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SLIDESHOW: Recent Denver grads gear up for college

Graduating seniors with the Denver Public Schools’ Class of 2013 have secured $43 million in scholarships so far this spring, among the largest annual scholarship totals DPS has on record.

About 40 of those grads attended a Transition to College Workshop Wednesday morning at the Auraria campus to get a taste of college life – along with a dose of info about why you should live in a dorm, who to contact if you need help and why it’s so important to keep your grades up. The workshop is required for students who won scholarships through the Denver Scholarship Foundation.

In fact, the Class of 2013 makes up the largest class of scholars via the Denver Scholarship Foundation, with 1,160 current DPS graduates meeting the initial qualifications for the DSF scholarship, up from 878 last year. Another 1,750 current recipients have completed a renewal application, the largest number of recurring scholars to date. DSF expects to award close to $4.5 million in scholarships to DPS graduates next year.

It’s important that these students get to know each other before heading off to college, said DSF spokeswoman Dana Smith. As part of an ice-breaker Wednesday, students broke into groups by campus they’ll attend and had 10 minutes to create a self-supporting balloon tower using their non-dominant hands, tape and balloons.

“We have found that it’s helpful for our scholars to connect with other Denver kids who are going to be on their campus,” Smith said. “It creates a little camaraderie. If they go to CU-Boulder, they may feel out of place. This is a way they can connect with other kids who look like them. They feel more of a sense of community and are more likely to succeed.”

The DSF Scholarship amount differs depending on the college students choose to attend, but the scholarship can be up to $17,000 over five years, per scholar.

Abi Delgado, 18, graduated from Montbello. She plans to study biomedical engineering at the University of Colorado at Denver.

“I always wanted to be a doctor — I just didn’t know how to get there,” said Delgado, who credited programs offered through DSF with getting her on the right track.

To date, 450 DSF Scholars have graduated college. Of those, 200 are graduating from colleges and universities this spring. To qualify for a DSF Scholarship, students must attend a DPS high school for four years and graduate with at least a 2.0 grade point average from a DPS high school.

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