GOSHEN COUNTY – Two Lingle-Fort Laramie students and one Torrington High School senior have earned a free ride to the U.S. college of their choice – three of 238 awardees in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Brothers Clay and Kelly Peterson of Lingle and Jade Palmer-Miller of Torrington were among the 2,250 students who applied for the Daniels Scholarship Program this year. Of the 238 students selected as 2018 Daniels Scholars, 146 are from Colorado, 30 are from New Mexico, 26 are from Utah, and 36 are from Wyoming, according to a press release.
Scholars are chosen based on character, leadership, and commitment to the community.
Students went through a three-step process to apply for the scholarship, Palmer-Miller said, including an initial application, final interviews in Laramie and an email from the Daniels Fund informing applicants a letter with their fate was on the way.
“I put a lot of work into the application,” Palmer-Miller said. “I was still surprised I (received the scholarship), because it was really competitive.”
“We got an email two Mondays ago that said the letter is on the way,” Kelly said Tuesday. “That was a stressful four days. I checked the mailbox every day – but it didn’t come for four days.”
“The anticipation is killer,” Clay agreed.
The Petersons and Palmer-Miller all received good news, and each have decided upon their future alma mater.
“I’m going to go to the University of Wyoming and major in accounting,” Palmer-Miller said, adding she’s already completed beginner college accounting classes at THS. “I’m excited to (experience) the in-depth process it takes to get a degree. I’m excited to see how hard it can be and how I can get through it.”
“I just decided last night I’m going to attend the University of Washington in Seattle,” Clay said. “I’m not sure of my major.”
Kelly has not chosen a major yet, either, but plans to attend the University of Southern California.
“I’m looking forward to being independent on my own somewhere (outside of) Wyoming,” Kelly said.
“I just want to be happy and successful with whatever I end up doing, and comfortable later in life,” Clay added.
Each of the three local scholars credited their successful high school experiences to others and a drive to excel.
“A big part of the Daniels Fund is community service,” Palmer-Miller explained. “My success in (Future Business Leaders of America) is dedicated to (Kristi) McGuire. I didn’t expect to be in FBLA my sophomore year, and she pushed me to run for state office.
“I also know I want to succeed, so I drive myself to be the best I can,” she continued.
“Hard work and each other,” Clay said. “And our teachers, for sure – the staff here (at L-FL) is amazing.”
“Hard work and support from our parents,” Kelly said. “Being in the same class for the last five or six years has been helpful.”
With this year’s announcement, more than 3,950 students have received the Daniels Scholarship. At any given time, nearly 1,000 Daniels Scholars are attending more than 200 colleges and universities throughout the U.S., the press release states. Since 2000, more than $170 million in scholarships has been awarded through the Daniels Scholarship Program.
“These young people have demonstrated the character, leadership, and commitment to serving their communities that define a Daniels Scholar,” Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund, said. “Our goal is to help each of these scholars succeed in college and ultimately become independent, successful in a rewarding career, and actively engaged in their community.”
Motivated high school seniors graduating in 2018 are encouraged to visit DanielsFund.org this fall to apply online for the Daniels Scholarship Program.
The Petersons both highly recommended applying for the program.
“I want to tell people who are eligible for it to always make time to fill out the application,” Clay said. “Four years of free college vs. four hours of filling out an application is invaluable.”
“Apply even if you don’t think you qualify – you might be surprised,” Kelly said. “We’re super lucky we both got it.”
The Petersons are the sons of Clay and Valerie Peterson. Palmer-Miller is the daughter of Ben and Brenda Miller.
The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative. Visit DanielsFund.org to