By Dominic Garcia

DENVER (CBS4)– In an auditorium on the University of Denver campus, 230 Daniels Fund Scholars are being schooled in social graces.

“The etiquette part was very important to Bill Daniels and he used to interview people over lunch to see how they could handle themselves with social graces,” said Linda Childears, the Daniels Fund CEO.

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Approximately 230 new Daniels scholars from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming were there for the Scholars Headed Into the Future Together (SHIFTCollege) orientation conference.

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In addition to getting prepared for college life and the Daniels Scholarship Program, scholars took part in sessions to learn many valuable “soft skills” they won’t learn in college, such as the art of small talk, dining etiquette, dressing for success, how handle yourself at a cocktail party, good social media practices, and more.

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“I was amazed because I never realized how much commonality you could find in such a diverse crowd,” said Daniels Fund Scholar Laura Williamson.

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Friday night, she and others went through a session called “The Fine Art of Small Talk.” They learned everything from how to strike up a meaningful conversation with a stranger to what not to ask someone. Something that is not always easy for high school students.

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“You need to buckle down and take it upon yourself to do something that may take you out of your comfort zone to ultimately put someone else in there. To try to establish relationships with other people, to look at them as another human being,” Williamson told CBS4.

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Social media was also a big topic of conversation and especially important for this generation.

“We spend a lot of time talking about social media and we’ve actually had some scholars dismissed because of it,” Childears told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

Linda Childears (credit: CBS)

The Daniels Scholarship Program offers college scholarships to deserving high school senior in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming who demonstrate strength of character, leadership, and a commitment to serving their communities. The Daniels Scholarship Program has awarded more than $170 million in scholarships to over 3,950 students. Saturday night the students will attend a formal dinner where they’ll be able to put what they learned to the test.

Copter4 flew over the University of Denver (credit: CBS)

“You need to buckle down and take it upon yourself to do something that may take you out of your comfort zone,” said Williamson.

According to their website, The Daniels Fund is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program and ethics initiative. Daniels Fund continues the legacy of generosity established by its founder, Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer known for his compassion for those in need and his unwavering commitment to ethics and integrity. Learn more at DanielsFund.org.

Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.

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