four other seniors had received $500 scholarships from the Confederacion Mutualista Mexicana y Hispana Americana, also known locally as La Casa. They include Brandileigh Destiny Bowman, Mariah Leeigh Casias, Jacquelyn Rae Hernandez and Frida Suzette Ochoa Lopez.  

Bowman said she would attend Williston State College, a two-year college in North Dakota, where she plans to major in Nursing.  

Ochoa Lopez plans to attend the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she will major in Exercise Science or study in the medical field.  

Casias and Hernandez will both attend Colorado State University at Fort Collins. Casias hasn’t decided on a major just yet, while Hernandez will major in Mathematics and hopes to go on to medical school.  

Smithey said he was proud of all the scholarship winners and the entire senior class at Trinidad High School. “We have so many great kids winning scholarships and doing great things,” he said. “It’s fun to see. They’ve earned it. They’ve worked hard. All of those are fantastic kids. They have great personalities, and they’re just fun to be around.  

“They don’t cause problems and they don’t have any problems. They just love being Trinidad Miners.”