Oh the Places She'll Go

Gergana Kostadinova • Colorado Springs, Colo.
2009 Top Female Most Valuable Student Winner
$60,000 Over Four Years

Gergana Kostadinova has her sights set high. She will one day help solve the world’s problems.

“I know this sounds naive, but I firmly believe that many of the world’s problems can be solved if we all work together,” Gergana explains. “So many countries and regions will benefit if very basic problems are eliminated.”

Gergana is off to a great start. She spends her days working tirelessly to help people overcome their obstacles. Originally from Bulgaria, Gergana moved to the United States with her family when she was 9 years old. With the pressure of acclimating to a new country, the stress of excelling in school and the daunting task of learning a new language, Gergana had her fair share of obstacles. Having successfully overcome these barriers, she gained a worldly perspective and is now even better suited to helping others in need.

Service Starts at Home

In her Colorado Springs community, she shares her many talents by volunteering. As Student Council president, she oversaw the Care and Share food drive, encouraging her high school classmates, faculty and staff to donate money and canned goods. Under Gergana’s leadership, the food drive had a visible impact, and everything collected went directly toward feeding those in her community.

As a member of the El Pomar Youth in Community Service committee, Gergana helped her high school raise $500. For their effort, the El Pomar Foundation granted $7,500 to the committee to distribute to local non-profit organizations. “We worked hard to raise the $500,” says Gergana. “It was a great opportunity to see the result of our hard work, learn about local non-profit organizations, and help them further their missions.”

Gergana, who enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and skiing, also volunteers at Helen Hunt Falls as a park aide. She helps visitors enjoy Cheyenne Cañon by answering their questions and aiding them in navigating the trails. She also holds a seat on the Board of the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon, where she works to ensure that the Falls stay open despite city funding cuts.

“Cheyenne Cañon and Helen Hunt Falls are important to me, because when my family first moved to the U.S., we visited almost every weekend,” says Gergana. “We fell in love with this area that holds so many great memories, so I enjoy helping others appreciate it as much as I do, and I love being involved in its preservation.”

A Broader Horizon

With the help of her first-place Most Valuable Student Scholarship, Gergana will broaden her service outreach by attending the University of Denver, where she will major in International Studies. The many courses offered and the new perspectives she will gain in college will be invaluable in Gergana’s quest to solve the world’s problems.

Although she loves Colorado, Gergana cannot wait to study abroad and learn more about other cultures. She is already planning a mission trip to Central or South America during her winter break. Having studied Spanish since she was in middle school, she looks forward to spending a semester in Barcelona during her sophomore or junior year.

Combining her love of travel and passion for service, Gergana’s ultimate goal is to become a United Nations ambassador. She hopes her work to improve international relations will eliminate many of the world’s problems.

“It seems absurd that in this era of modern technology, when so many people have iPhones and flat screen TVs, so many others are suffering from hunger, genocide and unnecessary civil wars,” she explains. “I hope to be involved in the resolution of these problems.”

We are confident that Gergana will soon make the world a better place for everyone!

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