Boettcher and Daniels Scholarship Finalist


Stella Veazey, Staff Reporter

This time of year is an eventful one for our Salida High School seniors. With high school graduation on the horizon, and answers from colleges trickling in, SHS seniors are very busy. Competition for college acceptance letters and scholarship awards make the year stressful and scary. However, all the seniors this year have done amazing and a few have done some outstanding things. Vander Ritchie is a finalist for the Daniels Foundation Scholarship. Similarly, Elijah Wilcox is a finalist for the Boettcher Scholarship. 

Wilcox is a Spartan cross country runner and a team captain. He is also the president of Interact Club and the founder of the Nexus Spanish Program at the elementary school. He is a finalist for the Boettcher Scholarship which if won, pays for eight semesters of college at any approved Colorado university. So far, he has gone through two stages of the rigorous application process. 

“It’s a very whole person examination. It takes a lot more than just an afternoon to fill out. At the second stage you need letters of recommendations. My recs were able to push me on to that next stage and I’m very grateful for that,” said Wilcox.


Next, Wilcox will have an in-person interview in mid-March. As a Boettcher finalist, he is already getting recognition from universities. 

“At the semi-final stage, you’re already getting recognition from colleges like DU, Mines, stuff like that,” commented Wilcox.

If he wins the Boettcher, Wilcox would like to attend University of Colorado, Boulder and major in aerospace engineering. If not, he is also interested in Georgia Tech and University of Alabama, Huntsville, both of which he has been accepted to. Either way, Wilcox is grateful he’s made it this far. 

“I am very fortunate to be in this stage,” he said.

For anyone interested in applying to the Boettcher in future years, Wilcox thinks that his leadership opportunities and volunteer action are what gave him a leg up. 

“They really appreciate your ability to serve others,” said Wilcox.

Ritchie, also an SHS senior, is a finalist for the Daniels Foundation Scholarship, which awards around $25,000 a year. Ritchie is an actor for the SHS drama team, president of the SHS Gay Straight Alliance, and hosts his own radio show on kHEN. He wants to pursue a double major in political science and theater. Ritchie has applied to 29 colleges and has been accepted into many of them such as University of Michigan, Ann Arbour and the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

Ritchie also found his application process to be up-close and personal. He had to write three 600-word essays, answer many personal questions and provide two letters of recommendation. Ritchie did not expect to get this far in the process, but is very excited.

“Honestly, I thought I would be a better candidate for the Boettcher, which I wasn’t even a quarter finalist for,” said Ritchie.

Richie wishes he would have started working on applications the summer before his senior year. 

“It is way more work than you are expecting […] start as early as you can. I made the mistake of waiting until October to start working on applications and I was very stressed, even though most applications open in the summer.” 

Both Wilcox and Ritchie have interesting futures lined up. If they win the Boettcher and Daniels respectively, it will help them pay for their future education. After a stressful half year of applications, Ritchie and Wilcox are excited for what is to come in the next half a year.