LCHS’s High Achievements: Class of 2019
Today, Lake County High School seniors will turn their graduation cap tassels signifying a milestone event in their academic and personal lives. And if Thursday’s Class Day is any indication the Class of 2019 is going places! Over one million dollars in scholarships was awarded to the students who were all choosing to continue their education beyond high school in some manner.
For some, it’s securing a certificate in a trade that ignites their passion. For others – two LCHS graduates, in fact – it’s the experience of attending an Ivy League School, all expenses paid. Many graduates will stay close to their hometown, attending some form of college in Colorado. But the one thing they all have in common is a community that completely backs their kids, and provides them with the resources to pursue their dreams not impeded by financial limitations. It was clear that the one thing each recipient had in common was a community that showed up for its students.
On Thursday, May 23, thirty-seven organizations/individuals presented scholarships to the graduating seniors, ranging in amounts from over one-quarter of a million dollars for a full-ride to an Ivy League school, to the just-as-important $500 awards for books and other school expenses. From the BPOE Poinsettias sold every Christmas season (buy poinsettias!!) to the Leadville Legacy Foundation scholarships which doubled this year to $2,000, each and every student in the graduating Class of 2019 was given a financial stipend to continue their education beyond high school. Now that’s a pretty special thing about living in Leadville Today!
So, whether you go far, or stay near or do both, over the year, always remember where you came from – Lake County High School!
“Some of the best things about Leadville are coming straight out of that high school,” said Leadville Trail 100 and Legacy Founder Ken Chlouber in the video presentation made on Class Day 2019 prior to their $100,000 scholarship presentation.
Ten Years of Legacy Scholarships
By Kathy Bedell, Leadville Today
I was there that first year of the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation Scholarships. And by “there” I mean that I was the Public Relations Manager for the Leadville Trail 100 during the first year that founders Ken Chlouber and Merilee Maupin initiated the Legacy Scholarships. Up to that point, the non-profit arm of the race series, which was founded in 2002, had been very active in charitable giving to numerous local organizations, as well as projects that would benefit and improve recreational opportunities in Lake County.
But in 2009, they recognized that investing in Leadville’s future through education would be the foundation’s next big step. They approached the stipends in a uniquely inclusive way by not basing it on anything other than a student’s desire to continue their education beyond high school. If they could get accepted into a trade school, a beauty college, or a four-year university, each student would receive a $1000 scholarship. It was a big deal for students from a small mountain school, many of whom would usually politely sit through Class Day as the top academic achievers garnered most of the scholarship funds based on performance.
Over the last decade, these Legacy Scholarships have been true game-changers for hundreds of Lake County High School graduates. Some have gone on to becomes doctors and lawyers, others stay in Leadville and through opportunities afforded at Colorado Mountain College, they continue their education, build businesses and families. It’s clear, it’s working. And for the racers who contribute a majority of the funds to the Legacy, thank you, and know it makes a difference.
The other day, I was reminiscing with Ken about that first year the Legacy gave out the scholarships. Prior to that none of us had been involved with distributing scholarship funds. So with little guidance – not like the solid counseling team in place now at the high school – Merilee and I sat down with the list of graduating seniors and wrote out a $1,000 check to each student. Yep, it’s true! I read the list and Merliee in her beautiful penmanship wrote out each check in the student’s name and along with a Legacy Scholarship certificate, those first Legacy recipients went forth into a brave new world with the most amount of money many had ever seen at one time!
Of course, we had some hesitancy about how it should be done. And yes, there were a few eyebrows raised when it was discovered that these graduating seniors were given – for most – the largest check in their lives on the day they were also probably headed to some of the biggest parties in their lives.
Ken and I had a good laugh as we reflected on the stories we heard later about some epic “woodsy” parties that graduation weekend, but we also know that – for the most part – those students used that money for what it was intended: an opportunity.
“Yep, we’ve learned a lot since that first year,” he chuckled. Everyone has, thanks to the Legacy, a real game-changer for Lake County students, families and the entire community. If you’d like to be part of the people that change the lives of Leadville students, consider a donation to the Leadville Legacy Foundation, P.O. Box 1, Leadville Co 80461. On online at Leadville Legacy.