YODER – Of the 1,850 students who applied for the Daniels Scholarship Program this year, 218 were successful – thanks to their exceptional character, leadership, and commitment to the community. Southeast High School senior Bridger Stoddard is among the 11 percent across four states who received the distinct honor, including one of 27 in Wyoming, and the only 2019 Daniels Scholar in Goshen County.
Stoddard, son of Tony and Cathy, grew up in LaGrange. He went to elementary school there and began attending Southeast Schools in junior high.
He submitted his application for the Daniels Scholarship Program online earlier this school year, and found out he had made the first cut to earn a face-to-face interview in early March.
“I went to Laramie,” Stoddard explained. “A panel of three different judges asked me a variety of questions (for about 20 minutes).
“It was a stressful experience – it was exciting – but definitely, it was stressful.”
At the end of March, Stoddard received a package in the mail from the Daniels Fund Scholarship program congratulating him on his award.
“I wasn’t exactly expecting to get it,” he said. “I was nervous as to whether I was going to get it.”
Daniels Scholars may attend any accredited nonprofit college or university in the United States. The program covers the educational expenses that remain after any other scholarships, financial aid, and the Expected Family Contribution have been applied.
“I’m planning on going to the University of Northwestern Ohio … and get a bachelor’s degree in business and technical training in high-performance motorsports and diesel mechanics,” Stoddard said, adding his plans after college include working in an existing shop, or opening his own on his family’s 2,000-acre ranch near LaGrange.
“It just kind of depends what kind of opportunities come through,” he said.
The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative, according to a press release.
“We’re excited to welcome these impressive young people into the family of Daniels Scholars,” Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund, said. “Our goal is to help each of these scholars succeed in college and ultimately become independent, successful in a rewarding career, and actively engaged in their community.”
With this year’s announcement, 4,168 students have received the Daniels Scholarship. At any given time, nearly 1,000 Daniels Scholars are attending more than 200 colleges and universities throughout the United States. Since 2000, $188 million in scholarships has been awarded through the Daniels Scholarship Program.
“I’d like to say thank you to my mom,” Stoddard said. “She did a lot of helping me through the application and meeting deadlines.”
Motivated high school seniors graduating in 2020 are encouraged to visit DanielsFund.org this fall to apply online for the Daniels Scholarship Program.
“My advice would probably be to just put your best effort in, and be you,” Stoddard said of future Daniels Scholars hopefuls.