“We are over-the-moon proud,” says Colorado Academy College Counselor Sara Purviance about CA Senior Walt Jones, who has been named a recipient of the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship. “It is a truly extraordinary honor,” she says.
The coveted award is one of the oldest and most prestigious merit-based scholarships in the State of Colorado. It covers the cost of a student’s tuition, fees, and books for eight semesters at a four-year Colorado university or college. Boettcher Scholars, on average, are in the top two percent of their class and exhibit their strengths through leadership and service. Each year, 42 high school seniors from across the state receive this honor. He is CA’s first Boettcher Scholar since 2005.
The award is the culmination of a rigorous and time-intensive application procedure coincident with the college process. Applications were due in the Fall. For those chosen to continue through the process, the culminating event is a group interview before a panel of adults. “This was a panel of eight of the most well-respected and incredible people,” says Jones. He was able to draw upon the expertise of Upper School Principal Dr. Jon Vogels, who was also named a Boettcher Scholar as a high school senior, but also on Jones’s many experiences as a CA student. “As soon as they started asking me questions, I realized that all the training I did in Mock Trial was really preparation for how to talk to people.”
The activities and qualities key to this award
Mock Trial was just one of the many extracurricular activities Jones explored during his four years at CA. He has been Co-President of CA’s Amnesty International Club and also an intern with the organization. He also took part in theater productions—both on stage and as part of the technical theater crew—played the cello, competed on the Rock Climbing and Cross-Country teams, took up Chinese, and traveled to China twice. Jones’s propensity for new experiences has led him to design an impressive gap year before attending Colorado College in the Fall of 2021, where he’ll also be a member of CC’s Cross-Country Team.
Beginning this Summer, Jones will volunteer with the Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association in Colorado’s high country. As part of his gap year, he also will take a Wilderness Medicine and Rescue course through the National Outdoor Leadership School. Finally, international travel permitting, he’ll wrap up his gap year living and working on farms in New Zealand through WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
Perhaps most impressive, though, is this student’s down-to-earth nature, gratitude, and humility. Again, College Counselor Sara Purviance: “Walt was humble, intentional, and thoughtful during his college application process….He let his deep self-awareness, intuition, and care and curiosity about the world guide him every step of the way.” One of Jones’s teachers says of him, “He is driven and creative; he sets lofty goals and often hits his mark.”
A peer says, “What makes Walt unique is how he cares, and how much he cares. Whether it is with people or ideas, Walt allows his convictions to fill his entire heart. People are drawn to him because they feel the passion he wields. People gravitate towards his conviction, because they want to be cared for with that heart that beats so hard for the people he loves.”
Coping with COVID-19
For his part, Jones has taken the campus closure due to COVID-19 to spend time with some of those people he loves, including his parents and two siblings. “My family is always joking that this is the most they’ve seen me in four years. I think that makes me wonder if I missed out on the family front, being so busy.” He says, during coronavirus social distancing, it has been nice to slow down and recognize that, “At least I have my family and great school.”
School, specifically Colorado Academy, says Jones, is what spurred him to pursue the Boettcher Scholarship. “I feel very fortunate to have gone to a school where I have had endless opportunities to do really cool things, and CA has provided me all of these chances I wouldn’t have had elsewhere.”
Jones’s opportunities will only expand by being part of the Boettcher Scholar network. Boettcher alumni number in the thousands, some of whom he has already met. “These are really smart and interesting people who go on to do incredible things.”
And, the Boettcher Foundation’s emphasis is on keeping these incredible people in Colorado. Says the foundation’s Director of Programs Tiffany Anderson, “Walt Jones really stood out with his commitment both in and out of the classroom. We’re proud to have him representing the Boettcher community, and we look forward to seeing how his future leadership impacts the State.”