Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

High school grads get lessons for a lifetime

Joanna Burciaga hasn’t stepped foot into her first college class, but she’s already learned valuable lessons thanks to the Daniels Fund Scholarship program she attended at DU in mid July.

“The whole week has made me really excited about college. But, I’ve also learned a lot that I’ll use for the rest of my life in dealing with people and a lot of things that will take me further in life,” says Burciaga, who will begin studying business and communications at DU this fall.

Burciaga is one of 196 high school students who won scholarships provided by a fund set up by the late cable magnate Bill Daniels. The gifts, designed to be supplemental assistance for colleges costs, range from $2,000 to more than $30,000 a year. Daniels Scholars are required to attend the Scholars Heading Into the Future Together (SHIFT) program during the summer before their freshman year in college.

The students spent a week on the DU campus learning things like making eye contact, not fidgeting with their hands in meetings and keeping open body language when talking with others. They also had lessons in etiquette, personal finance, time management, cultural differences and ethics.

“Ethics was a guiding principle for Mr. Daniels,” says Tracey Raiford, director of the scholarship program. “It was [an] important part of the week, and it’s an important part of the business school.”

Sam Cassidy, chair of ethics and legal studies at the Daniels College of Business, was one of several speakers during the week.

“I talked to them about principles that are never negotiable—no matter the situation—and deciding what kind of person they want to become,” Cassidy says. “We talked about virtues of character like honesty, compassion and courage and how to become that person by practicing their chosen virtues.”

Cassidy also discussed the importance of finding meaning in their lives that’s larger than themselves. He shared examples of role models and their strategies for accomplishing goals.

The students—from Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah—are bound for several schools this fall, including Loyola Marymount University, Clark Atlanta University, Brown University, Smith College and Texas A&M. Approximately 30 of the students will be attending DU.

Burciaga, 18, is from Denver and graduated from Skyview High School in Thornton this spring.

“What I’m learning is just so vital—how you treat people in business and life and respect other people,” she says. “It’s really great.”

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