A Dandelion on a Battlefield: Taking a Timeout to Celebrate 2015's Daniels Scholars

Another Friday has arrived, my friends. In Colorado education, this week saw the continuation of an increasingly ugly fight over testing, accountability, and opt-outs. It will get worse before it gets better, but we don’t need to talk about that today. No, Fridays are happy days. And because I’m a stubborn young man about my happy Fridays, I’m going to (very) briefly stroll out between the trenches and pick an education dandelion that is likely to otherwise get lost in the cacophony: The new list of 2015 Colorado Daniels Scholars.

First of all, I’d like to congratulate this year’s scholars. Great work, and I can’t wait to see what you can accomplish as you move into the next stage of your lives!

For those who don’t know, the Daniels Fund provides college scholarships every year to “graduating high school seniors who demonstrate exceptional character, leadership, and a commitment to serving their communities.” These scholarship cover the gap between other financial aid sources, expected family contributions, and total tuition costs at an accredited college or university of a student’s choosing. Applicants have to meet a number of requirements that you can read more about here.

Given the pallor that falls over my dad’s face every time I say the word “college,” I’m guessing these scholarships are pretty important. Still, we all know that money is only part of the equation. That’s why I think it’s pretty nifty that the program is also committed to providing resources support in addition to financial aid.

According to the Daniels Fund’s website, the organization has provided $108.5 million in scholarships to more than 3,000 undergraduate students. The current groups of scholarship recipients, who come from a range of schools in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming, will now be joining that number.

Take a look at list, see if you see any people or schools you recognize (I certainly see a few of my favorites), and have a happy Friday celebration for these impressive kiddos as they prepare to head off into their next great adventure. You may want to take special note of the names; I bet you’ll be seeing some of them pop up in the future.

When you’re done celebrating, put your helmet back on! It’s dangerous out here in education policy these days.