Class of 2010
Desiree was just 8 years old when the police raided her home and took her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, a drug dealer, to jail. After a brief stay with relatives, Desiree and her brothers were returned to the family home, where the drug abuse and domestic violence continued for seven more years. At age 15, Desiree told her mother that she could no longer go on living in such an unsafe environment. When her mother refused to change, Desiree moved out. Through it all, Desiree’s commitment to her education never wavered. Today, she is at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, studying to be an ultrasound technologist.
Dakotah was raised by a single mother who, for many years, was gravely ill and unable to work. The family moved frequently and became homeless several times.In 2004, they moved to Sweet Home to help run an outreach ministry and soup kitchen. Having lived his whole life below the poverty line, Dakotah sees education as a valuable tool for obtaining a more secure life. Today, Dakotah is at University of Oregon taking classes in health care and teaching. He will be the first person in his family to graduate from college.
The oldest son in a large extended family, Rogelio became the man of the house when he was just 10 years old. While his mother worked long hours at her minimum wage job to make ends meet, Rogelio attended school and cared for his baby sister in the evenings. As a freshman at David Douglas, Rogelio’s goal was simply to graduate. However, he has come to see that with education, his mother’s strong work ethic and a spirit of community service, he can find his way out of poverty and be the strong role model that he knows he needs to be for his sister and younger cousins. Rogelio graduated with a 3.56 GPA and has completed more than 200 hours of volunteer service with the Children’s Healing Art Project, for which he is now an employee. He is earning his Associates at Mount Hood Community College before transferring to a four-year school to study pre-law.