Central Colorado Humanists 2023 Scholarship Awards

Central Colorado Humanists Scholarship Awards:


The Central Colorado Humanists are pleased to announce its scholarship awards for 2023. Ranging from $1,000 to $1,250, 10 of the awards will go to new college enrollees while 2 will go to students entering their second year. Following are the profiles of the recipients.


Sarah Chick (Salida High School) earned Honor Roll of Distinction each of her four years of high school. She mastered the content of a rigorous college prep curriculum, including Advanced Placement and Colorado Mountain College courses. Sarah held offices on the Student Council and helped organize the Activities Association, a new program to promote school spirit. She excelled in Salida High School basketball and volleyball. Sarah took a leadership role as one of the first players on the Chaffee County Basketball Academy team. She also played on the Boulder Rockies Blue Star Travel Team in 2022. In addition, she helped organize and raise funds for a community Christmas Drive and volunteered at a summer sports camp. Sarah plans to attend Fort Lewis College in Durango to study pre-medicine focused classwork and is considering a major in physics or biochemistry.



Logan Merriam (Salida High School) plans on majoring in chemical engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He has been a cross country runner and track team member throughout his high school years and was recognized as the most improved runner in 2021. In addition to working, he has provided volunteer charitable work for various organizations in his community. Described by his math teacher as "extremely hardworking and dedicated", Logan aspires to use his college education to "support respect for scientific integrity...and to distinguish between reliable scientific information and the harmful, inaccurate distortions."



Nina Haas (Salida High School) pursued a diverse college preparatory curriculum and began taking Colorado Mountain College classes in her freshman year at Salida High School. She plans to complete two associate degrees from CMC by the time she receives her high school diploma. She has received awards and accolades for her involvement with both the town and school soccer teams. Nina has excelled in academics and extracurricular activities while working over 30 hours per week at a local restaurant and volunteering several hours per week for community organizations. She plans to attend Western Washington University and major in finance.



Harper Reid (BV High School) mastered a challenging curriculum at Buena Vista High School, including several Colorado Mountain College courses. Her academic achievements earned her membership in both the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society. In addition to her academic pursuits, Harper dedicated one year as a varsity competitive cheerleader and one year as the varsity cross-country team manager. She also volunteers at the local fire department, a preschool, a Cheer for Kids summer camp, and the public library. She currently works two jobs to help finance her college education. Harper will attend Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida and intends to major in accounting with a minor in business or finance.


Juan Orejel-Rivera (Salida High School) completed a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, including several advanced placement and college courses in his junior and senior years. Juan was a four-year starter on the varsity football team and mentored younger players. He has competed with the Salida Knowledge Bowl trivia team. He volunteered to help set up multiple community events at Riverside Park and has worked as both a waiter and sous chef at his family’s restaurant since 2019. His leadership abilities, positive attitude and exceptional work ethic are remarkable assets he brings to every situation. Juan will be attending the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and plans to major in mechanical or environmental engineering.


Aspen Stearns (BV High School) finished highly ranked in her class. She worked on costume design for the Trident Theater Co., had a leadership role in the 4H Club and participated in the National Honor Society and Science Olympiad competitions. Aspen also volunteered at the BV public library, served as president of the Interact Club and works at Ark Valley Welding company. She will be attending the Colorado School of Mines pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering with a track in aerospace engineering.


Eoin Blackburn (Salida High School) is described by his science teacher as a “top notch’ student in chemistry and advanced placement chemistry. He excels at thinking outside the box, problem solving, and mastering challenging concepts. Eoin balances part-time work, extracurricular activities and a rigorous academic curriculum. He has been a mountain bike team member for four years, serving as team captain during his senior year. He also played soccer, participated in poker club, and has been an active member of 4-H for 10 years. His community service includes years of volunteer work on trail maintenance with Salida Mountain Trails, volunteering at an orphanage in Belize, wrapping gifts for Heart of the Rockies Community Christmas Drive and being a Young Life student leader. Eoin plans to major in chemical engineering or finance with aspirations to design tires and start his own company.


Izayah Baxter (Salida High School) through four years of dedication and exceptionally hard work, Izayah has demonstrated that he is a standout leader in academics, athletics and work experience. His four years of academic excellence, and a leadership role with SHS cross country team have led to his recognition as academic all-state first team honors. For four years he has been involved with the Destination Imagination leadership committee, including three years participation in regional and state tournaments. Throughout this time, he maintained steady employment. Additionally, Izayah spent the summer of 2022 in an intensive engineering camp. Izayah has been accepted to Montana State University where he plans to earn a Mechanical Engineering degree.


Kathryn Estes (BV High School) has pursued a demanding academic curriculum while participating in National Honor Society, Interact Club, track and field, cross country and soccer. Additionally, Kathryn was involved with multiple community service projects and employment with Rocky Mountain Youth Corp., National Mining Museum, Elevation Goods and the town of Buena Vista. Due to her immense love of the outdoors and concern for the environment, Kathryn has chosen to pursue a degree in environmental science at the University of Montana. 


Avery Bott (BV High School) is determined academically, athletically, musically and artistically. She has been a leader on Buena Vista’s mountain bike racing team, a dedicated musician with marching, concert and jazz band, plus five high school honor band competitions. She is the recipient of multiple awards at creative arts fairs. In addition, she has volunteered at a preschool and as an assistant ski coach. She has been employed part time in a variety of roles. Avery plans to attend Western Colorado University where she will pursue her love of art in Graphic Design and Illustration “that accurately represents scientific truths and discoveries”, 


In addition to the high school senior scholarships, second year scholarships were awarded to two of the previous year’s recipients for their continuing education.  

Lydia Tonnesen began her university experience in biomedical sciences at Colorado State University, but after viewing “The Ants and the Grasshopper” her first week of school, she immediately knew she needed to change course. She has now completed a rigorous but very exciting freshman year in pursuit of a degree in environmental engineering. Her “passion for nature” is going to be used “engineering projects to build a better world to live in”. Lydia’s advisor describes her as “responsible, diligent, motivated and dedicated to her education.”


Elena Dunn earned18 credit hours each semester at CU Boulder. She also participated in the Music Industry Club, the Festival Chorus, the Leeds Investment and Trading Group and the Women in Business club. With a major in finance and a minor in music, her first year in college taught her how to "handle adversity, continue to press forward and enjoy a feeling of accomplishment" as she moves toward her goal of "helping people find financial strength, independence, and sustainability."

Acknowledgement: We wish to acknowledge Kuper Banghart, a continuing student and previous year recipient of a CCH scholarship. Kuper was awarded the Presidential Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship offered by Montana State University, which will provide him with a tuition waiver for the remainder of his undergraduate years. Congratulations Kuper!



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