Early Summer Update 2024

Collaborative Members:
Bliss Bears, Wendell Trojans, Hagerman Pirates, Camas County Mushers, Glenns Ferry Pilots, Richfield Tigers, Shoshone Indians, Dietrich Blue Devils, Carey Panthers, Boise State University, College of Southern Idaho, and Idaho College Savings Program

“Thank you so much for inspiring our kids. I love hearing their conversations as they research and learn about the colleges and courses they are interested in. The scholarship opportunity is amazing, and we appreciate your efforts immensely.” 7th Grade ELA Teacher at Wendell School

“I truly appreciate that you are having these conversations with our students. I can see that my son is changing his mind and exploring more options when it comes to planning ahead in his college and career path. Thank you for helping in this endeavor.” 8th Grade Parent at Camas County School

Dear HDCC Friends and Supporters,

In leaving our final celebratory assemblies in Shoshone and Richfield, where we awarded the last of our 229 HDCC scholarships of $125 this spring, I was struck by the simple yet poignant act of celebrating early student aspirations to cultivate a love of learning and effort to do well in school. As a 6th grade teacher at Bliss reported, “I had a new student this year who has never won anything in her life. She was in tears with pride and happiness. Thank you, HDCC.”

HDCC’s scholarship program is principally focused on student effort: effort to do well in school, effort to see one’s education as a source of opportunity, and effort to pursue one’s dreams. Many of this spring’s scholarship recipients were selected, not because they were the top students and/or best writers, but because of the effort, thinking, and research reflected in their essay at their level of achievement. You and I know that effort is the engine behind “success” whether it’s in the classroom, on the stage, on the athletic field or basketball/volleyball court, in one’s 4H club, doing home chores, or holding a summer job. In this age of acceleration, applying a sustained and deliberate effort over time is an important message in our workshops and celebrations.

Thanks again for your continued support of HDCC’s mission to inspire students in rural Idaho to pursue educational opportunities beyond high school. Thanks to your generosity, in our first four years, we have allocated 661 aspirational scholarships to students in our nine collaborative school districts. Next year two of our first cohorts of 8th graders will be seniors. After they graduate, we look forward to tracking their aspirations and use of HDCC funds.

With great gratitude,

Bags Brokaw

6th grade student celebrating her HDCC award with her family at Dietrich School
4th grader at Bliss receiving his award

Grades 5-8 Aspirational Workshops

During the winter season, we hosted 35 aspirational workshops in our collaborative schools. The workshop’s curriculum is sequential, building on the prior year’s programming. As in the past, we incorporated college student-athletes from Boise State University and College of Southern Idaho (community college in Twin Falls) into our Y3 workshops via Zoom. It is truly enlightening and heartwarming to listen to the college students speak of their personal journey through middle and high school and how they, too, arrived at their point of academic and/or career focus. The interaction between the middle schoolers and college mentors is uplifting, and questions range from how did you choose your college or major to what it is like to leave home and live in a dorm.

As this BSU senior wrote in a follow-up email, the conversations are worthwhile on both sides of the Zoom: “Hi Bags: We truly are the ones thankful to have had the opportunity to talk to your 7th graders. It was great for reflection, and I hope your students got something out of it 🙂 Thank you, and I wish you all the best, BSU Senior.”

Middle School comments on HDCC workshops this winter:

  • “I learned that even if you don’t know what you’re gonna do in the future, there are so many options to choose from.”
  • “I have to take my first year in high school seriously and get off to a strong start with my GPA.”
  • “I can run my own ranch and that I could have my own company.”
  • “I learned that college is a good thing and that more people go to college.”
  • “I learned that we all have important things to do in order to get into any kind of college and that doing well in high school will open up many scholarship opportunities.”
  • “I learned that the future is ours to make.”
  • “The workshop has sparked my thinking about the future. Since then, I have thought about my interests/options multiple times.” 
  • “It really got me to think about what I wanted to do in college.”
Aspirational Workshops with Bags and BSU students at Hagerman, Richfield, and Dietrich

College Aspirations Scholarship Application

This year HDCC added three alternative application options for students in grades 6-8 who had previously won a scholarship: (1) Research a college major you know little to nothing about (from the HDCC resource poster), (2) interview a high school senior, or  (3) interview a college student or college graduate (Interview questions are provided to assist the interviewers). The students reported that they really enjoyed the freedom of choice, and the scholarship review committees were very impressed with the degree to which student applicants pursued those options.

Excerpts from student scholarship essays:

“It is possible that I could become a horse trainer, because I have always loved working with horses. Ever since I was little I have been riding horses. I have always loved taking them in the hills. The main reason I want to train horses is because when I was seven years old, I was riding a not so broken horse who threw me off, stepped on my leg, and nearly broke it. Ever since I knew that I should train horses so no one gets hurt riding an unbroken horse. I think training horses is a great career for me.” 6th grade student at Dietrich School

“Growing up with parents who came from Mexico helped me pick what I want to do as a career. They would tell me stories about when they were in Mexico, about family members and what they did when they were there. These stories made me happy when I heard them. I wanted to meet some of the family members they would talk about, but they couldn’t come. Until the first time in Mexico when my dad became a citizen of America. My mom would tell me about how she wanted to finish school. When they tell me those stories, it makes me happy and sets me on to what I want to do. I want to be an immigration lawyer (or a teacher), because I can fill out visa forms for families who want to reunite with family or want to go to Mexico to see family.” 6th grader at Wendell Middle School

“The interview (of a college graduate) really made me think about how I can further my aspirations by narrowing down what kind of degree I want. I know I want a degree in mechanical engineering. I also know what I want to do with that degree. But I don’t know if I can get a very specific degree that has to deal with exactly what I want to do. And that is precisely why this interview has been so beneficial to me.” 8th grader at Richfield School

‘What inspires me the most to go to college? I want to be successful for my parents and I want to be the older sibling who my younger siblings look up to. I want to set a good example for them and achieve my goals.” 8th grader at Bliss School

“Something that I enjoy today that might make a good career for me in the future is reading. I am also good at it if I do say so myself. A career that would be a good match is a mythologist. I am interested in becoming a mythologist because I am curious about what it was like back then. I also like reading about it. I have always thought of mythology as something that is very interesting and would be fun to study. In particular, Greek and Roman Mythology is fascinating to me.”  6th grader at Glenns Ferry School.

Proud parents and grandparents at Dietrich School

HDCC Scholarship Review Committees

In the spring, HDCC hosts scholarship review committees in each collaborative school made up of teachers, administrators, students, and community members. We typically raise funds for 25 scholarships per school. This year we had 380 applicants total. In our decision-making, we strive to balance grade levels, gender, ethnicity, special needs (IEP, 504 Plan), family circumstances, and overall effort in school. Most importantly, our goal is to celebrate effort and help to raise aspirations.

Review Committees at Glenns Ferry and Hagerman

Year-End Assembly Celebrations

How many of us can recall a moment in our earlier education and/or lives where we were recognized for something? HDCC believes celebrating students’ hard work, sustained effort, and character are core tenets to a more promising future.

Camas and Wendell Award Assemblies
Hagerman and Carey Award Assemblies
Shoshone and Dietrich Award Assemblies
Bliss Award Assembly

Thank you again for your support and interest in HDCC. For our nine rural school communities, your involvement honors why rural communities matter and how we can all help to elevate student aspirations one small town at a time.

Have a wonderful summer, and I look forward to reconnecting in the fall as we launch Year Five.

Support HDCC

If you are interested in supporting HDCC’s continued growth and efforts, please know that your contribution is tax-deductible through our partnership with Sun Valley Community School.