TELLURIDE, Colo. – (June 8, 2017) Henry Benasutti’s experience as an intern at the Research Institute in Evanston Illinois studying the behaviors of cancerous stroma cells taught him the importance of helping others through medical research. “The researchers I worked with were the people behind the scenes trying to get an answer to unsolved questions about the human body, but never asking for recognition or fame for it,” said Henry in his scholarship essay. “My mentors and everyone who I worked with showed me that I really do love science and I really do love the science of the human body, but most of all I love to help people without asking for anything in return.” Benasutti’s love of science was recently rewarded as the recipient of the $20,000 Neil Armstrong Scholarship. Benasutti graduated from Ridgway High School this past May and will be attending Western Washington University to study cellular biology as a pre-med student.
Many high-achieving students, each with substantial financial need from the five school districts that make up the Telluride Foundation’s service area, were awarded a generous amount of scholarships from the Telluride Foundation. Scholarships this year included a $20,000 Neil Armstrong Scholarship, a $4,000 Neil Armstrong Merit Scholarship, six Strokes of Genius Scholarships for $5,000 or $2,500 each, and five Telluride Foundation Scholarships for $1,000 each, for a total of $54,000.
At the May 15th Ridgway senior awards ceremony, graduating senior Henry Benasutti received the fifth annual $20,000 Neil Armstrong Scholarship. Benasutti, the first Ridgway graduate to receive the scholarship, was selected from a very competitive pool of applicants from the Telluride, Norwood and West End school districts; the scholarship committee based their decision on his outstanding academics, strong interest in science, dedication, perseverance, and financial need. This year, the scholarship committee that includes the late Neil Armstrong’s wife, Carol Armstrong, also awarded a Neil Armstrong Merit Scholarship for $4,000 to Telluride graduate Jacob Nelson.
The Neil Armstrong scholarship fund was created by friends and family of Neil Armstrong to honor the achievements and character of the late American hero and astronaut who died in 2012. The Neil Armstrong Scholarship is awarded each year to a regional high school student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
Now in its 24th year, the Strokes of Genius Scholarship has become a proud Telluride tradition, and this year, six scholarships were awarded at the Telluride awards ceremony for graduating seniors. It is the largest and longest running local scholarship available for Telluride’s graduating seniors, awarded to students who demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, exceptional character, community involvement, and leadership potential.
The Scholarship Committee was comprised of Lars Carlson, Sally Puff Courtney, and Kevin Holbrook, from the Strokes of Genius Committee; Sara Kimble, Principal of Telluride High School; Alex Jones, a THS faculty member; April Montgomery and Katie Singer with the Telluride Foundation. The committee received 22 applications and selected scholarship recipients based on several criteria including applications, essays and personal interviews.
The Strokes of Genius Fund was established originally as the Benchmark Fund by the Benchmark Partners, a generous group of individuals (Ron & Joyce Allred, Forrest & Maria Faulconer, Nancy and Tom McNamara, Ock & Joanie Peterson and Jim & Sheila Wells) who identified the need for a college scholarship fund for THS students. The proceeds from the Strokes of Genius Golf Tournament, held each July, fuel the scholarship fund, which is now managed by the Telluride Foundation.
Since its inception, Strokes of Genius has distributed over $375,000 in college scholarships to 95 Telluride graduates. The 2017 recipients include: Warren Fulton ($5,000), attending University of Colorado Boulder; Jacob Nelson ($5,000), attending Cal Poly; Alyssa Pack ($2,500), attending Montana State University; Logan Tschinkel ($2,500) attending Westminster College; and Telluride Mountain School’s Gregorio Osha ($5,000), attending American University.
Recipients of the $1,000 Telluride Foundation Scholarships are selected by the school administration in the following five school districts: Emma Terrell (Norwood), Taylor Sickels (Nucla), Jordan Leo (Ouray), Jordan Pugh (Ridgway), Gaela Kanawaliwali (Telluride).
“The Foundation Board and its donors believe that one of the best investments we can make is in our local youth,” said Paul Major, President & CEO of the Telluride Foundation. “We are thankful to our generous donors who believe in the importance of post-secondary education and in recognizing these kids who are such a great reflection of our community and the future of our country”
For more information on the Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund and the Telluride Foundation, please go to www.telluridefoundation.org and click on “Our Work” and then “Donor Stewardship.” For information about the Strokes of Genius Scholarship call Katie at 970-728-8717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, The Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants who serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.