With the number of impressive student applications growing each year, this year The Rogers Foundation decided to increase the amount of college scholarships awarded and presented the largest amount ever, more than $3 million in life-changing college scholarships to 36 local high school seniors.
Revealed in a combination of in-person surprises and virtually on Facebook Live, The Rogers Foundation presented Rogers Achievers Scholarships ranging from $20,000 - $100,000 valid toward educational costs at any college or university in the United States and 16 full-ride scholarships to Kentucky Wesleyan College, an institution many of Jim Rogers' family members attended which also features one of the top arts programs in the area. Additionally, two new Susan Tierney Fine Arts Scholarships were awarded this year totaling $60,000 and for the second year in a row, a Dean Madsen Writing Scholarship was awarded.
“Each year we see an impressive group of students but this year they really blew us away. Despite the challenges these students faced, they not only persevered but have excelled and thrived,” said Rory Reid, Chief Executive Officer of The Rogers Foundation. “They’ve continued to dream about their futures and about the ways they’ll make this world better. That’s why The Rogers Foundation decided to increase the amount that we planned to award because these students deserve the opportunity to pursue their goals of higher education and to be celebrated.”
Over the past several months, hundreds of southern Nevada students applied for the scholarships. After reading through every application, The Rogers Foundation narrowed the pool down and conducted dozens of interviews with the students to determine the top finalists.
In a fun new twist, this year The Rogers Foundation decided to surprise several of the winners in-person in advance and then revealed all scholarship winners during a Facebook Live virtual presentation.
“This is our favorite time of year as we get to fulfill our ongoing pledge to transform lives through arts and education,” said Chairman of the Board of The Rogers Foundation, Beverly Rogers. “These students are impressive on paper and even more remarkable when you meet them in person. It is clear that they are future leaders who will make a positive impact on the world. We can’t wait to see what they do. These scholarships honor the legacy of my husband, Jim, who was a determined and tireless champion of education and he’d be so proud of these students.”
The Facebook Live virtual presentation of awards began with video showing the students who were surprised in advance in-person.
“Seeing the look on the faces of these deserving students when we surprised them was so rewarding,” said Michelle Sanders, Executive Vice President, and COO for The Rogers Foundation. “We felt a little bad making them believe they were coming for a second interview, but it was worth it just to be able to look them in the eye and tell them they won.”
The presentation continued with Sanders revealing the 16 Kentucky Wesleyan Rogers’ Fellows scholarship winners explaining that each recipient receives a four-year, full-ride scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan College which includes tuition, books, housing, and meals.
Kentucky Wesleyan College Full-Ride Scholarship Winners:
Easton Leech, Northwest Career Technical Academy
Emilee Perone-Grigsby, Ed W. Clark High School
Estefanny Garcia Martinez, Bonanza High School
Ethan Petrosky, Desert Oasis High School
Grace Vazquez-Rodriguez, Desert Oasis High School
Harrison Stanley, Sierra Vista High School
Hayden McDermott, Somerset Sky Pointe
I'Janae Williams, Rancho High School
Jacob Wigger, Pinecrest Academy of Nevada Cadence & CSN
Meahel Heard-Pitra, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
Nyree Walton, Rancho High School
Raffa Gano, Valley High School
Reagan Parise, Basic Academy of International Studies
Talayeh Rush, Southeast Career Technical Academy
Weston Petty, Ed W. Clark High School
Yatziry Gallegos, Valley High School
Cindy Madsen Reid revealed that Eden Adebe was the winner of the Dean Madsen Writing Scholarship in honor of her father. For the first time ever, Beverly Rogers awarded Eli Fritch and Gildardo Ayala Susan Tierney Fine Arts Scholarships.
During the virtual awards, Sanders also announced Rogers Achievers Scholarships and revealed that this year the Foundation was awarding two of the top $100,000 Rogers Achievers scholarships instead of the planned one $100,000 award.
Rogers Foundation Achievers Scholarship Winners:
Aida Garcia, West Preparatory Academy
Alison Guevara Bermudez, Nevada State College
Deonna Howard, Desert Pines High School
Gabriela Ocampo, West Preparatory Academy
Josue Ramirez, Advanced Technologies Academy
Megan Lea, Coronado High School
Miguel Torres, Spring Valley High School
Nikolas Zappia, Desert Oaisis High School
Ashley Vasquez Romo, Basic Academy of International Studies
Dre Boyd-Weatherly, Valley High School
Eden Abebe, Southeast Career Technical Academy
Emilia Dang, Coronado High School
Joshua Soto, Advanced Technologies Academy
Leo Chen, Coronado High School
Tsion Gebre, Rancho High School
Yixi Yang, Palo Verde High School
Jang Choe, Ed W. Clark High School
Naika Belizaire, Advanced Technologies Academy