Community gives 103 scholarships
On Thursday, Dana Ardovino, of Park City High School presided over the Community Scholarship Awards Ceremony in which 103 students sat waiting to find if they would be awarded any of the scholarships totaling more than $150,000.
"This is the year of the angels," Ardovino said during her opening remarks. "You are truly angels who are making a real difference in the lives of recipients. You are helping make their college dreams come true."
Two students were honored with multiple scholarships for overcoming daunting personal obstacles.
"I’m just shocked," said Jeannine Atherton after she received a scholarship from the Altman Family, covering her entire college education.
After moving to Park City with her mother, Atherton got involved with methamphetamine. She became a heavy user, ending up in two rehabilitation facilities.
Atherton is strong-willed.
She has been drug-free for one and one half years. But she said it is not easy. Atherton said cravings never go away. "Ninety-five percent of former (methamphetamine) users relapse," she said. "It’s pretty difficult. I still have nightmares. It will never go away." She took on double shifts at her job as a banquet server. For one thing, she had no money. More importantly, she knew that having extra time on her hands with her friends was a bad idea.
She moved to Midway two months ago, because she could not afford to live in Park City, and she wanted a fresh start. She has no car, so she gets rides with friends to Park City High School to finish her senior year. She wants no sympathy and wants to talk about the present and future and with reluctance ties it in with the past.
Atherton doesn’t know where she will go to college because she never expected to be able to attend college because of the financial situation.
Suddenly finding she will be able to attend college after all, she is already thinking about going to Utah Valley University, Heber campus to eventually help others with the career she chooses.
Kitty Altman said that her family was sponsoring a scholarship for a student with learning disabilities at the time, when she learned of Atherton. "That kid has been through a lot," she said. "I talked with my husband Russ. We said, why not just pay for her entire education?"
Ardovino said of Altman, "she’s the biggest angel of them all."
Jose Santana had not had the easiest of lives, and the creators of the "back to our roots scholarship, Jake Doilney, Brodie Pollard, Brian Worley and Tommy Tanzer wanted to do something to help.
"Jose’s grandfather taught him to raise corn. He worked multiple jobs since he was eight," Doilney said. "Jose is so honest, so full of hope, even though he hasn’t had the means to get where he wants to go. Thanks to the scholarship, Jose is now planning to attend college.
Brian Jenkins presented the Park City Painting Contractor’s Award to six students. He said Fred Marshall started the scholarship 20 years earlier, and fellow painting contractors have gotten involved. "We realize there is a need," Jenkins said. "Some wouldn’t be able to get an education. As contractors, we benefit from our community, and this is our way of giving back."
After the awards, Ardovino said "I know for some students it will mean the difference between getting a college education or not. They learn from getting a scholarship they are worthy and find that if they ask for help, they just might it. These students are just amazing."
Atherton said of Ardovino, "One person I can truly say thank you to is Dana. She believed in me. She made this possible."
Anita Lewis, Brent Ovard and Travis English were influential in shaping how residents interact with the county.