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For Butte High senior Grayson Gleason, receiving one of Montana Tech's "Be the First" full-ride scholarships "means the world." Denise Rodrigues, mother of recipient Ariana Rodrigues of Butte Central, said the scholarship is "very life-changing."

That is precisely the idea.

Montana Tech's "Be the First" initiative is aiming to bring the force of education to bear against the issue of poverty — right here in Butte. And as Joe McClafferty, Tech's vice chancellor for advancement and university relations, said last week, "Poverty is the biggest issue we have in town, and poverty can be beaten by education." 

When the two received word of their full-ride scholarships at halftime of the Crosstown Rivalry at the Civic Center on Thursday night, there were few dry eyes in the house.

And when you think of the fact that both of these students plan to use the scholarships to attain nursing degrees, it's easy to see how many times this amazing program will be paid forward, and how much it will help Butte.

The scholarships are the direct result of a $597,000 donation made by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Montana Resources. And Tech is actively building toward a $2 million endowment to ensure the availability of these full-ride scholarships for many years to come. Participation in that effort is welcome and needed.

We couldn't agree more with Mike McGivern of Montana Resources when he said, "Montana Tech has the ability to take people from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and this scholarship is going to give these young people a chance to attend a world-class university, help their families, help themselves and hopefully help Butte, Montana."

We believe that there's not a better educational initiative for Butte, and the return on investment will come very quickly. Congratulations to Rodrigues and Gleason and thanks to Montana Tech and to Montana Resources, the Washingtons and their foundation. And thanks in advance to other companies and individuals in this community who decide they can give financial support to this, the worthiest of causes.

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