Class of 2011

Dakota Garza
North Medford High School
University of Portland

Dakota lost her father to drugs when she was just a baby. Her Mother was unstable, moving Dakota from home to home, shelter to shelter, as she was growing up. After completing her first two years at NMHS, she was taken to California. In 2009, her Mom’s erratic behavior led Dakota to file a restraining order against her. With the help of friends, teachers, and an organization called MASLOW, Dakota returned to Medford, became emancipated, and secured a job, an apartment, and a Yorkie named Bailey. Education has always been a driving force in Dakota’s life. Today, she is at the University of Portland, studying nursing.


Watch Dakota's Video


Chloe Freuden
West Albany High School 
Washington State University

When Chloe’s brother Theo was diagnosed with autism, her world turned upside down. Her step-dad left the family, and her mom had to quit her teaching job to provide round-the-clock care for Theo. The family is financially and emotionally stressed, and Chloe feels like she has two faces. At home, she’s a co-parent and caregiver. At school, she’s ana cademic superstar and peer mediator with her sights set on pharmacy school. Chloe manages her myriad responsibilities with grace; she is determined to build a bright future for herself and her family.  Today, Chloe is in the pre-pharmacy program at Washington State University.


Watch Chloe's Video

Casey Ragghianti
Western Oregon University
Madison High School

Casey grew up with his father and stepmom, an alcoholic who was neglectful and abusive. School became a refuge where he could socialize, get support from adults who cared about him, and focus on his future.  In his junior year, Casey found a safe home with the family who had hosted his classmate and friend, an exchange student from Austria. Despite his difficult upbringing,Casey has emerged optimistic; he is a leader among his peers. Today, he is studying business at Western Oregon University.


Watch Casey's Video

Jorge Lopez-Contreras
Willamette High School
Oregon State University

Jorge’s parents never had the opportunity for higher education in their native Mexico; they immigrated here to escape poverty and struggled to keep the family of five afloat on low wages. To Jorge, education is the lens through which he understands the world around him. It is also his ticket to a better life. A quiet leader, Jorge graduated with his International Baccalaureate diploma and moved on to Oregon State University.  He plans to become a physician’s assistant or a doctor.


Watch Jorge's Video


Daphne Chambers
Springfield High School
University of Oregon

For her first 10 years, Daphne had to survive her parents’ drug use and abuse. When she was ten years old, she and her siblings were placed in foster care. Separated from their brothers, Daphne and her sister bounced between foster homes for several years. Daphne’s life was chaos, her future precarious. An elementary teacher saw Daphne’s potential, and helped her turn her life around. Soon, Daphne became a top student. From that point on, she stayed focused on her education and her future. Today, she is in her freshman year at the University of Oregon.


Watch Daphne's Video


Share This Page