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FORT LUPTON — Each year, thousands of students apply for Daniels Scholarship Program, but only 250 are selected.
Erik Hernandez was selected this year demonstrating the program’s core principles, character, leadership, and service, at Fort Lupton High School and in the community.
The four-year scholarship will help Hernandez attend any non-profit, accredited college or university in the country. This includes financial and personal support, according to the program’s website.
Hernandez is a product of each grade in the Weld Re-8 School District, entering at Twombly Elementary as a kindergartener.
“My middle school AVID teacher, Ms. Whitman, she helped me out a lot,” Hernandez said. And Hernandez thanked the counselors, administrators and teachers at Fort Lupton High School for guidance and direction each year.
Hernandez has also taken a role in guiding underclassmen as the president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. His advice for incoming high school freshman interested in college: it’s never too early to start planning.
“You kind of really have to have the mentality that what you want to do in the future starts that very first day of school,” Hernandez said. “So there’s kind of no room for error, I would say.”
Hernandez has been active in activities of community service, including volunteering for Trapper Days, and the Upward Bound program through Colorado State University.
“I applied to Stanford, but I got on the waitlist, so I’m still waiting to hear back. If that falls through, Colorado State,” Hernandez said. “I’d like to get a degree in mechanical engineering.”
He’s already demonstrated the prerequisite discipline for that field with a 4.204 grade point average at Fort Lupton High School.
According to the program’s website, the Daniels Scholarship Program does not offer “full-ride” scholarships.
“Instead, they are ‘last dollar’ scholarships intended to cover the student’s unmet financial need,” the statement reads. “The scholarship amount is determined after all other financial aid resources and an Expected Family Contribution (or ‘EFC’) have been applied. Daniels Scholarships are intended to be used for the student’s required college expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and miscellaneous educational expenses.”
His schedule is full outside the high school as well, with Hernandez working as a lifeguard at the Fort Lupton Recreation Center and taking courses at Aims Community College.
“I usually go to work after school, two or three days a week,” Hernandez said.
He is frank about the necessity of prioritizing goals; there’s just not enough hours in the day to do everything.
“I had to work, so I sacrificed basketball my senior year,” Hernandez said.
He thanked his family for their support, and he credited them with keeping him on track.
“I’m really thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had, and for all the people who have helped me because without them, I probably wouldn’t have received this,” Hernandez said.
High school seniors residing in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, or Wyoming who feel they embody the Daniels Scholarship Program’s desired characteristics are encouraged to apply.
For more information about the Daniels Scholarship Program, visit www.danielsfund.org.
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.