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NHSEF Scholarship Winners, 2023


Pursuit of Education Scholarship (3-$2000 each)

NHSEF recognizes the barriers some students must overcome in order to successfully complete
high school and work toward a post-secondary education. The NHSEF Pursuit of Education
Scholarship is designed to benefit motivated students who recognize the power and impact of
post-secondary education.

Morgan Burke is fascinated by telling stories through film and television, and plans to be a Media Arts Production major at Emerson college in her pursuit of becoming a filmmaker. After overcoming personal difficulties with mental health and self-image, she has a passion for diversity, inclusion, and mental health education. She started a mental health initiative partnering with the NHS counseling department to provide mental health and overall well-being resources for her community, which included instagram posts, posters around the school,and development of pamphlets on various topics. She believes strongly in the power of community and wrote compellingly in her application essay about the importance of acceptance of self and others, stating “every person holds value in their own way, and in order for you to learn their value, you must first know them”.”


Veer Gandhakwala will be attending CU Boulder, where he will major in mechanical engineering with a minor in business. He then plans to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, and hopes to start a medical prosthetics company to produce affordable and durable prosthetics. Veer is the current senior class vice president, and is active in leadership roles through student council, Source of Strength, and varsity soccer. He is also involved with the NHS link crew, welcoming and orienting incoming freshman students, so they can “start learning the ‘Niwot Way’ of serving in the school and community and having a blast while doing so.”

Lillian McClellan plans to attend Oregon State University to pursue a combined degree in environmental water resources and forestry. Her decision to attend this school was impacted not only by its number one U.S. college ranking for forestry and its opportunities for outdoor learning, but also by the open-mindedness and respect for others she experienced while touring the campus. She has been a member of the Wildlands Youth Leadership Development program, which offers a mix of manual labor (trail building, invasive species removal, etc.) and community engagement through outdoor education programming. She has positively impacted NHS by always valuing and hearing other points of view, and through her willingness to listen and talk with friends and family members who have struggled with mental health problems.


Trade/Vocational/Technical School Scholarship (2-$2000 each)

The NHSEF T/V/T scholarship recognizes a graduating senior who seeks further educational opportunities at a trade or vocational program, associate degree program, apprenticeship, or journeyman program.

Kaycee Cash plans to attend Front Range Community College and study automotive technology. Her dad is a mechanic who owns his own shop and race car. She has been interested in cars from a young age and loves working with her hands. She notes her “brain works a lot like her
dad’s, in terms of trying to figure out how things work”. In her application, Kaycee expressed fear about attending a male-dominated mechanics program, but is excited to be “a bit of a pioneer for women interested in this field.”

Alexandria (Sasha) Keesee plans to attend Front Range Community College (Ft. Collins) and become a veterinary technician. Sasha has a life-long love of animals. She started a dog sitting/boarding business, and is an experienced volunteer at the Longmont Humane Society where she has worked with animals in many capacities, including those with behavioral problems. She has a goal and passion to rescue pets, educate people about animal care, and
continue to advocate for animals in need.

Founding Directors Scholarships (2-$2000 each)

The NHSEF Founding Directors Scholarship recognizes graduating seniors from Niwot High School who have made a positive impact on or contribution to Niwot High School and the community through service, academic performance, and leadership.

Lauren Hendershot will be attending George Washington University to study global health. She is the Senior Editor in Chief of the NHS student run newspaper, The Green and Black. A major project she has been working on this year is translating the newspaper into Spanish to
encourage inclusion of Spanish speaking students at NHS. Through her work with the newspaper, she has learned many valuable lessons regarding what is and is NOT “news,” and the ethics involved in representing opposing views fairly. After watching friends being mistreated in relationships or have boundaries violated, and recognizing that Colorado is the only state in the U.S. that does not require sex education in schools, she and another student focused their IB CAS project on writing a resolution (that was later adopted by the mayor and Longmont City Council) to include education on healthy relationships in the school curriculum.

Morgan Lane will be attending either Reed College or Northeastern University to pursue her passions for English, Journalism, and Orchestra. She hopes to have a future career in publishing. She partnered with another student for her IB CAS project (see above!) to educate
students about sexual consent and assault. After initial reluctance from school administration and a representative from the district, Morgan and her partner approached their local city council representative and, with her help, ultimately drafted and passed a proclamation with
the Longmont City Council to spread awareness about the need for consent education in high schools. They are working with state representatives to amend the current law and make sexual/consent education compulsory and a graduation requirement for Colorado public schools.

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