Lobato, first Center Boettcher Scholar in 34 years


CENTER—Center High School senior Jordan Lobato is one of 42 seniors statewide to receive this year’s round of Boettcher Foundation Scholarships. The last Center senior to receive the scholarship graduated in 1983.

Center seniors also were awarded the scholarship in 1957, 1963 and 1965, high school counselor Katrina Ruggles reported during an interview with Lobato Tuesday.

“By selecting these promising young scholars we are able to honor the legacy of the Boettcher Family as well as invest in the future of our state,” Boettcher Foundation president Tim Schultz said in announcing the scholarship winners. “The Boettcher Scholarship allows us to support and encourage these students to use their immense talents and give back within Colorado—both during college and beyond.”

The process begins with over 1,400 applicants, is pared down to 300 semifinalists and then 100 finalists, resulting in 42 winners. Ruggles helped coach Lobato before her final interview for the scholarship and three years ago volunteered to be a final reviewer for Boettcher semi-finalists.

“I learned more about the process by volunteering, like how to create a good application,” Ruggles said, adding she did not interview Jordan for her application. “A committee looks over all [the applicants’] essays, letters of recommendation, resumes, activities, ACT scores and transcripts.”

Finalist applications are read three times, scored, then read again, Ruggles noted. Lobato says she feels her school activities, grades and ability to display leadership qualities ultimately helped her qualify for the scholarship.

She then described her strategy for winning the scholarship, emphasizing that anyone can be a winner if they are willing to try.

“The first thing going into high school is to focus on your goal,” Lobato said. In her case that was agricultural activities and 4-H. “This is what I wanted to do — I knew I could reach that goal,” she continued. “You have to stay focused in school,” and Lobato thanked Ruggles for helping her with this.

Being involved in Center’s Individual Career Academic Planning program (ICAP) since sixth grade helped keep that focus, Lobato explained. Ruggles has been involved with ICAP for years, helping students identify career objectives, develop a career path and stay on track academically in order to achieve their goals.

The Boettcher Foundation looks for students “who are committed and focused — going deep not wide,” Ruggles said. “You have to really decide early and think about what is important to you.” She commended Lobato for her dedication and hard work in pursuing and realizing her goals.

The scholarship will pay full tuition for Lobato to a college of her choice in Colorado, provides a living stipend, book allowance and also provides a campus mentor to help keep her on track. Mentors can even help students apply for grants to fund projects, Ruggles said. Lobato says she will major in agricultural business or animal sciences.

“Anybody in Center can do this,” Lobato messaged future high school students. “You just need to believe in yourself.”