The Saratoga Sun -

Tigers earn Daniels Fund Scholarships


Graduating Encampment High School (EHS) seniors Gale Jackson and Cassidy Little have been selected to receive Daniels Fund Scholarships this year. The Daniels Fund provides financial aid to students who graduated from high school in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico or Wyoming and can demonstrate financial need.

According to the organization’s website, other selection criteria for scholarship recipients include an ACT score of 17 or higher in each category of the test (math, reading, writing and science) or an SAT score of greater than 400 in math and 440 in reading.

The website describes the award as highly competitive, and says that after an initial screening of applications, finalists are selected to be interviewed by community members.

For Jackson and Little, that meant that after they received email notification that they’d been chosen as finalists, they had to schedule appointments in Laramie. In Laramie, each went before a panel of five judges for an intensive 30-minute interview.

“The Daniels Fund is a lot about character and service, so they ask you questions about yourself and your plans to better the future,” Little said of the process. Jackson largely agreed with that description, adding that the panel of judges was composed of former scholarship recipients and meant to be anonymous.

Both recent graduates said they thought their community service factored into their selection as Daniels Fund Scholars.

Jackson said that after school, he would volunteer at the Jackson also mentioned his participation in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and 4H, saying he had done a variety of projects to better the Valley with those groups.

Little spoke of mentoring other students at the Encampment School, and also doing various community beautification projects in area parks. Little was also awarded the Gold Medal tier of the Congressional Award for doing over 400 hours of service, and said she thought “(that) helps because they know you’ll keep doing that service throughout your life.”

In the fall, Jackson will be attending Northwest College of Wyoming in Powell. There, he hopes to obtain his private and commercial pilot licenses before transferring to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to pursue a degree in Aviation Mechanics. Between a U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant and the Daniels Fund, Jackson said his educational expenses will be minimal.

For Little, autumn will auger a move to Laramie, where she will be enrolled at the University of Wyoming (UW). Perhaps reflected in her mentorship of younger students the Encampment K-12 School, Little plans on studying elementary education at UW. Because UW is a Daniels Fund “partner school,” Little will essentially be getting a full ride there as long as she keeps her GPA within levels prescribed by the award.

“I’m pretty excited – I know a lot of people who have gone there and say they love it,” she said. Whatever may come, both young people have plenty to be excited about as they embark on their own journeys of learning and discovery away from home for the first time.


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