Aspen High School seniors earn awards, college scholarships |

Aspen High School seniors earn awards, college scholarships

Senior awards ceremony bestows honors for 81 members of class of 2021

Alex Appleby, right, hugs Principal Sarah Strassburger after being presented with the Principal's Award during the Aspen High School senior awards and local scholarship ceremony on Monday, May 24, 2021, on the AHS turf field. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

It may well be the marquee event of awards season at Aspen High School: Monday night’s senior awards and local scholarship ceremony recognized the accomplishments of the class of 2021 with dozens of honors and funds for college.

All told, 81 seniors walked away with more than $350,000 in college scholarships from nearly 40 local donor groups, according to Susanne Morrison, the administrative coordinator at Aspen High School’s post-secondary counseling department. Students also scored hundreds of thousands of dollars from regional and national awards, some of which include full ride scholarships for all four years of college (see sidebar).

“Not only are you graduating from Aspen High School, but you have also survived COVID, remote learning and spontaneous quarantine moments,” Tana Rinaldi said while presenting the Haley Rinaldi Soccer Memorial Scholarship. “I imagine you will all be very resilient in trying to do your best to move forward.”

National, Regional and State Honors

National Recognition

Grace Romero received the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps Scholarship, which covers tuition, a housing stipend, textbooks and lab fees for all four years of college in exchange for a commitment of four years of active service after graduation as a military officer.

Daniel Jensen received national recognition as first chair french horn in All-National Honor Ensemble, Concert Band, part of a group of the 120 top-performing student musicians in the United States.

Jonathan Weiss was named a National Merit Award finalist for academic excellence and extracurricular leadership; Weiss’ Preliminary SAT (PSAT) score was among the top 1% in the nation.

Three members of Aspen High School’s Future Business Leaders of America club were members of a team that qualified for nationals in the “Partnership in Business” category: Annika Nichols, Storey Balko and Macy Hopkinson.

Regional Scholarship

John “Jake” Doyle won the Westen Golf Association Chick Evans Scholarship for caddies, which full tuition and housing at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

State Recognition

Black Forest Robotics senior team members Alexander Appleby, Andrew Seybold, Spencer Perkey and Gavin Heil were recognized for their role in a top-ranked team at the FIRST Tech Challenge Colorado

Twenty-one seniors earned the Colorado Seal of Biliteracy for their skills in English and at least one other language: Jack Blocker, Kendall Clark, Jake Doyle, Sofie Durham, Macy Hopkinson, Samantha Gonzales, Tatum Johnson, Emily Kinney, Caden Klein, Emma Kuhn, Alexander Martin, Jeremy Martin, Eva McDonough, Henry Palmaz, Ashley Ramos Alfaro, Carolina Robinson, Grace Romero, Andrew Seybold, Matilda Swanson, Stefani Wojcik and Hannah Yeary.

The Colorado Student Media Association awarded first-place recognition to Aja Schiller for critical review and Tessa Guthrie for environmental portrait.

Four students received an “excellent” ranking in this year’s Colorado High School Activities Association Vocal Solo Festival: Lydia Styslinger, Kelsey McHugh, Carolina Robinson and Ella Joseph.

The event was the latest in a string of celebrations for Aspen High’s graduating seniors. The school community already tipped its hat to participants in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and the National Honor Society earlier this month; a senior sports banquet takes place Wednesday at Upper Moore Field.

This year’s senior class is chock full of high-achieving students — so many, in fact, that the school awarded 13 Aspen Scholars awards instead of the usual 10 because the award based on highest cumulative grade point averages was too close to call, award presenter Sue O’Bryan said.

Aspen Scholars have “achieved a near-perfect academic record at Aspen High School’s most rigorous curriculum,” according to presenter and Aspen High Assistant Principal Becky Oliver. The class of 2021 cohort includes Alexander Appleby, Storey Balko, Jack Blocker, Kendall Clark, Macy Hopkinson, Leah Horning, James Kelly, Kylie Kenny, Eva McDonough, Grace Romero, Caprice Seeman, Andrew Seybold and Matilda Swanson.

Jeremy Martin walks up to accept one of his many awards during the Aspen High School senior awards and local scholarship ceremony on Monday, May 24, 2021, on the AHS turf field. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Appleby also received the Principal’s Award in recognition of his contributions to the school; most Aspen Scholars — and in fact most award ceremony attendees — received multiple honors.

The winners of the Aspen Elks Lodge Pacesetter Department Awards formed another group of ambitious students who lead the way and set the bar in certain academic fields. The Aspen Elks Lodge sponsored the award for the first time this year, granting each winner a personal check for $200.

This year’s pacesetters received glowing praise from award presenters, not only for their academic achievements but also for their character, passion and desire to help others.

The Pacesetter cohort includes Katelyn O’Callahan (English), Alexander Martin (Mathematics), Jeremy Martin (Performing Arts), Jack Blocker (Science), Kylie Kenny (Social Studies), Maya Abraham (Visual Arts), Jocelyn Carreno (World Languages), Alsher Fite (Aviation), Macy Hopkinson (Business), Jack Alter (Construction and Woodworking) and Tessa Guthrie (Journalism).

The accomplishments of the class of 2021 are no small feat — the product of a community effort, awards presenter Joe Farrell recognized.

“Congratulations to you all. Congratulations to your parents, congratulations to teachers, coaches, counselors and the school board,” Farrell said while presenting the Trashmasters Scholarship. “We put out an amazing product here at the school district and I’m very, very proud to be a part of it.”

After a senior year like no other, those achievements are especially worth celebrating, presenters said.

That tenacity will help carry the the class of 2021 forward as they embark on the next step in their lives, EJ Foerster said while presenting the Jake Foerster Music Arts Fund/Jazz Aspen Snowmass Scholarship.

“Your resilience this year, to forge on and navigate through a lot of problems I think gives you a lot of tools to go through any of the challenges you’re going to face coming up,” Foerster said. “Change is always inevitable. Make it your own and own it, whatever it is.”

For a full list of award recipients, keep an eye out for a special graduation insert in the June 3 edition of The Aspen Times.

C. Welton Anderson Faculty Awards

The C. Welton Faculty Awards honor achievements and growth across six different categories and are selected by Aspen High School faculty and staff.

Rising Star Award: Maya Abraham, Andrea Gallegos, Ella Joseph, Sophia Linn, Diego Mendoza, Oliver Semple, Lydia Styslinger

Ambassador Award: George Beck, Christian Kelly, Emily Kinney, Brady Rogers, Stefani Wojcik

Humanitarian Award: Max Brenninger, Jocelyn Carreno, Noah Forman, Macy Hopkinson

Independent Spirit Award: Will Cairncross, Connor Gagen, Audrey Linn, William Madsen, Ashley Ramos Alfaro, Hank Sweeney

Life-Long Learner Award: Presley Brennan, Edith Sherlock, Chloe Springfield

Leading Light Award: Audrey Corcoran, Sebastian Pedinelli, Alexander Potamkin, Caprice Seeman, Xavier Stapleton

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