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Award launches aspiring rocket scientist

DHS senior earns ‘full ride’ scholarship

For the first time in 13 years, a Durango High School student has won the Boettcher Foundation Scholarship.

Katelyn Dudley, a senior at DHS, is one of just 40 students in Colorado to receive the scholarship, which will provide her with a “full ride” – or tuition plus living expenses, including fees, a book allowance and a stipend – for her first two years at any four-year Colorado college.

Dudley will attend the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The scholarship is good for eight semesters as long as Dudley maintains a GPA of at least 3.0.

Though top-tier college athletics programs routinely use “full-ride” scholarships to lure prospective athletic talents, the Boettcher Foundation is unusual as its largesse is calculated to keep homegrown academic rock stars in state.

Just to apply for the scholarship, students must be in the top 5 percent of their class and have a combined score of at least 1200 on the critical reading and math sections of the SAT or a score of at least 27 on the ACT.

Dan Garner, an English teacher at DHS who invited Dudley to apply for the Boettcher scholarship, said these technical minimum standards, in effect, drastically understated the standardized test performance of students who actually won the scholarship.

Dudley got a perfect score on her ACT.

Garner said she also won a state championship as a member of the DHS Academic Decathlon team, two international championships as a member of the DHS Aerospace Design team (she won top individual honors twice at the World Design Finals in leadership and speaking), worked as an educational outreach intern at Durango Discovery Museum and founded Durango Yarn Demons (a club that knits hats for newborns).

Dudley enjoys a “plethora of other activities, including ballet, dance and church activities,” Garner said.

In a news release, the Boettcher Foundation’s scholarship program director, Katy Craig, said about 1,300 students apply for the scholarship annually, but only 40 ultimately win it.

“Katelyn really stood out for us with her accomplishments both in and out of the classroom,” Craig said.

“We are incredibly proud of Katie’s accomplishments, and we wish her great success in the engineering honors program at CU Boulder,” DHS Principal Leanne Garcia wrote in an email.

Dudley wants to be a rocket scientist.

cmcallister@durangoherald.com

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