Any time you're the first person in your family to do something, others often stand up and take notice. That's what happened to 18-year-old Matthew Kolano of Desert Vista: he'll be the first member of his family to attend an American university after he graduates, and those who took notice are giving him $9,000 a year to do so. "It's for first-generation college students," Kolano said. "My parents didn't go to college in the U.S." Kolano applied for and received the Dorrance Scholarship, a high-dollar scholarship awarded annually to only about 25 incoming freshmen at Arizona's three state universities. "There were more than 400 applicants this year, and they pick about 50 finalists for an interview," Kolano said. Kolano was born in Poland, from whence both of his parents hail. He moved to New York when he was about 3, then moved to Connecticut and then came to Arizona, where he and his family have been for about 10 years. It was the boon of having foreign-born and educated parents that landed Kolano the Dorrance Scholarship - as well as maintaining a 3.0 GPA or higher, getting impressive SAT scores and having a track record of community involvement and leadership. "On April 25 I got the letter (saying I got the scholarship), so I was pretty excited that day," he said. In addition to the $36,000 worth of tuition aid, the Dorrance Scholarship will also grant him a one-time travel grant of $4,000 and the chance to head to Europe for Dorrance-related conferences. Kolano is excited about that too, and he's not the only one. "I'm very proud and very happy," said Kolano's mother, Bozena Kolano. --Jason Ludwig can be reached at (480) 898-7916 or email@example.com.