Dodge City High School is home to the 2017 Wichita State University Gore Scholarship winner, Maribel Sanchez Equihua. The scholarship is worth $60,000.
Sanchez is a senior and plans on studying accounting at WSU.
“I heard about this scholarship after I applied and got accepted to the school,” Sanchez said. “I went to a scholarship meeting with my parents at WSU in October and got even more information about it.”
To qualify, students must have either a 3.5 GPA, earn at least a 27 composite score on the ACT or be in the top 10 percent in their class. Sanchez had to submit a resume, answer two essay questions, and indicate all the different activities she’s been involved in, along with the number of hours dedicated to each activity. After applying, Sanchez was accepted to compete in the Distinguished Scholarship Invitational (DSI), where 501 high school seniors are split into groups to do an interview and team building portion.
“The interview portion was looking for students to somehow relate leadership experiences into their answers,” Sanchez said. “The team building portion was observing the way you work with others to come up with a solution to a given scenario.”
The top 76 semi-finalists were notified asked to submit two letters of recommendation. Sanchez asked Jonathan Hansen, her Student Council advisor, and Trista Fergerson, her video production teacher, to submit letters for her.
The committee then combined the online application, scores from DSI, and the letters of recommendation to narrow it down to the top 11 finalists, who were then asked to go back to campus for 30-minute interview with the 11 members of the selection committee.
“I received a phone call right when I got home from callbacks, notifying me that I was chosen as one of the two winners,” Sanchez said. “I cried.”
Sanchez is the president of StuCo and her senior class. She was elected as an ambassador for her high school chapter of National Society of High School Scholars and for Youth Entrepreneurs. She is the treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America and volunteers for Special Olympics.
“I believe much of Maribel’s success can be attributed to her mindset,” Hansen said. “She sees the sky as the limit because even in success, she feels she can always do better. Maribel is a refreshing leader and Wichita State will be better with her on campus.”
Sanchez said she truly believes every teacher she’s had has helped mold her into the leader she is today.
“So many teachers have been there for me, pushing me to always be a better student and person,” she said. “In their own way, they have all influenced me enough to realize my true potential and to believe in myself.”
Principal Jacque Feist attended the ceremony at Wichita State University where Sanchez was officially announced as one of the two winners of the Gore Scholarship.
“I am very excited for Maribel, as winning the Gore Scholarship will give her the opportunity to focus her next four years on working toward earning her accounting degree at Wichita State University,” Feist said. “ In addition, this scholarship affords her the opportunity to continue her involvement in leadership roles at the university level which will only making her a better potential employee upon completion of her degree at WSU.”
Sanchez plans to minor in either Management or Finance.
“This achievement is really geared toward inspiring people, especially those that come from different backgrounds like me,” Sanchez said. “I want people to see that anything is possible with hard work and support. I wouldn't have been able to do this without my parents, siblings, and teachers who motivate me to reach for my dreams.”