Pueblo County’s marijuana tax revenue will help a record number of kids with their college tuition this year.
The Pueblo County Scholarship program is growing and fast. Last year, 210 students received $420,000 in scholarships. This year, 564 students are being awarded with $624,000. A ceremony was held on Tuesday at the Pueblo County Courthouse where commissioners and the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation recognized students.
Emily Hanenberg said, "I want to get my undergrad in exercise science and then carry on to physical therapy."
Meridyth Moose said, "I’m looking first to going to CSU-Pueblo, majoring in mass comm and business."
2018 high school graduates in Pueblo County have big plans for the future and they’re making headway with the help of the marijuana-funded Pueblo County Scholarship and the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative. The marijuana-funded program is in its third year of helping students lighten the load when it comes to paying for college.
Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said, "The fact is that we have more college debt in the United States than credit card debt and more costs have been pushed on to students."
Matthew Patterson said, "This money’s going to help me out a lot. It’s going to go towards the next step in my life in becoming a teacher."
Students like Patterson are receiving anywhere from $500 to $5,000.
Hanenberg said, "I’m going to an out of state school and whatever money in scholarships I can get it helps, so I was super excited to continue my education."
Alexandria Campos, another scholarship recipient, said, "I’m very excited to see what my future holds."
As Pueblo County educators say, these students are the future.
Pueblo Community College President Patty Erjavec said, "Standing behind us are our future healthcare workers. They are our future teachers."
The hope is that they will one day make a difference in Pueblo.
Commissioner Pace said, "If you can have a better educated populace we can make our community a wealthier and healthier community."
During Tuesday’s ceremony Pueblo County, for the first time ever, named one exceptional student the Pueblo County Scholar. Alyson Sasaoka received an award of $5,000.