Jill Wilkinson, a West Grand senior, has been granted the prestigious Boettcher Foundation Scholarship. Receiving the Boettcher is a tremendous honor. It marks the end of a full high school career, and the beginning of a promising future.
The Boettcher Foundation Scholarship is a merit- based scholarship and awarded to only 42 Colorado high school seniors. It provides tuition, books, and an annual stipend for each recipient. It pays for all college expenses for the student over a four year period. The scholarship is awarded to students who have excelled in academics and are in the top five percent of their graduating class.
Jill went through a strenuous selection process that weeded out the applicants in three stages. To begin, she completed a 21 page application that was very diverse. It touched on the arts, athletics and her community involvement. After applications were reviewed, the 1400 applicants were reduced to 300 students. Jill then submitted three letters of recommendation, and the applicants were reduced to 100 students. Interviews were the last stage. Jill interviewed with a panel of nine judges at the Boettcher Foundation in downtown Denver.
“The Boettcher Foundation’s scholarship selection process is competitive and rigorous,” said Tiffany Anderson, director of the scholarship program, “More than 1,400 of Colorado’s students apply each year. Jill really stood out with her accomplishments both in and out of the classroom. We’re proud to have her representing the Boettcher community.” Jill was a cross country runner for West Grand and won many awards in 4H and FFA. In FFA she was selected to play her alto saxophone in the National FFA Band, a 90piece orchestra. She was a state finalist in Horse Judging and in Environmental and Natural Resources. However during the interview process, Jill feels her fire training experience set her apart from other applicants. Jill has been a firefighter with the Kremmling Fire Protection District since she was 16. Throughout her training, she was able to attend vehicle accidents and structural fire calls. This summer Jill will continue her training in Craig, CO as part of the engine crew to fight wildland fires.
Interviewers were also intrigued by Jilly’s, the Wilkinson family business that carries her namesake. Jilly’s employs Jill, her mother, father, two brothers and her grandmother, and the interviewers were interested in the dynamics of family life in the work place. Jill is also involved in her father’s firework company, Fire in the Sky, that specializes in orchestrating firework displays for the 4 th of July and other celebrations.
Jill has committed to attend the University of Denver (DU). She is still deciding on a course of studies that ranges from biology, engineering, and international studies.
Jill says she committed to DU after a college visit and found the professors to be engaging and warm. She also noted that Boettcher scholars who attend DU have a sense of community and have unique experiences. The range of opportunities to study internationally also appealed to Jill.
After an 18 month mission with her church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Wilkinson will begin her studies in the fall of 2018. She will defer her scholarship until then.
The Boettcher Foundation Scholarship was established in 1952 and other Boettcher scholars who have graduated from West Grand include: Karen Knorr, Ed Opitz and Caitlyn Taussig.
Jill is the daughter of Ken and Kendra Wilkinson of Kremmling and has attended West Grand since kindergarten.