Local students earn scholarships

RBC — Matthew Herrera of Rangely High School and Hope Merritt of Meeker High School both earned a 2008 EnCana High School Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement, strong commitment to the community and determination to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry.
Herrera and Merrit will each receive $2,500 annually for up to four years, totaling $10,000 for their respective college educations.
EnCana scholarships are awarded annually to one graduating student in each school district within an EnCana area of operation pursuing a degree in engineering, geology or geophysics.
Last year, EnCana expanded its scholarship program to include technical or trade programs related to the oil and gas industry. Previously, the scholarship program was only intended for four-year schools, however, the natural gas industry is constantly growing and in need of highly skilled and trained workers. Trade professions such as production technology, heavy equipment operator or land administration require a two-year degree.
With a knack for problem solving and a passion for building things, Herrera will pursue an engineering degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. “I have decided to go into engineering because I like to work with my hands and see things created,” Herrera said. “I want to be part of a creation that is going to better something or someone else’s life.”
“What really impresses me about Mr. Herrera is his ability to work with others and his amiable demeanor,” said Jeff Miller, biology/chemistry/physics teacher at Rangely High School. “He likes people and can get along with anyone. He exhibits this behavior via helping, caring and cooperative disposition of tasks.”
Ranked in the top 10 percent of his class, Herrera graduated with a 3.75 grade point average. Outside of the classroom, he is active in Rangely High School’s bridge building club where his team competed in the state bridge building competition and took third place.
Merritt’s interest in the sciences and her father’s career in the oil and gas industry led her to pursue a degree in engineering at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. “Moving from a big city like Houston to the small, rural town of Meeker, Colo., has allowed me insight into my strength of character, understanding of others and the ability to experience change with a positive outlook,” Merritt said. “I am determined, both mentally and physically, to reach my academic goals.”
“Hope is a young lady who could represent the state of Colorado and our great nation with integrity, patriotism and honor,” said Cheri Wyness Robinson, language instructor at Meeker High School. “Hope has made it clear that she values education and the people of her country above most things in her life.”
Merritt was graduated with a 3.4 grade point average. As a volunteer for the United Methodist Army, a program that assists struggling Americans to improve their lives, she built wheelchair ramps for the disabled, repaired hurricane damaged homes and cleaned the homes of Alzheimer patients. She was also a member of Meeker High School’s cross-country team.
“Our scholarship program offers high school students a way to advance their education,” said Fred Slagle, EnCana production coordinator. “Our industry is in need of bright young people who can help us meet the energy demands of our community and our country, and we are happy to do it.”
The scholarship is awarded directly to the student, and can be used for any college-related financial need.