College Dreams Made True

If you've never been to Eagle, Colorado, it's quaint little town 30 miles west of Vail that's slowly becoming a popular destination for fly fishing, hiking, and mountain biking, but it wasn't always that way. Back in 1996, the median home sales price was around $130,000, now it's $515,000. The population was approximately 3,000 people and now it's 6,739. So it seems like Eagle's changed a bit -- and so has one of its residents. Escar Acosta was a student at Eagle Valley High School, in the old working-class days of Eagle, and as many young aspiring high-schoolers college was on the radar, and so was paying for it. Acosta knew he needed financial help if he was going to go so he applied for all the scholarship aid he could. That's when he secured the financial aid that would change his life forever -- the first ever offered Alpine Bank/CMC Hispanic scholarship.
"That Alpine Bank scholarship pretty much paved the road to where I am now," Acosta told The Vail Daily. The scholarship covered books and tuition to Colorado Mountain College where Acosta graduated with an associate's degree in law enforcement. He then moved to El Paso, TX with the intention of becoming a U.S. Marshall. However, when things didn't work out in Texas, he returned to Colorado and completed a bachelor's degree in Spanish with a minor in psychology. After that, he returned to Eagle, but could only find employment at Car Quest, an auto parts store. That's when he got a call from the Alpine Bank President and fellow Eagle Valley High School alumni, Rachel Gerlach. She wanted to offer him a job at the bank. "She called me and asked if I would like to try working in the banking world. I said 'No, that sounds boring,'" Acosta quipped as he smiled. And he was hesitant because he didn't have a degree in Finance, but he took the job anyway and, in 2006, began his journey as a management trainee. Now, several years later, and after a lot of support from his employer, he's a full-fledged loan officer. "At Alpine Bank, they look at the whole person, not just the degree," he said, "They helped me all the way through the process," and he credits Grant Murphy with teaching him how to write up a loan. But it appears that's not all they do at Alpine. Acosta told the Vail Daily, that Alpine bank also encourages community service and make a difference. Thus, feeling compelled to pay-it-forward, Acosta has since been working with the Eagle County Crimestoppers Board and the Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club board. Partly due to the success of Acosta and others like him, the scholarship has grown to include 15 high schools in 11 communities served by Alpine Bank. "I tell kids don't hesitate to apply for scholarships because you don't know what's next. Don't get discouraged."

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