Lakewood High School

An unprecedented three Lakewood students receive Boettcher Scholarships

Students excel both in and out of classroom

Posted 5/30/17

A Boettcher Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards a graduating Colorado student can receive.

This year, three of the 42 Colorado seniors who received them came from Lakewood High School — Jon Abrahamson, Troy Jackson and Dakota …

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Lakewood High School

An unprecedented three Lakewood students receive Boettcher Scholarships

Students excel both in and out of classroom


A Boettcher Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards a graduating Colorado student can receive.

This year, three of the 42 Colorado seniors who received them came from Lakewood High School — Jon Abrahamson, Troy Jackson and Dakota Kisling.

“It’s really unprecedented to have three winners from the same school,” said Lisa Ritchey, Lakewood’s principal. “All three students are outstanding and do the kinds of things we celebrate at our school.”

Recipients of the four-year scholarship receive funding for almost all expenses at the Colorado school of their choice, including full tuition, fees, a book allowance and an annual stipend for living expenses.

Scholars are selected based on academics, service, leadership and character.

“I’ve taught all three students during their time at the school,” said Jennifer Webb, the school’s AP and IB English Language department manager. “Not only are they incredible students, but they’re all passionate about learning and giving back to the community.”

More than 1,400 students applied for this year’s awards, according to information provided by the Boettcher organization. What sets the winners apart goes beyond academics, into community and worldwide service.

School staff helped students prepare for the scholarship process, Ritchey said. She added the school is incredibly proud of the three students.

“This year’s senior class is very special,” Webb said. “We have great kids who will positively impact wherever they go for school.”

Jon Abrahamson

Plans: I will be attending the University of Colorado-Boulder as a computer science major.

Applying for the Boettcher Scholarship: It all started when my counselor told me about a big scholarship that I had never heard of. My first thought was that there was no way I could be a top-42 student in the state because everything I saw in being excellent was portrayed through GPA and test scores. But after this whole process I came to realize the importance of what I do in my community. There is so much more than grades in this world and the Boettcher Foundation has given me the confidence to realize this.
My whole life, the work that I did with people with disabilities was done because I felt as if I was changing the world. That has and always will be my goal. However, throughout this college search I began to conclude that these endeavors meant little. Boettcher changed this. They realized the impact I, along with all my fellow recipients, had on this world. It all began with the feeling of just tossing a name into a hat.
What I got out of the Boettcher process, however, was a new sense of confidence that my ambitions are truly changing the world.

My future: I am torn between going into the biomedical field to help better the lives of those less able through research development and data management. I also find great interest in the world of data analytics.
I want to be able to aid companies on business decisions and/or help them best maximize the company’s benefits for the consumer. I believe technology is on a new rise and it is very important to jump in now.
Additionally, I have ambitions to start a physical education program where the student body is combined with students with disabilities in a unified physical education class at the local high schools. A similar program at Lakewood High School is what inspired me to become involved in working with people with disabilities, and I want to share this passion with the Boulder community.

Troy Jackson

Plans: I plan to attend the Daniel’s School of Business at the University of Denver.

Applying for the Boettcher Scholarship: At the start of my senior year, I was actually planning to apply early decision to an out-of-state college. My guidance counselor, Jill Mark, called me into her office and told me about the Boettcher Scholarship. It sounded like a fantastic opportunity so I did some research and decided to apply.
The application process had three rounds. For the first round, we needed to write four essays and fill out an informative sheet with all of the extra-curricular activities, service work and leadership positions that we participated in throughout high school. I wrote my essays on my involvement in a business club/competition called DECA, a tennis foundation I started called Lakewood Tennis Outreach, my volunteer work for the Genesee Fire House and fishing with my dad.
From the first round 300 semi-finalists were selected, and we needed to send in three letters of recommendation to the Boettcher Foundation. Based on the letters of recommendation, 100 finalists were selected to complete an interview in Denver with the Boettcher Foundation. The staff at the Boettcher Foundation did an excellent job at making the finalists feel comfortable and welcome when we arrived for our interviews, but it was still one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my entire life.
I was beyond excited to find out that I was awarded the scholarship, and even more excited to find out that my classmates and good friends JC and Dakota were awarded the scholarship as well.

My future: I plan to study business at the University of Denver, and perhaps become an investment banker. I am very interested in business, and I think it will make for an enjoyable career.
I also want to continue to follow my passions and give back to the community. The program that I started, Lakewood Tennis Outreach, aims to create a bond between the high school tennis team and the kids of Eiber Elementry who might not ordinarily get a chance to play. Tennis is my passion, and this seems like the perfect way to give back the community. I handed off the program to an incoming junior on the Lakewood High School tennis team, and he is planning to move the program to a second school.
I want to expand the program, getting more high schools involved in order to introduce the sport to more kids. I have big aspirations for my future in business, but my main goal is to continue to grow this program and others like it.

Dakota Kisling

Plans: I will be attending the University of Colorado at Boulder in the fall.

Applying for the Boettcher Scholarship: Applying for the scholarship was intensive and time-consuming, especially since I had a lot of big projects for the International Baccalaureate Program at my school in addition to finishing my college applications.
My counselor, Jill Mark, recommended me to apply for the scholarship and I am super grateful for her confidence in me and my abilities. The first round entailed a number of long essays and short answer questions that touched on various topics, like leadership, academics, extracurricular activities and community service.
After the first round was the teacher recommendation section of the application. During this process, three recommendations were required ... The third and final stage was the interview. This was by far the most intimidating ...
Overall, the experience was very valuable and I enjoyed the process. I am so thankful to be a Boettcher scholar, along with my classmates, JC Abrahamson and Troy Jackson. I cannot wait for what is in store for me in the future and all of the opportunities this foundation offers their scholars.

My future: I plan to major in integrative physiology and possibly double-major in Spanish. I also intend to earn a minor in leadership, with my selection into the President’s Leadership Class.
Academically, I plan on attending medical school to become a doctor, though I am not sure of my specialization at this point. I love traveling and I plan to study abroad sometime during my undergraduate work. With this said, I would love to run a non-profit organization someday in Africa, and provide free medical advice and treatment to people for diseases like malaria.
I would also like to help people with special needs integrate into their societies. These goals came about as a result of my travels to Uganda, Africa, with the Far Away Friends organization in the summer of 2016. The impacts of this trip were immeasurable. I truly hope to embark on a career that is international in scope. I cannot wait for the future and I am so grateful for the opportunities the Boettcher Foundation has provided me to pursue my goals.
Lakewood, Clarke Reader, Lakewood High School, Boettcher Scholars, graduation


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