Carbondale seniors named Daniels Scholars |

Carbondale seniors named Daniels Scholars

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox/Post IndependentRoaring Fork High School seniors Adrianna Romero and Daniel Pulver have a lot to be smiling about.

CARBONDALE – Daniel Pulver describes the shaping of a young person’s mind as being similar to a silver forge.

“The more you heat up the silver, the more pure it becomes and the easier it can be molded into something great,” he elaborates.

Hearing that analogy, one might think they’re the words of the teacher/mentor rather than the student.

But then, Pulver’s perspective is beyond his 18 years, a mature insight that runs in the family and might help explain why he is the second member of his family in two years to earn the coveted Daniels Fund Scholarship.

Pulver and another Roaring Fork High School graduating senior, Adrianna Romero, were the only two students in the Roaring Fork Valley to earn the regional foundation scholarship this year.

The scholarship covers all expenses to the college of the recipient’s choice that aren’t already taken care of through other scholarships, grants and family contributions. It was awarded this year to 261 high school seniors, including 182 from Colorado, 39 from New Mexico, 24 from Wyoming and 16 from Utah.

“I’ve had a lot of mentors in my life … my brothers and sisters, and my parents,” said Pulver, who has eight siblings. “So many different voices, and so much diversity, plus a community that’s really diverse.”

His older brother, Lucas, also was a Daniels Scholarship recipient in 2008. He now attends Seattle Pacific University, along with another of the Pulver clan, Theodore.

Daniel Pulver plans to attend Azusa Pacific University in Southern California, where he intends to study art and film.

“Any major that uses my creative abilities, that’s really where my passion lies,” he said.

Romero, also 18, plans to attend Denver University, where she will study psychology with a minor in Spanish, with an eye toward law school eventually.

She says she applied for “26 or 27” different scholarships, and was a finalist for the LS Wood Scholarship, but withdrew when she heard she had been selected for the Daniels Scholarship.

“I was pretty determined to go to DU, so this will really help,” said Romero, who will be the first in her immediate family to attend college. “It’s never really been a choice whether I could go to college or not; my mom pushed pretty hard from the beginning.”

In addition to her mom, she lists as her mentors RFHS teacher Laura French, as well as college prep coach and former teacher Bonnie Cretti.

“They really inspired me to stick with it and be the best I can be, and not to settle,” she said.

Romero also has a head start on her college credits, having taken several classes this year through Colorado Mountain College, including statistics, law and Spanish IV.

She said she’s grateful for such a major scholarship.

“I don’t really know what $50,000 a year looks like, but when I see people working three jobs and taking loans, I’ll know what it is,” Romero said.

“These are promising and motivated students determined to succeed in life, but lacking the financial resources to continue their education,” Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund, said in announcing the scholarship winners last month. “They are outstanding young people, and the Daniels Fund is proud to partner with them as they fulfill their dreams of attending college.”

In its 10th year now, the Daniels Fund has awarded more than 2,000 scholarships worth $66 million, as well as more than $270 million in grants awarded to outstanding nonprofit organizations, according to a press release.

To identify candidates for the scholarship, the Daniels Fund partners with high schools, youth agencies and college prep providers. After being nominated, candidates take part in an interview and selection process in the communities in which they live.

In establishing the Daniels Scholarship program, cable pioneer Bill Daniels was seeking promising students with financial need whose academic performance may not necessarily reflect their potential, but who demonstrate strength of character, a well-rounded personality and a record of accomplishment in giving back to the community.

The Daniels Scholarship is not “full ride,” but is supplemental to all other financial resources, including an estimated family contribution, available to the student.

After other financial aid resources have been applied, the Daniels Scholarship covers all required tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies and a variety of other miscellaneous expenses. Students also receive a laptop computer and a printer.

Bill Daniels, a prominent business leader known for his kindness and generosity to those in need, established the Daniels Fund to provide grants and scholarships in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. When he died in the year 2000, his estate transferred to the fund, making it one of the largest foundations in the Rocky Mountain West.