The “World Needs More Cowboys,” and so does Wyoming.
That was a main theme of the talk Thursday at Cody High School when a host of University of Wyoming ambassadors, from students to faculty and the president, talked to seniors.
Acting president Neil Theobald said afterward the most important takeaway for the students at all of the stops is to give themselves more opportunities, whether that’s at UW, the local community college or somewhere else.
“This is a broader idea, it’s more than just UW,” he said. “Not everybody should go to college, but you ought to consider it.”
He said the key is letting people know of all of the opportunities available in a state where the Hathaway scholarship makes college more affordable than almost anywhere else in the country.
The stop was part of a two-year plan by the university to visit one of 23 counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation each month. Last month ambassadors for the college stopped in the Gillette area, next month it’s Rawlins.
Earlier Thursday the group had spoken at Powell High School and that night they were headed to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for an alumni event.
CHS principal Jeremiah Johnston said he was happy to lend the Wynona Thompson Auditorium – and the seniors – for the event. He said it was beneficial for all seniors to hear from the ambassadors, whether their plans included UW or no college at all.
“It’s about being prepared for whatever path you choose,” he said.
And Laramie can be both a smart choice and an affordable one, staff said, with a new slate of need- and merit-based scholarships, brochures of which were available for students to peruse.
Senior Maxwell Peters and his friends were examining brochures and all agreed getting not just a good, but an affordable, education was a key piece in deciding where to go.
To that end, he had a closer first post-high-school stop in mind.
“I’ve thought about Northwest College more,” he said.
Theobald likes to hear that. He said since taking over the acting president title, he’s sent out letters to the leaders of the state’s community colleges asking how UW can help.
He does, of course, add that going to Laramie is a great choice for many students, and many of the talks by faculty and current students reiterated what school staff have told students over the years.
“UW has great opportunities for students,” assistant principal Beth Blatt said.
CHS grad and UW senior Trent Bronnenberg agrees.
“College is what you make it,” he said, ticking off the clubs he’s in that the college offers, as well as the unprecedented research opportunities in areas like microbiology, offered to undergraduate students.
He was joined by two other students, Powell High School grads Sarah Rich and Sadie Wenzel, who also spoke of their experiences at the school and that high school rivals turn into friends when you’re all in Cowboy colors.
“How do we feel about Star Valley?” Wenzel, a freshman, asked the seniors who responded with groans. “Now I have three friends from Star Valley. Rivalries cool a bit when you get to college.”
Opportunities heat up, faculty said, whether its research opportunities, study abroad, professional clubs and more.
“I hope all of you go to college,” said botany professor Greg Brown, who takes students to Brazil and Ecuador. “It’s truly a transformational experience.”
Senior Kaya Jackson wants the experience, she’s just needs to figure out where and what to study, not an uncommon problem for a high school senior.
What she has already determined, she said, will likely end with her in Laramie.
“I’ve always wanted to stay in Wyoming since I was little,” she said. “So that’s my plan.”