Founders' Scholarship Competition

What you need to know

The Founders’ Competition weekend is coming soon.  We want to put some helpful information at your fingertips to help you prepare and enjoy the weekend.  Below you will find information on assignments, schedules, and dress code.

See the seminar rubric section for more details.
Caspar David Friedrich, Cross in the Mountains (Tetschen Altar)

See the seminar rubric section for more details.

Franz Liszt, Symphonic poem Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne, S. 95. [link is to recording on Spotify]

The reading for the fall weekend is Victor Hugo, ‘Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne’ from Feuilles d’Automne [‘What is Heard on the Mountain’ from Autumn Leaves].
Rubric for competitors:
In preparation for this seminar, you need to study three things: a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, a poem by Victor Hugo, and a piece of orchestral music by Franz Liszt. All three date from the nineteenth century, and are linked by the theme of mountains. We recommend that you spend 90 minutes reading, listening, and reflecting on these works. A recommended use of this time would be:
1. Read the poem by Hugo two or three times, including at least once aloud (in English, unless you are fluent in French), and reflect upon it (15-20 minutes).
2. Listen attentively to the music by Liszt (30 minutes).
3. While playing the music again, reflect upon the painting by Friedrich, trying to take in and meditate upon every aspect of the image (30 minutes).
4. Make notes on your reflection on the painting in preparation for the seminar discussion (10-15 minutes).

Each competitor will be required to deliver a speech.  You will need to prepare and practice your speech during the weeks ahead of the competition.

“As artists you know well that the experience of beauty, beauty that is authentic, not merely transient or artificial, is by no means a supplementary or secondary factor in our search for meaning and happiness; the experience of beauty does not remove us from reality, on the contrary, it leads to a direct encounter with the daily reality of our lives, liberating it from darkness, transfiguring it, making it radiant and beautiful. Indeed, an essential function of genuine beauty, as emphasized by Plato, is that it gives man a healthy “shock”, it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum – it even makes him suffer, piercing him like a dart, but in so doing it “reawakens” him, opening afresh the eyes of his heart and mind, giving him wings, carrying him aloft. Dostoevsky’s words that I am about to quote are bold and paradoxical, but they invite reflection. He says this: “Man can live without science, he can live without bread, but without beauty he could no longer live, because there would no longer be anything to do to the world. The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here.” The painter Georges Braque echoes this sentiment: “Art is meant to disturb, science reassures.” Beauty pulls us up short, but in so doing it reminds us of our final destiny, it sets us back on our path, fills us with new hope, gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life. The quest for beauty that I am describing here is clearly not about escaping into the irrational or into mere aestheticism. Too often, though, the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy. It is a seductive but hypocritical beauty that rekindles desire, the will to power, to possess, and to dominate others, it is a beauty which soon turns into its opposite, taking on the guise of indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence, the Mystery of which we are part; from this Mystery we can draw fullness, happiness, the passion to engage with it every day.”

—Benedict XVI, Meeting with Artists in Sistine Chapel

Reflect on Pope Benedict’s words above in the context of your experience of a work of art outside of a religious setting or a museum, that you have had a direct experience of (pictures on the internet don’t count!). In your speech describe your experience of the work of art in question: the architecture of a building, a sculpture, a painting, etc. What was the role of that work of art in its setting? In what ways should art be incorporated into our every day experience? Or ought art be reserved in special settings like churches and museums to better facilitate the almost mystical experience of the beautiful that Pope Benedict describes?

Each speech must be four to six minutes in length, and cannot be read.  Speakers will be allowed to have one 3 x 5 in notecard with them at the podium.

Speeches will be judged on the basis of the canons of rhetoric drawn from the classical tradition: a. invention (the ability to find powerful arguments); b. arrangement (the ability to make your arguments clear, orderly, and well-supported); c. style (a good middle style, that is, basically clear and precise with the occasional well placed metaphor or descriptive adjective); d. performance (the ability to speak with confidence, articulation, and good tone and rhythm).

The essay:  Participants will write the essay on Saturday morning.  The goal of the exercise is to see how competitors write under a time limit and spontaneously, so the prompt will be announced either late on Friday night or on Saturday morning. Once you start the essay, you will have two hours to complete it.




Dress Code

Classroom Attire – To be observed in class and at daily Mass. Men should wear a collared shirt, neat slacks or dress jeans* with appropriate belt and with shirt tucked in, and non-sports shoes (cowboy boots and leather shoes are acceptable). Women should wear a dress, a skirt or formal slacks/modest dress jeans* and blouse, and non-sports shoes. Sleeves are required.

