The Donna Hultin Excellence Award was created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 2008 in honor of Donna’s retirement from Denver Kids, Inc. and her service to Rotary. It is designed to recognize one high achieving graduating high school senior from Denver Kids who is college bound. Qualifications include demonstrated academic achievement, excellence in attendance, community service, leadership ability and a positive attitude. This prestigious award is now given in Donna’s memory. Congratulations to Ariana Ricalday, our 2020 Donna Hultin Excellence Award winner!
This Excellence award includes a $500 scholarship from the Rotary Club of Denver. In addition, the Donna Hultin Family has generously contributed an additional $500, bringing the total scholarship $1,000!
Ariana Ricalday has been a Denver Kids student for four years, and in those four years, has shown much passion, dedication, and an incredible work ethic. Ariana is graduating from KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, a very rigorous school where she had maintained a near 4.0 GPA. As a stellar student, Ariana was also nominated to be part of PEAK Achievers, a weekly group that leads her high school in community service and activism. She’s also involved with Tiger Leaders, a small student leadership group which works with the principal to promote student engagement and school spirit. Additionally, Ariana was chosen to tutor fellow classmates in math in her sophomore year of high school, won multiple Student of the Year awards in composition, and maintained perfect attendance for three years. As Ariana’s Educational Counselor said, “she is one of the few students who is consistently taking initiative to challenge herself by setting new goals. Whether she identifies a goal around her relationship to others or an academic goal, Ariana actively works towards them with a genuine desire to improve and with a charming sense of humor.”
Ariana’s accomplishments do not stop at the school doors; she has maintained active employment since 2018 and has been involved in her community through a traditional Mexican folklorico dance organization. Through this organization, Ariana has been able to perform in order to raise funds for funeral expenses for a local family, as well as raise funds for necessary surgeries that children in her community needed. She shows immense dedication in this group and it shows! They won 1st place in the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folkloric Competition – youth division.
Ariana is a first-generation high school graduate and college student. She is looking forward to starting at the University of Denver this fall, where she will work to earn her degree in biology with a minor in dance. Ariana hopes to become either a nurse or teacher one day: two professions suited wonderfully for Ariana’s character and community-oriented vision of her future.
In her award essay, Ariana stated that, “I push myself out of my comfort zone, and I believe that’s something that will help me take full advantage of opportunities in college.”
Congratulations to Ariana!