Students honored for strength, perseverance

DCSD, donor family provide $2,000 scholarships to 12 youths

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The Administrators’ Scholarship Program at Douglas County School District honors students who have overcome personal challenges and excelled in school. Since its inception in 1988, the program has awarded $175,000 in scholarships to nearly 200 recipients. Administrators and staff help contribute $1,000 to each student.

For the past two years, a DCSD family has matched that amount. This year, 12 students received $2,000 apiece to go toward college expenses.

Ben Rogers, Castle View High School

To help support his mom and siblings, Rogers held a job through his four years of high school. He continues to save up so he can go to college in Alaska. “It was a situation I was put in. I don’t think I could’ve changed it,” he said. “I did what I had to do.”

Alexia and Kelci Droogan, Chaparral High School

Three years ago the Droogan twins lost their mother to cancer. School, they say, became a source of strength. This fall, Alexia will attend Colorado State University and Kelci will go to the University of Denver.

Alexandra Nance, Douglas County High School

In seventh grade Nance, struggling with anxiety, began self-harming. She spent the next several years rebuilding her life. She’s currently working on a novel and plans to study criminal law in college.

Maci Ruder, Eagle Academy

After a stint in rehab, Ruder decided to make a change. She poured herself into work and school and relied on her family for support. She hopes to work as a rehab therapist someday.

Juliana Joyner, Highlands Ranch High School

Joyner’s single mom taught her the value of working hard and having fun. In the past four year she’s fully immersed herself into Highlands Ranch High School. She will attend Florida State University this fall.

Andrew Voss, Legend High School

Voss, who was born with two-thirds of his intestines removed, wants to study nursing in college to help others with physical challenges. “It’s always been, like, I’m just a normal kid who has to do a little extra to succeed,” he said.

Vitalik Walle, Mountain Vista High School

English is Walle’s third language, behind Russian and Ukrainian. Raised in an orphanage, Walle was adopted and moved to the United States five years ago. This fall he will attend Colorado Christian University.

Jared Wilson, Plum Creek Academy

Wilson’s anxiety makes human-to-human interactions difficult. The twice-exceptional student, who is a skilled piano player, hopes to attend BYU-Idaho Pathway Program this fall for a degree or industry certificate.

Mitch Lukes, Ponderosa High School

Doctors were unsure if Lukes would survive a tragic mountain biking accident last fall that left him in a coma. He credits prayers and hope for his recovery. This fall he will attend Montana State University in Bozeman, where he will study business management.

Sawyer Benson, Rock Canyon High School

Benson, who was born with a rare disease that causes a smaller rib cage and lungs, has to carry a backpack with an oxygen tank inside. That doesn’t get in the way of his love for academics and computer science. This fall he will attend Neumont College of Computer Science in Salt Lake City.

Samantha Golden, ThunderRidge High School

Golden’s expectations for her senior year changed when her father became ill. She planned and spoke at his funeral, while keeping up with school. “She grieved but yet she was still standing strong,” said Meghan Cofer, her school counselor.

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