By Chelsea McNerney-Martinez
MONTE VISTA— The children of the late Monte Vista broadcaster Gerald Vigil have selected the winner of the second annual scholarship in his honor. Brandy Hoffstaetter, a senior at Monte Vista High School, will use the scholarship to attend Mesa State University this fall, majoring in psychology and beginning her pursuit of a career as a neuropsychologist.
“I think what piqued my interest in the field of psychology is that I’ve always viewed it as a helping, selfless field and that’s something that’s important to me. A lot of my interest also stemmed from documentaries; that’s where I first learned about neuropsychology and what made me want to pursue that career. Once I obtain an undergraduate degree I plan on working my way towards a PsyD and after that, I would like to either work in a research facility or a hospital setting working with patients who’ve been affected by brain trauma,” Hoffstaetter said of her career selection.
When asked what she was involved in while in high school and how that prepared her for her challenging career path, Hoffstaetter stated “I was in FBLA, NHS, Mesa science, Rio Grande Prevention Partners Youth Council and was the girls’ basketball manager. I think each of these clubs and activities helped me gain leadership qualities, as well as pushed me to be the best version of myself and do my best to positively impact those around me. These activities have really helped me find a career that I can use the tools that they’ve given me in a positive way. While in high school I worked at the Sunflour Cafe for three years and at Quincy’s as well my senior year. I think both my jobs made me a hard worker and I realized will be very beneficial as I pursue neuropsychology.”
Hoffstaetter first heard about the scholarship from MVHS Counselor Lara Gordon and Lori Reschke. Hoffstaetter has also earned several scholarships from Mesa State and a PEO Scholarship. “I would like to credit my parents, as well as Mrs. [Jessica] Castillo for helping me not only obtain this scholarship but also for preparing me for the career path I have chosen. My parents, I would like to thank because they’ve always supported and pushed me to be a hard worker and to give my best.”
The scholarship was started by Vigil’s children, Rebekah Altizer, Tim Vigil and Erin Burton who also select its annual recipient. The requirements for a student to obtain the $1,000 award include being a U.S. citizen, having a 3.0 GPA and planning to enroll full-time in either a two-year or four-year program. Both recipients so far have also shown extra dedication through managing both school and part-time work, and Altizer noted they look at candidates who reflect their father’s spirit of volunteerism and community involvement. “Our dad loved the Valley and always said yes when he was asked to do something. He was involved with Stampede, was the emcee at the veterans parade, past member/president of Kiwanis, and he was involved at church as a youth leader and worship leader.”
Altizer, speaking in conjunction with her siblings, noted Hoffstaetter stood out as an applicant because “Brandy is very involved in both school and the community, all while working two part-time jobs. To see a young person manage their time while maintaining a high GPA is what makes Brandy an excellent recipient for this year’s scholarship. She is a very driven individual and knows exactly what she wants to do with her future. We know Brandy will succeed in her future endeavors.”
Vigil’s children selected the scholarship to honor his memory because, “Dad always valued education whether it be going to college or learning a trade. He said to ‘do something you love and learn all you can about it,’” Altizer said. “Our dad loved the Valley and the people in it. He said that he had the best job in the world - to get up and try to start people’s day off with a laugh or smile. He always had a sense of humor. He showed us that volunteering in your community is important and we have tried to live up to his example.”
The Vigil family would like to thank everyone who has donated so far. “We really appreciate everyone who has donated and helped us see this scholarship get started,” they added. If you are interested in donating for future scholars, The Gerald Vigil Scholarship Fund is at San Luis Valley Federal Bank. “We appreciate all donations and want to continue the scholarship for many more years.”