CBS4 News is featuring a special series of reports this holiday season called the 12 Days of Christmas. The following story was written by CBS4’s Karen Leigh.

DENVER (CBS4) – In the maze of students at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Favianna Oropeza stands out.

“I know I’m a very hard worker. I can’t say I would’ve never gotten here, but I can say it would’ve been a lot harder. Not only for me but for my family,” Oropeza said.

Favianna Oropeza (credit: CBS)

Favianna Oropeza (credit: CBS)

The here Oropeza refers to is where she is at this point in her life.

A good student at Metro State, working to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications.

Getting here was a group effort; her’s, her family’s and the support from an organization called Ace Scholarships.

“ACE is not a hand out, it’s a hand up for people that may not be able to do as much for themselves as they would like,” Oropeza said.

Favianna Oropeza (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

ACE scholarships pay partial tuition toward one of many participating private schools in our state. The parents, the school and ACE all pitch in. The goal is simple – help kids succeed in school.

James Coleman is an ACE alum.

James Coleman (credit: CBS)

James Coleman (credit: CBS)

“It gives an opportunity for poor kids, kids who otherwise wouldn’t have an option to go to quality schools outside of their neighborhoods to get a quality education,” Coleman said.

For Oropeza, it was Guardian Angels Catholic School. She was there third through 12th grades. She loved every minute.

Favianna Oropeza (credit: CBS)

Favianna Oropeza (credit: CBS)

“I didn’t realize there were people out there that believed in me enough to give money to an organization that was going to do something that would change the route of my life,” Oropeza said. “It made me work so much harder. It made me so much more appreciative and grateful of the generosity that people have and that they are willing to give to people and children they don’t know.”

Coleman was one of those children. He was the very first recipient of an ACE Scholarship. He is currently representative-elect for Colorado House District 7.

“I see myself in them. I got the scholarship, it put me into the school of my choice and it changed my life,” he said.

Oropeza is still deciding her career path after college, but one thing she knows for sure is that doors will open for her.

Favianna Oropeza (credit: CBS)

Favianna Oropeza (credit: CBS)

And the path before her is a bright one.

Additional Resources

Learn more about ACE Scholarships.

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