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Two District 6 Students Named Boettcher Scholars

Two seniors attending Greeley-Evans School District 6 high schools have been selected to receive the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship.

Boettcher Scholar Winner Herminia Bocanegra 2022

Herminia Bocanegra, a senior at Northridge High School, and Yahir Chairez-Salazar, a senior at Greeley Central High School, were recently informed they have been named Boettcher scholars, a highly competitive scholarship program that includes a lengthy application process, writing three essays, personal interviews and multiple letters of recommendation.


“I am completely overwhelmed about the scholarship,” Chairez-Salazar said. “All my stress just rolled from my shoulders.”


“I was so excited,” Bocanegra said. “My mom was like, ‘I knew you had this in the bag.” It just means so much to me and my family.”


The Boettcher Foundation awards 40 scholarships per year that pay the full cost of tuition at any four-year college or university in Colorado, as well as fees, a book allowance and an annual stipend for living expenses. Thousands of students undergo a rigorous application and interview process to compete for this prestigious award. Students are selected based on their superior scholastic abilities, evidence of leadership and involvement, service to the community and their school, and outstanding character.


Both Bocanegra and Chairez-Salazar are children of parents who immigrated from Mexico. They both said their parents had to work very hard to provide for their families. They are also among the first in their families to graduate high school and attend college.


And both said the Boettcher Scholarship will help them attain a college education that their families would have struggled to provide financially. But, they added, receiving this prestigious scholarship is means more than just the financial support.


“It’s more than the money,” Chairez-Salazar said. “This gives me the opportunity to pay back everyone who has supported me – my family, my teachers, my coaches, former teachers and coaches – everyone.”


“It means a lot, but it goes beyond the economic help,” Bocanegra said. “It really is a symbol of inspiration for younger girls, much like me, that they can do this, too.”


Yahir Chairez-Salazar Boettcher Scholar Winner 2022

Bocanegra and Chairez-Salazar are both very involved at their high schools and in the community. Bocanegra participates in National Honor Society, Student Council and Key Club, working on many community service projects through that organization.


Chairez-Salazar has played football for four years, starting as a varsity player as a freshman, has wrestled for four years and runs track. He is serving as the National Honor Society president this year, and is a member of Best Buddies, an organization that pairs able-bodied students with students who have intellectual disabilities for social and academic activities at school.


Both Bocanegra and Chairez-Salazar plan to use the Boettcher Scholarship to attend the Colorado School of Mines to study engineering.