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Chivers wins Founding Director Scholarship


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Senior Sophia Chivers received the NHSEF Founding Director scholarship for 2020.

Recognizing her "positive impact on" the school community, The Niwot High School Education Foundation has awarded senior Sophia Chivers the Founding Director Scholarship for 2020. Chivers will receive $1,000 for her post-secondary education.

For Chivers, making a positive impact was easy to do in a school like Niwot High, where she usually found herself "happy and engaged."

"I've always really enjoyed school, and always felt really supported at Niwot," the senior said. "I love the community. There were several teachers that I knew if I were ever in a situation where I needed help I could walk into their rooms, and they would help me."

Chivers participated in a wide range of activities during her four years as a Cougar, including honor choir and varsity swimming. During her senior year, she became actively involved in the local climate change movement, first during the Global Climate Strike and then later as an intern for 350Colorado.org, an organization that opposes the use of fossil fuels. There, she helped launch the Colorado Public Banking Coalition, an organization that "helps improve banking options so people can divest in fossil fuels."

"There's a really special place in my heart for 350Colorado for the work that they do here," she said. "I've grown up here, and I've always loved the mountains, and so there's something near and dear to my heart about the fight to protect my family home."

In the fall, Chivers plans to take up that fight in a place that might seem a little far afield-College of the Atlantic, a tiny private liberal arts college in Bar Harbor, Maine. There, she plans to study human ecology with an emphasis in marine life, which seems like a counterintuitive choice for a self-professed Colorado-phile.

"I think people here underestimate how important the oceans are to everyday life in a land-locked state," she said. "They are much more responsible for our oxygen for any forest...and they're disappearing really quickly from our climate crisis. I've always loved the ocean, so, for me, being able to protect the two things I love most-Colorado wildlife and the oceans-it sounds strange, but it works."

She will also be continuing her climate activism at COA, which is known for its environmental focus, and hopes to continue to support 350Colorado. Eventually, she hopes to pursue a career in academia, though activism will always be close to her heart.

Chivers credits Niwot's demanding IB program with giving her the skills and ability to turn her concern for the climate into action, and her IB teachers for supporting her along the way.

"The teachers at Niwot High that I've encountered in the IB program, particularly in the humanities, are unmatched," she said. "I've really sat in so many courses and been in absolute awe of my teachers and my peers and the pace of the content. The IB program is really well executed at Niwot."

Chivers singled out Mrs. Feiran and Mrs. Tucker for their roles in her success, calling them "my biggest cheerleaders." She also called Feiran's IB English class "incredibly inspiring," and said it helped her develop an "enormous amount of confidence" in her speaking and writing talents.

"Mrs. Feiran taught me to write better than anyone else has ever taught me," she said. "She showed me that there's so much power in the written word."

Chivers was inspired in a different way by her IB chemistry class, which she named as the most challenging of all her classes at Niwot.

"It's a difficult course, and taught with high rigor at Niwot, and I had to, for the first time, learn on my own. This class was so fast-paced, that there really wasn't a lot of opportunity for individual one-on-one with the teacher, which is the way I learn the best. So I had to learn how to pick up the textbook and take a little more initiative, and I think that will serve me really well."

Chivers said she will miss a lot about Niwot High when she heads east later this summer, but she will especially miss the close-knit community and sense of camaraderie she's built over the past four years.

"Something that I found there that was so special was the support system. It was really pretty incredible, especially between the teachers and I. A lot of them were incredibly supportive, and I found that they would go so far out of their way to help out, and I think that sort of spoiled me."


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