Rangely grad wins state Masonic scholarship

RANGELY | Dedication, hard work and charismatic interpersonal skills are key to achieving your dreams. These guiding principles are what make our country and communities great. When you meet Autumn Curdy of Rangely, it is easy to see these traits reflected in her character. She exemplifies the character that can overcome adversity to succeed.

Curdy moved to Rangely the summer before her freshman year and graduated from Rangely High School this May. During her high school experience, she participated in Executive Council, worked at the California Wok restaurant and the Rangely Health and Wellness Center, and earned 24 credits at CNCC, taking general education courses to jumpstart her higher education career. These achievements helped to become the first to attend college in her family and earn a four-year Colorado Masonic Scholarship.

Family love is enduring in the Curdy family. Autumn was born and raised in Colorado. She began her journey in Boulder, Colorado, where she was born to her mom Sabrina and her older brother and sister. Autumn cited her older sister as one of her top role models and shared that since she will be the first in her family to attend college, she hopes to set a positive example for her younger brother. Her mother, Sabrina, who was adopted from Vietnam, is deaf, and is an avid gardener. Her stepfather is also deaf and hails from Colorado Springs. Because her mom is deaf, Autumn learned sign language from the beginning of her speech development and occasionally helps her parents communicate with people. She held off the news of her scholarship award until awards night when her family could watch her receive the award. Her parents are incredibly proud of her and grateful for the opportunities the Masonic scholarship will open to help her continue working towards her dreams. She describes how her family cheers her on and how they work together in life.

Autumn is a hard worker; she started working at 14 to help contribute to the family. She gained valuable interpersonal skills that she is grateful to have and uses the most frequently. Ms. Higgins, the art teacher at RHS, was most influential in Autumn’s high school career. Autumn cites her classroom as a safe space where she could find peace and comfort as she strove toward her goals.

The Colorado Masonic Scholarship is an annual award from the Colorado Masonic Benevolent Fund Association, which awards the scholarships to graduating high school students who show exemplary character and hard work in addition to extraordinary life challenges. Scholarships are not the only purpose of the Masons, and it has a history longer than some statehoods in uplifting people. Qualifying students are community-oriented, and the opportunity to earn this scholarship will substantially impact the family and their future. Masonry builds on the foundation that hard work and focus are how you achieve your goals. The scholarship fund offers a few possibilities: one-time vocational awards, up to $7,500/year, and $30,000 for four years. There have been several award winners in past years from Rio Blanco County. School counselors are often paramount to helping students know how and where to find scholarships to apply for and direct eligible students to the Colorado Masonic Scholarship. Masonic lodges operate on a state-by-state platform and then in smaller lodges by area. They aim to encourage positive character development and give back to the community. The Rio Blanco Masonic Lodge #80 AFAM is assigned to Rangely and Meeker.

Kevin Amack stated, “It was the highlight of the year to receive the call that a local student won the scholarship.” Master Steve Coley was particularly impressed with Autumn and her dedication to her studies and goals. He describes how he was impressed by her presentation and helped her polish her written essay to highlight her brightest qualities. Steve and his daughter Grace have further assisted Autumn with career and educational coaching and are very much in her corner as she steps into the world. Steve also encouraged Autumn to share the scholarship news and its potential through her sign language skills with her parents at the award night.

Like most young people on the cusp of heading to college, Autumn is full of hope and ambition. Autumn is looking forward to a vacation in Mexico with her sister and grandmother to celebrate her achievements. In the fall, she will head to the University of Colorado—Denver to pursue her higher education. Her original plans were to study law, but her experience in housekeeping at Rangely Health and Wellness Center (formally Rangely District Hospital) has inspired her to become passionate about healthcare. “Nothing is set in stone,” is her current philosophy.

Congratulations, Autumn! You have worked hard to earn this award, and your future looks bright.

By KATIE KING | Special to The Herald Times

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