Class of 2012

Jaycee Elliott
Eagle Point High School
Portland State University

At 12-years-old, Jaycee saw his father go to prison and his mother struggled to provide for Jaycee and his three older sisters. The family moved several times, finally settling in Eagle Point about three years ago. There, Jaycee met teachers who inspired him. He began working at a local café and quickly showed the skill, compassion and maturity to become a manager. Jaycee believes his childhood experiences have taught him how to handle crisis and challenges. As captain of his school’s Brain Bowl and Academic Challenge team, Jaycee shines as a team player and leader. His career interests include criminology, medicine and business.


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Edith Gomez
Churchill High School
University of Oregon

Edith and her family emigrated from Mexico when Edith was a baby. She grew up feeling that as an undocumented immigrant, she had to “live in the shadows.” At home, she endured abuse from a violent father who kicked her out at age 15. Despite this turmoil, Edith never let her academics slip. She believes education is her ticket to escape poverty and second-class status. She is now preparing to graduate as one of only five full International Baccalaureate students at her high school. With the help of friends and an immigration lawyer, Edith has finally gained legal residency, and is pursuing citizenship. She plans to attend University of Oregon in a pre-dental program.


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Rachel Kelley
Roosevelt High School
Portland State University

Although both of Rachel’s parents were working, her family struggled to survive and sometimes did not have enough money to pay the electricity and water bills. After her mother had a stroke in 2005 and lost the use of the lefts side of her body, Rachel became her mother’s caretaker and has had to help run the household. She has been determined to excel in school and says her education is the key to creating a better life for herself and her family. In caring for her mother, Rachel discovered her own passion for helping others and plans to study counseling in college.


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Jordan Waterman
Newport High School
College: TBD

Jordan grew up in an unstable home environment with her mother addicted to drugs and her father struggling with alcoholism. As her parents went through a hostile divorce, Jordan found her sanctuary in school, studying math, orcas and The Oregon Trail. She discovered acceptance and community with her classmates and teachers. After her mother suffered a debilitating drug overdose and her father abandoned her, Jordan became homeless at 14-years-old. Still, she remained committed to her schoolwork and helping others in her community and was eventually taken in by a local couple. Now, Jordan plans to become an environmentally conscious architect.


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Whitney Bradshaw
Springfield High School
College: TBD

An honor student and school leader, Whitney has maintained her invincible optimism and infectious smile despite enduring some extremely difficult times. Whitney’s father was heavily involved with drugs, his actions driving their family into poverty. He was arrested when Whitney was three-years-old and is still in prison today. Since Whitney’s mother lost her job during the recession, the family’s financial distress has only increased. For every sport, every school trip, her school clothes and supplies, Whitney works and raises her own money.She is also a committed volunteer. An inspiring physics class led Whitney to her passion – science, light, and the universe. She is going to college to pursue her dream of being an astronomer. She is truly reaching for the stars.


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