This spring, two Mancos High School seniors were among 128 Colorado students to be awarded the prestigious Daniels Scholarship.
“Daniels Scholarships are awarded to high-performing, well-rounded high school students from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming who demonstrate strength of character, leadership and a commitment to serving their communities,” according to the fund’s website. This year, two Mancos students were honored with the scholarship: Sage Franks and John Lund.
“I was on top of the world, Lund said of when he heard the news. “How did this happen?”
The amount awarded varies by student and the school he or she attends, but both Franks and Lund will receive a full-ride scholarship.
“I was shocked to hear the news, and I worked really hard for it,” Franks said. “I’m really glad all my hard work paid off. I’m just beyond grateful for their consideration and choice.”
The Daniels Scholarship Program was established by businessman and fighter pilot Bill Daniels, who died in 2000. This year, 212 high school seniors out of an applicant pool of 2,265 were awarded scholarships: 128 from Colorado, 24 from New Mexico, 28 from Utah and 32 from Wyoming.
“We’re thrilled to welcome these impressive young people and can’t wait to see what they will do with this opportunity,” said Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund, in a statement. “Our goal is to help each of these scholars succeed in college and ultimately become independent, successful in a rewarding career and actively engaged in their community.”
The application process is long, both Mancos students said. To apply, students and their families must meet certain GPA and income qualifications, respectively, and after that, it’s a long road involving multiple choice questionnaires, essays and an interview panel with local leaders.
“It really sounded like they were looking for a well-rounded character and someone that gave back to the community,” Franks said.
Franks is headed off to Colorado State University in Fort Collins next year. He plans to study sociology and ultimately go into law, he said.
While in high school, he interned with District Attorney Will Furse and is an intern with the Court Appointed Special Advocates program – encouraging his future career goals, and pushing him toward family law.
“I’m looking at guardian ad litem stuff, too,” Franks said. “That was also a thing that I talked about with the Daniels a lot, how I want to help kiddos in need in the future. Because I’ve been fortunate, and there’s a lot of kids suffering, and there’s a lot of injustice.”
He’s also played guitar since age 12 and has taught the guitar to children as a volunteer.
“That’s definitely my biggest hobby that I strive to do daily,” Franks said. “And I actually think it may have helped me out in the interview round, because I got to talk about that a lot, and make connections with a lot of the community members that also shared similar interests. It’s always fun to connect with people.”
His classmate John Lund is heading to Fort Lewis College next year, where he has already been taking classes. He hopes to someday be a surgeon in an underserved area.
“I want to work in a community where they need more people to come there, and they’re not getting very many people that want to help out where they’re at, like in Shiprock at the Indian Health Service hospital,” Lund said.
At the end of this year, he will have about 36 units of college credits under his belt, as part of the Mancos concurrent enrollment program. Taking college classes has been challenging, but he enjoys the freedom of choosing his own classes, Lund said.
He’s also a musician, and enjoys gymnastics and painting.
“I’m in choir at the college, in the concert choir program, that’s really fun,” Lund said. “I play piano and I sing a lot. Pretty much music is one of my biggest hobbies.”
Now scholars are finishing out their senior springs in a rather unexpected manner – at home online.
“It’s all online now,” Lund said. “You have to be self-motivated, and make sure you’re getting it all done.”