Campus & Community

Thornton twins come to DU on Daniels Fund Scholarships

Priscilla and Maria Ivette Chavez, twin sisters from Thornton, Colo., have faced numerous challenges together in their lives. Growing up with a single mom who had been diagnosed with cancer, the sisters helped take care of their younger siblings while attending school and preparing for graduation. Now, after being awarded the prestigious Daniels Fund Scholarship, the sisters are taking on life’s next challenge together: college at the University of Denver.

The Denver-based Daniels Fund awards scholarships to high school seniors who have demonstrated exceptional engagement in their community, in academics and in leadership roles. Priscilla and Maria are among 232 students selected as Daniels Scholars this year. They have decided to attend DU’s Daniels College of Business, named, coincidentally, after the fund’s founder, cable TV pioneer Bill Daniels.

The sisters say they never expected that both of them would receive the scholarship.

“We went in thinking that only one of us was going to get it,” Maria says. “So when we applied, we said, ‘We should apply to other scholarships just to be prepared in case one of us doesn’t get it.’ When both of us got it, we were super excited.”

Priscilla and Maria graduated this spring from Mapleton Early College, a Thornton high school designed to prepare students for college. At Mapleton, they were encouraged to volunteer and participate in extracurricular activities and community events.

While pursuing the Daniels Fund scholarship, the sisters received guidance from advisors, Mapleton alumni and previous Daniels Scholars. But it was their mother who served as their biggest motivator.

“Our mom only went to school until sixth grade, so she’s not the person you can go to for help with your math homework. But when she sees us struggling, she’s always the source of our motivation,” Priscilla says. “Even though she can’t help us, she believes in us firmly to let us know that we can do it. And any time anything’s going wrong, she’s there for us to cry to and to express ourselves to. You could say she’s one of our best friends.”

The twins say they feel honored to have been chosen for the scholarship.

“The values that Bill Daniels had are extraordinary, and we lived up to them before, because that’s what led us to this, but now we have to embody them even more and keep the reputation of the Daniels Fund alive,” Priscilla says.






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