Every year, the Durango Education Foundation administers donor-based scholarships to graduating seniors in Durango School District 9-R.  In conjunction with the donors, the DEF Scholarship Committee and Trustees awarded nine graduating seniors of the nearly 100 applications received for the 2018 scholarship cycle.  Thank you to our generous donors who have invested in our students’ education.  For rising seniors, keep an eye out for available 2019 scholarships.  Applications are expected to be open January 1, 2019.

And now, introducing our 2018 DEF Scholarship Recipients…

Mary Ruth Bowman Boys’ Swimming Scholarship
$1200 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Emmett Stottlemyer
High School: Durango High School
Future Plans: Architecture/Montana State University


Emmett’s application describes the type of young man the scholarship was designed to motivate, recognize and reward. As described by the Bowman Family, “The ability to balance the demands of High School Athletics, Club Teams and academics is not an easy task.  We compliment Tom Joyner on the dedication he’s shown to keep the boy’s team on track, and to provide the opportunity for young men to succeed.”


Brinton Family Girls’ Swimming Scholarship
$1000 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Mira Joyner
High School: Durango High School
Future Plans: Biomedical Engineering, Colorado State University


All of the candidates for the Brinton Girls’ Swimming Scholarship were excellent choices, but what sets a part this young woman, is her volunteer work with the Special Olympics.  Mira’s application expresses the passion and dedication for her volunteer work, while building time into an already busy schedule with her participation in athletics, while maintaining exemplary marks in her academics.  As expressed by the Brinton Family, “It is always refreshing to read about today’s successful youth.”


Durango High School Alumni Association Distinguished Student Award
Candidates are student and teacher  nominated, and considered based on merit by the DHSAA Awards Committee. 

$1500 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Paxton Scott
High School: Durango High School


The DHS Alumni Association presented the Distinguished Student Award during DHS Senior Awards Night.  The award was inspired by the late USMC Captain Jeff Kuss, for his joyful, lifelong pursuit of excellence in self and others.  Paxton was unanimously chosen for his ability to engage and inspire all who knows him. Paxton was nominated for remaining true to himself and always leading by example.


Tom and Ann Hartney Family Scholarship
$1000 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Fiona Rodebaugh
High School: Big Picture High School
Future Plans: Sociology,
Colorado State University


The Tom and Ann Hartney Scholarship was designed to award a student who exemplified the same interests and values of Tom and Ann.  This included: A love of learning, a belief in education, commitment to their community and a conviction that an understanding of the issues that face us makes us better citizens. Fiona exhibits the resilience, grit and strength it takes to overcome unfortunate circumstances, and the ability to come out the other side as a determined, persistent and motivated young woman who continues to give back to her community.


Newbold Family Scholarship I
$2000 one-time award to school of choice



Recipient: Big Chief Manuelito Garbiso
High School: Durango High School
Future Plans: Business,
Adams State University



Big Chief meets and exceeds the expectations as set forth by the scholarship criteria. He has overcome a tremendous number of obstacles for such a young man, and is  nothing short of a good civilian and community member who maintains a positive, caring and mature attitude.  He portrays a student who is always seeking self-improvement and progression towards a brighter future by being a good leader and role model with strong moral values.



Newbold Family Scholarship II
$2000 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Alicia Romero
High School: Durango High School
Future Plans: Administration,
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs


Alicia’s application stood out from the others, because of what she decided to exclude from her letter of interest.  Alicia has great insight in how she perceives herself and her capabilities, which led her to conclude what career path she’d like to pursue. Alicia’s true self comes out in her letters of recommendation – we discovered a mature, tenacious young adult who is motivated and determined to not let life challenges deter her from personal and academic success. Her “work ethic and commitment to helping others succeed” is just one of many reasons on top of why Alicia is more than deserving of receiving this scholarship. Her potential is revealed through all of her interactions, whether it be with teachers or tutoring peers in English Language Arts.


Zink Family Scholarship
$2000 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Ryan Genauldi
High School: Durango High School
Future Plans: Physician’s Assistant
Baylor University


Ryan exemplifies a well-rounded student and community member – he is both an honor student and an athlete.  He shows an invested interest in the medical field with aspirations to become a Physician’s Assistant in our local four corners area.  He shows a great understanding of how to achieve his future endeavors, including the financial impact of having a sibling in college, another a few years from attending, and expecting to be in higher education for 6 years himself.  His letters of recommendation describe a hard working young man with great leadership skills and a positive attitude.


Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center
Automotive Scholarship
$1000, renewable for on additional year


Recipient: Joshua Crawford
High School: Colorado Connections Academy
Future Plans: Applied Science in Automotive, San Juan College


Made possible by Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center, the Automotive Scholarship is currently the only trades-skill scholarship available at DEF. From a young age, Joshua has always exemplified a passion for automotive and hopes to make it his career as an Automotive Technician. His application demonstrates integrity, a good work ethic and a willingness to learn.


Sachs Construction, LLC Scholarship
$1000 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Mariya Duchon
High School: Durango High School
Future Plans: Criminology,
Colorado State University


If there is one word that is consistently used to describe this resilient and wonderful young woman, it would be feisty – and that is a compliment rarely given. “Mariya has the grit to prevail through struggles, has the bleeding heart to save the world, and the passion to positively impact the world.”  As expressed in her letters of recommendation, this student “has a deep determination to do something more with herself, to rise above her circumstance.”


Elizabeth Testa Memorial School Board Scholarship
$2500 one-time award to school of choice


Recipient: Fiona Rodebaugh
High School: Big Picture High School
Future Plans: Sociology,
Colorado State University


The late executive director, Elizabeth Testa, made the Durango Education Foundation her life’s work.  Fiona left a lasting impression that embodies everything Elizabeth fought for in education.  Fiona personifies the drive to succeed, the ambition to achieve any goal, and desire to complete a higher education, while facing more hardships than most will ever encounter.  Fiona is admired by DEF Trustees, the Board of Education, her peers, TRIO Counselors and every 9-R employee that interacts with her.