Ashlyn McKenna Hess, Walter Ely Scholarship Winner


Ely Memorial Scholarship Recipient Ashlyn Hess

Ely Memorial Scholarship Recipient Ashlyn Hess


Ashlyn McKenna Hess is this year’s recipient of the Walter Ely Memorial Scholarship which was presented to the Holly senior Monday, June 16 at the SDS, Southeast Development Services, offices in Lamar.  Each year, since Walter Ely’s death, a $500 scholarship has been presented by SDS to area high school seniors based on their submitted written theme.

SDS  Board of Directors

SDS Board of Directors

This year’s submission from Ashlyn Hess, selected by the SDS board is as follows:

My name is Ashlyn Hess and I am a senior at Holly High School.  In regards to why I would be a good candidate for the Walter Ely Memorial Scholarship?  I have been a self-driven person my whole entire life.  From a very young age I have always known that I wanted to be a nurse.  Through experience I have dealt with in life with my family, I had up-close, personal opportunities to see what a caregiver is.  From these experiences convinced me that my place in life is to be in the medical field.  As I am approaching the end of my senior year, my desire of earning a post-secondary educational degree in nursing is more evident now that ever.

When I attend college in the fall of 2014, I will need one year to complete my Associates of Science degree. I will then be able to enter into the nursing program at Lamar Community College to begin the journey of becoming a Registered Nurse, and then continuing my education to receive my Bachelor (BSN) from UCCS – Colorado Springs.  As I stated earlier I am very driven, I have worked very hard to get myself prepared for my future goals.  My parents taught me at an early age, that if you want to do something anything is achievable as long as you give it your 100%.  I feel that I have done that so far.  My GPA is 3.88% and I am currently ranked 4th in my class.

I take a substantial amount of pride in not only my academics but athletics as well.  I have been very active in many activities throughout my high school years.  I have participated in volleyball, basketball and track all four years.  With participating in these sports I have held leadership positions by being a team captain.  I have also been named All-Conference teams for volleyball and basketball, and have been the school MVP for volleyball and track.  Being involved in athletics has taught me many things in life, such as learning how to work well with others and leadership abilities.  These skills I have taken an applied to other avenues in my life.

I have been an elected officer all four hears of high school for my class and also this year I am President of the Student Council.  These opportunities have made comfortable in the leadership position of my peers, and glad I can be there for support for them.  Being President of the Student Council has given me the opportunity to work with the teachers and staff of the school organizing different functions throughout the year.  I was also inducted to National Honor Society my sophomore year.

I was chosen to attend a scholarship program though Colorado Rural Health Scholars Program.  During this extensive three week program, I volunteered at the University of Colorado Hospital within all areas of the medical field and received lectures from medical professionals.  Through this program I was exposed to various medical professions, and was given the opportunity to give back.  During this time we volunteered at the hospital three days a week for a total of 60 hours.  I took the time out of my summer break to do this because it was an opportunity to gain knowledge on what I would like to do with my future.  This experience has given me the confidence I need to succeed in college and life.

I was also selected to attend the Rotary Leadership Conference last summer.  This was a great experience and taught me more valuable ways to work with people, and to accomplish the task at hand.  Over my last four years, I have been chosen to do a variety of programs, and I am honored to be selected to do these.  I feel that I have been selected because my teachers have had the respect and confidence in my ability to be awarded these opportunities.

I also volunteer as a coach and mentor t our youth through the recreational basketball.  It was a great experience to touch the lives of these young girls.  Ironically, it was me that learned things from them.  I also am an active volunteer at the Holly Nursing Care Center, where I work with the elders.  We will do many different activities such as reading of current events, playing bingo, exercising, or sitting and visiting about the good old days.

The college that I select to attend will ultimately be determined by how much I will be able to obtain in scholarships.  College is a big responsibility in life and I know that I have to take it serious.  Going to college and receiving my Bachelors of Nursing is my first and foremost goal.  However, the long term goal I want to achieve is to be a Nurse Practitioner and come back to a rural area and practice.

To receive the Walter ELy Memorial scholarship would mean so much to me.  There wasn’t a time going to Lamar that you wouldn’t see Walter walking around town with his sack of cans.  He was such a happy person and even though he had challenges in his life, it didn’t stop him from going out and accomplishing his daily tasks; and doing it with a smile on his face.  That is a pretty good inspiration for me as an individual, to refer back to how Walter kept going, even on tough days.

Thank you for your time and consideration for the Walter Ely Memorial Scholarship.



Ashlyn McKenna Hess
Holly High School

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