Bianca Gonzales Earns Prestigious Daniels Scholarship
As a freshman, Bianca Gonzales walked into Lake County High School already having her sights set high. At her first meeting with Acacia Fike-Nelson, who was her advisor in Upward Bound, Bianca said that she wanted to attend a prestigious college and that her classes were too easy. “I was always looking for a challenge,” noted Bianca. Acacia helped to enroll her in the dual enrollment program through Colorado Mountain College (CMC) and set her on a path to earn an Associates Degree as a junior in high school.
Bianca also knew that she wanted to be involved in many activities at LCHS right away. During her fours years, she has been a leader on Student Senate and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). She also volunteered two night a week in the local community as a GED tutor at CMC. She was a member of Link Crew, a program that mentored freshman. Bianca has been part of the cheerleading team and as a counselor to 6th graders at their outdoor education camp.
Roxie Aldaz, who taught Bianca in business classes and was the faculty sponsor in Future Business Leaders of America, remarked about Bianca, “Sometimes women are more concerned with beauty than brains; [Bianca] has her priorities straight.”
Bianca’s high school career also included two semesters away from Lake County High School. She spent the fall of her junior year at the local High Mountain Institute (HMI) and the fall of her senior year at City Term in New York City. “I always knew that I wanted to do something different with high school. Those two programs were my way to explore the world.”
Through these experiences, Bianca grew as a student and a person. “I feel like I discovered pieces of myself at those places that I wouldn’t have discovered if I stayed here. At HMI, I learned that I love the outdoors. I figured out who I actually was. At HMI, they were very focused on community, so there I was able to build relationships with others. At City Term, I became more independent. When I first got [to New York City], I couldn’t travel by myself. I was so scared to be alone anywhere. By the end, it felt nice to be by myself.”
This spring, Bianca was named a Daniels Scholar, a recognition given to 218 high-achieving students in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico who demonstrate exceptional character, leadership, and a commitment to serving their communities. The associated scholarship will pay for all costs to attend any college or university in the country. Bianca is the only Daniels Scholar this year from Lake, Chaffee, Summit, and Eagle counties.
Bianca will attend Georgetown University in Washington, DC this fall. She plans to major in Political Science and Creative Writing. Although Bianca applied to thirty colleges and universities around the country, Georgetown rose to the top of her list. “The location is perfect for what I want to do with my life because it is very politically involved. The campus is a mix of city and outdoors, which is a mix of me.”
In addition, the Daniels Fund program provides support, mentorship, and a network of other Daniels Scholars to connect with. “I’m excited for the network. The money part is nice, but they offer a lot of support for freshman. They have two Daniels Scholars at Georgetown right now. The support that they offer will be the best thing.”
Bianca remarked that, “my family has been my biggest supporter. When I left [to attend HMI and CityTerm] they probably weren’t very happy, but they have always been supportive.” Bianca’s family includes her mother Vianca, her father Alberto, and her little brother Abel.
In addition, Bianca is grateful for the support and guidance that Acacia Fike-Nelson, Roxie Aldaz, Kelly Hofer, precollegiate coordinator, Karl Remsen, advisor, Kelli McCall, CMC professor and GED tutoring coordinator, and the teachers at Lake County, HMI, and CityTerm all provided along the way.
Bianca already has lofty goals after she graduates Georgetown. She plans to be a Rhodes Scholar and study at Oxford, and then she will attend law school in order to become a civil rights attorney. She would like to work in government and has mentioned becoming a senator. Eventually, she also wants to publish her own novel. Given her history here in Lake County, it seems like only a matter of time before Bianca has accomplished all of her goals.