*Dress Jeans: In Wyoming, “dress jeans” are accepted as khakis as a business casual level of dress. Dress jeans are very dark blue (or black) in color, with no holes, patches, fringe or fading, and with a tailored, relaxed fit.

Formal Attire – For the competition on Saturday, the Vigil Mass, and the formal dinner. Men should wear jacket and tie, dress slacks, and dress shoes or cowboy boots. Women should wear a modest dress or skirt and blouse. Sleeves are required, as are dress shoes or cowboy boots.

Casual Attire – The minimum standard that may be observed outside of the residence halls at all other times. Modest clothing is always required, and students should dress neatly and in accord with Christian dignity.

Outdoor Attire – This type of attire can overlap with Casual Attire, it is more specifically designed for performance and comfort while participating in the outdoor adventure.  Students are advised to bring trail shoes or light hiking boots.  Rock climbing will be the outdoor adventure this year. (Weather permitting.)

Packing List

  •  Please bring an outfit for each type dress code described above.
  • Bring footwear appropriate for formal settings, outdoor activities, and possible rain or snow.
  • Any medicine or hygiene items you require.
  • We recommend a backpack over messenger bags for the competition.
  • At least one water bottle.
  • Layers appropriate for temperatures from 30 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hat and gloves
  • Pens and pencils



12:30 pm                     Depart Denver International Airport for Lander

5:00 pm                       Early arrivals campus tour starting from Baldwin Building, 306 Main St.

6:30 pm                       Dinner at Frassati Hall

7:00 pm                       Campus tour

7:30 pm                       Free time and class preparation

9:00 pm                       Holy Hour (Holy Rosary Church – Optional)

10:30 pm                     Curfew



 7:00-8:00 am           Breakfast at Frassati Hall

7:45 am                       Orientation in Frassati Lounge

8:30-9:50 am            Audit classes with current students (see schedule; no prep necessary)

10:00-11:20 am        Audit classes with current students (see schedule; no prep necessary)

11:35 am                     Mass (Don Bosco)

12:15 pm                     Lunch

1:00 pm                      Audit classes with current students (see schedule; no prep necessary)

2:30 pm                      Seminar class with Academic Dean and President in Augur (Competitors only)

4:00 pm                      Conversations with faculty (Competitors only)

5:30 pm                       Dinner at Frassati Hall

7:00-9:30 pm             Social Hour at the Pequod

10:30 pm                     (Recommended) Curfew for competitors



 7:15 am                       Breakfast in Frassati Hall

8:00 am                      Essay writing begins at Augur (Competitors Only)

10:00 am                    Essay writing finishes

10:15 am                     Speeches begin at Augur (Competitors only)

12:15 pm                     Lunch in Frassati Hall

12:45 pm – 4:45 pm      Outdoor adventure (Competitors Only)

6:00 pm                       Vigil Mass at Holy Rosary Parish

7:15 pm                       Close of Competition/Formal Dinner (Middle Fork Cafe, Main St.)

8:20 pm                      Dance put on by WCC student body (Frassati)

1:00 am                     Curfew



5:30 am                       Depart Lander for Denver International Airport

The shuttle will depart from Denver International Airport after the last passengers arrive on Thursday of the competition weekend.  A college representative will await all incoming competitors at Baggage Carousel 12, Jeppesen Terminal West. If you have trouble finding us, or your flight/baggage is delayed, please call Mrs. Mary Hagestad at 951-972-6571. Shuttles will depart for Denver International Airport on Sunday no later than 5:30 am, so be ready at your dormitory at 5:00 am.

For those arriving to the College in their own vehicle, please check in the at the College’s main entrance at 306 Main St. in Lander.  There you will receive your reading packet and other orientation materials.  Please check in between 5:30 and 6:00 pm on Thursday evening.

Those arriving by air but not taking the Denver shuttle will be met by College representatives and directed on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions, please contact Jonathan Rensch at 603-440-4615, or add notes to the travel information form below.

The College will reimburse competitors or their families up to $300 for travel expenses.  To request a voucher, please submit flight, lodging, and ground transportation receipts to  Photos of paper receipts or forwarded emails are both acceptable.  The travel forms below will allow you to name an address to which the reimbursement check will be sent.


If you have not already signed and returned a risk waiver to WCC, either for this competition or a previous stay such as PEAK program, you can download our risk waiver here.


Competitors' Forms

Use the forms below to select options for your weekend and submit travel information.