Oregon Resident Wins a Scholarship for Oregon Latinos (SOL) to Attend Willamette

Alicia GarciaAlicia Garcia of Mt. Angel, Oregon is very thankful to the Scholarships for Oregon Latinos for the opportunity it has given her to further her education.

SOL, whose mission is to provide educational opportunities at Chemeketa Community College for Hispanic/Latino students so that they can become contributing members of society and leaders in their communities was founded in December of 1994 by six Latino community members. "I am very thankful to the SOL scholarship program because it has changed my life. It has also given me many opportunities that I never knew existed. This experience has provided me with networking opportunities and with the chance to meet many wonderful people. If it wasn't for this opportunity I don't think I would be in the same track and I probably wouldn't be attending Willamette University. This opportunity has kept me motivated to keep trying hard and to follow my dreams," said Garcia.

Garcia first heard about SOL while attending John F. Kennedy High School. At first she had an interest in attending Western Oregon University but she decided to apply for the SOL scholarship because she wanted to keep all her options open. The scholarship is available to students pursuing a 4-year degree in: business, education, science, engineering, math, law, medicine, computer science, nursing, EMT or journalism. The selection committee also requires that the applicant complete fifty hours of community service and be bilingual. The student must also maintain a 3.0 G.P.A. and must agree to utilize his/her education in advancing the interests of the Latino community. Garcia has been able to perform these duties. Her community service was performed at the Mt. Angel Youth Center and at the Mano a Mano Family Center.

This fall Garcia will be able to attend Willamette University. "I was awarded $15,000 by the SOL transfer scholarship. I am attending Willamette University because of their wonderful business program and because it's close to home." Keeping a good standing has paid off for Garcia. "School has been easy for me because I have had the support of my family. They tell me not to work so hard and my boss has been very understanding too. I also know the places to go for help if I need it at Chemeketa," she added. She is also very involved in her community. She has been a member of Latinos Unidos Siempre for one year and is also a board member. She is a member of the Chemeketa Community College Foundation and is a liaison to the Oregon Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

Garcia would like to one day become a stockbroker. She would like to volunteer her services to low income families to help them plan for a better future. Her greatest inspiration has been her mother who has always work hard to provide her children with love and all the support they needed. Like many young students Garcia once felt like she couldn't afford to go to a private university but thanks to all the opportunities next school year she will be attending one of the most prestigious schools in Oregon. "I would like to let other Latinos know to look for opportunities and options. Don't ever give up and always try hard. Don't let an education slip away and always think about your future. And when you need help look for resources and never discard private colleges," she added.

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