Desiree Wilcox

Hayden, CO

Desiree’s Bio

My name is Desiree Wilcox, and I have lived in beautiful, mountainous Colorado my entire life.
I love and find absolute peace in being active outdoors from skiing and snowboarding in the
winter season to camping, hiking, and fly fishing during the warmer months. My twin sister and I
are the youngest of three other siblings, and family is my everything. I have an older brother who
struggles greatly with mental health issues and cognitive delays. It has been an ongoing personal
goal of mine to support other individuals who face similar challenges due to disabilities as a
knowledgeable advocate, teacher, and friend.
After completing a BA in Earth Sciences through the University of Northern Colorado, I
decided to moved from Colorado Springs to the high mountains in western Colorado. I was given
the opportunity to be a seasonal environmentalist and interpretive naturalist for the surrounding
state parks.Because I love anything science and to do with nature, I had originally chosen to
pursue a degree in biological and earth sciences. I thought I would love to continue my academic
career in these areas. However, I soon realized that teaching was my ‘knack’ and my purpose. I
wanted to spread knowledge, but also be the driving force for others to love school as much as I
did. There is nothing more rewarding than to be able to push young minds to be their best selves
as capable, confident learners. Fast forward to 3 years later, and I had earned an MA in Special
Education and a Colorado teaching license with endorsements in early childhood special
education (birth-5); special education generalist (birth-20); and elementary teaching.
I was quickly promoted from a special education paraprofessional to the significant
needs Special Education Case Manager within the Steamboat Springs School District. As the
Case Manager, I was responsible for managing and training a team of paraprofessionals to
support the unique needs of every student; create and implement differentiated instruction in all
domains; create and implement student’s individualized education plans with fidelity; and work
collaboratively with general education teachers to provide the most inclusive, responsive
environment possible for the students. Being a special education teacher is no easy feat. There
are a lot of long school days; weekend work hours; tears; and pure exhaustion. However, I would
take these challenges as an opportunity to be the best teacher and support system possible for my
students. Those students became and still are my EVERYTHING. Every long night planning
meant a better, more productive day at school for my students. Every tear meant a bigger smile to
greet my students with the following day. I was their ‘person’: the teacher, confidant, role model,
and fighter, and I would never ever give up on them.
I pride myself in my work. I pride myself on being the dependable, strong, safe person
for families and children. I have been so blessed to work with many amazing, unique children,
and feel it is not only necessary, but also my responsibility as a quality educator to become more
informed and experienced in how to teach children with all different abilities and at all
developmental stages.I can confidently say that I will never learn as much as I have just by
working with those incredible children. I can also say that I owe it to ‘our youngest teachers’ to
be a mutual quality educator for them. Through the FRHF scholarship opportunity, I plan to use
the financial support towards my continued education in obtaining an M.ED to better serve
students with specific learning disabilities.

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Desiree Wilcox

My Core Values

  1. Be someone's strength
  2. If I fall, always get back up (it’s okay to ask for help!)
  3. Recognize and celebrate my blessings daily
  4. Remember and respect that everyone has a story. Be empowered by such diversity!
  5. Never lose faith
  6. Family is everything
  7. Life is for LIVING
  8. Laughter is a remedy
  9. Take time to be still
  10. Be kind to yourself
  11. Be kind to others
  12. Imperfection is beautiful and should be celebrated
  13. Be the reason students feel loved, heard and safe
  14. Never judge, just listen

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The Foundation has awarded more than 150 Adventure Scholarships to people who have a dream, believe in the Core Values Matter philosophy and were able to demonstrate financial need. Our Adventure Scholars are a distinctive group of students, athletes, and others. We believe you'll find someone here you can identify with, or perhaps you will help us make this outstanding team of individuals even more diverse and inclusive.

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Dianne Vitkus

Charlestown, MA