Davis Tutt Photo by

This is the sixth profile of 20 about The Gazette’s Best & Brightest Class of 2011.


Davis Tutt embarked on a self-imposed journey last summer to uncover what he calls the true riches of Colorado: what is valuable to the people living here.

He made several roadtrips, with one of his most memorable stops in Leadville. Tutt, 18, spent a day with a group of 11- and 12-year-old children through a non-profit youth and family services agency that provides activities for kids to help them make healthy choices.

Tutt hiked, picnicked and played soccer and basketball with the children. He deemed most of them “daily orphans” because their parents worked in the surrounding ski towns, leaving early in the morning for work and returning late at night.

“They gave me a new appreciation for people who enjoy the simple things in life. They didn’t need cell phones – they enjoyed each other’s company. I’ve never seen any group of kids like each other so much,” he said. “They don’t have much, and they love it.”

During his journey, Tutt was impacted most by Maria — the wife of a migrant potato farmer — whom he met in Center in southern Colorado.

The town is marked by its water tower and single, broken street light.

Maria had been living in America for several years, speaking only Spanish until the previous year.

“She poignantly relived the birth of her daughter (here) and how she was told of a medical difficulty in a language she couldn’t understand,” Tutt said. “The absolute isolation she felt because she could not communicate with the doctors became her inspiration to learn English, earn her GED and apply to college with the hope of becoming a teacher.”

Many people want to get out of Center, Tutt said, but Maria wants to stay, bringing her education to the community. “Maria said Center is her home and she will be there forever,” Tutt said.

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Maria went through a two-year adult education program run by Brother Richard of the Catholic Diocese. When it started six years earlier, there were four people enrolled. There were two dozen last summer.

“Maria said Brother Richard saved her life,” Tutt said. “He was a gateway to her children having a better life.”

Tutt’s journey solidified that he wants to pursue a future in non-profit work.

“The whole trip opened up the world of possibilities,” he said. “Seeing all of the amazing work being done around the state makes me want to be a part of it.”



Fountain Valley School

Parents: R. Thayer Tutt Jr. and Melani Tutt

College plans: Colorado College

Other: Varsity Basketball Letters; Froelicher Society; Philanthropy Club president; Honor Council; Children’s Literacy Program, founder and co-president; Outdoor Education captain.


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