The Adam Burris Memorial Scholarship

Making the performing arts and arts education more accessible for Colorado and Wyoming students

Congratulations to our 2024 Scholarship recipient


Lexyn’s dedication and compassion shine through in their numerous contributions to the band and choir programs at MCHS. With a clear passion for the performing arts and a goal to teach music to future generations, Lexyn embodies the spirit of perseverance and leadership.

Starting at Colorado Mesa University in Fall 2024, Lexyn is excited to pursue a degree in Music Education, with the ambition to share his passion and knowledge with others. Lexyn’s love for music has deepened through their years in Colorado, serving as a source of resilience through challenging times. We are proud to support Lexyn Neighbors as they embark on this new chapter, confident that their future in music will be as harmonious as his past.

Congratulations, Lexyn, and best of luck next fall!

Pictured: Lexyn Neighbors (he/they)

Creating opportunities for Arts Education

At the heart of the Adam Burris Memorial Scholarship lies a profound commitment to honoring the impactful legacy of Adam, a person whose positive influence reached far and wide. To pay tribute to the way he inspired others, we have established this scholarship as a means of giving back to young individuals who embody Adam’s extraordinary spirit. Adam lived with exceptional qualities—great work ethic, dedication, perseverance, compassion, and good humor—and it is these very attributes that we seek to reward in aspiring students. We recognize the transformative power of education and, drawing inspiration from Adam’s own journey, aim to provide deserving individuals with the same opportunities he received as a scholarship recipient himself. Our mission is to empower the next generation of passionate individuals, offering them a chance to pursue their dreams and passions, just as Adam did.

Empowering tomorrow’s performers

The Adam Burris Memorial Scholarship is dedicated to supporting aspiring students from Colorado and Wyoming who are pursuing a college degree in the performing arts—whether it be music, theatre, or dance. By focusing on this niche, we aim to offer deserving students the chance to cultivate their talents and dreams in an environment that nurtures their passion. We believe that through this scholarship, we are not only honoring Adam’s memory but also helping pave the way for a new generation of artists to thrive.

Celebrating the arts

The performing arts hold a special place in our hearts, transcending boundaries and fostering creativity, empathy, and self-expression. We firmly believe in the transformative power of the arts and their ability to shape individuals and communities. By supporting students pursuing performing arts degrees, we contribute to the enrichment of our cultural tapestry and recognize the importance of fostering talent in fields that bring joy, inspiration, and unity to the world. Join us in championing the performing arts and helping promising students turn their passion into a lifelong pursuit.

Adam’s Story

Adam Burris, a graduate of Montezuma-Cortez High School, was an exemplary person. He achieved high academic success and was a role model to his peers for his tenacity, wit, and talent. In December 2012, Adam was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia which he battled for the next two years before passing away on January 30, 2015 at the age of 22.

During his time in various hospitals, Adam encountered many trials all while wearing a brave face. On the day of his diagnosis, he said that he was scared but that it would not beat him. It was not always easy, and there were many dark days he went through including the passing of his father, Frank, in November of 2014. However, Adam did not stop fighting for himself until the very end. He had many opportunities to give up, and he simply refused to do so.  

While battling cancer, Adam continued to strive for excellence. He graduated with his Associate of Arts in Music from Laramie County Community College where he played tuba and trombone and sang with the choirs. He was named an outstanding soloist in a number of jazz competitions. He was a high performing rep with a marketing company and had plans to open his own private teaching studio in southern Colorado. And he continued to make people smile and encouraged them to be the best that they could be. His determination to succeed and help others on their path to success never wavered. He was always there to make the situation just a little bit happier and just a little bit lighter.  

Adam was loved deeply and widely by his large family at home in Cortez, as well as by countless classmates, co-workers, teammates, and friends. His teachers have described him as “the type of student you became a teacher for.” He was academically and musically exceptional, and at the same time, a hilarious person to be around. He continues to inspire his loved ones today and shows us that “Champions find a way.” 

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