Thompson- Patch Scholarship Fund, Salem, Oregon

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Phone: (503) 779-5414


Student Awardee Stories


Oluwdara (Dara) Elkanah- 2022 Awardee

High School: South Salem High School

College and Year: Oregon State University – Freshman

What have you learned about yourself at college? I have learned that I truly enjoy school when I cater it to my passions. The classes I have the chance to take in the next 4 years make me incredibly excited. What is your major? What courses are you taking? Plans after graduation? I am majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with an option in Child Development. I am taking classes that align to support my future career goals. I want to work with underrepresented childrenspecifically children of color and children experiencing disabilities. After I graduate, I plan to teach abroad in Nigeria for a year. I would love to teach in my birthplace and experience the culture.

How did the Thompson-Patch Scholarship help you? College is so expensive, and there are many fees they may not tell you about. The Thompson Patch Scholarship helped me cover excess expenses like my new laptop and my textbooks.

What advice do you have for a new high school graduate? You have the power to create, learn, and do anything you want to make your environment better. It’s okay if you don't have your major or your passions figured out- a lot of people don't! But once you find that passion, run and don't stop. Remember to never let anything or anyone stop you from achieving your dreams.

What would you like people to know about you and your family? I am the eldest daughter of immigrant parents from Lagos, Nigeria, and honestly that journey has been difficult. Growing up, I was a built-in babysitter and took care of my little siblings every day. I have three younger siblings, one of them experiencing severe disabilities. I admit, I was very scared about leaving for college because my siblings have grown accustomed to having their big sister constantly there. I had to remind myself that it was my time to achieve my educational goals. It is my time to shine. If I don't, who will? I had to remind myself that I could still be a great big sister by showing my siblings the power of education.

How has college been for you? College is great. I was a part of EOP (Educational Opportunities Program) and got to move into college a week before my peers. The program was catered towards students of color, so I made connections with students and educators who looked like me. It made the transition to college so much easier.

Education is the foundation upon which we build our future

Associate Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

More Student Stories

Yulisa Marcos Cristobal

2019 Awardee
I learned that asking for help can be a good thing at times and that I need support from others.

Zena Greenawald

2019 Awardee
It’s hard to balance school, and work but she is on track to achieve a science education to prepare her for a career in conservation.

Jenneffer Martinez

2018 Awardee
Excited to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.

Vanessa Suarez

2021 Awardee
Thompson Patch Scholarship helped me to stay on campus while I adjusted to campus life.

Ayan Muhumed

2018 Awardee
Your scholarship was a critical help, I purchased a laptop computer that I am using today.

Saul Jurado- 2009 Awardee

Home: Salem, Oregon

Colleges attended: Chemeketa Community College, AA University of Oregon, BA Sociology, Business, Environmental Studies

What is your current Job? I am a education assistant and coach at Chemawa Indian School. I provide assistance to special needs kids at the school. Helping native kids succeed for the first time and challenge themselves to break down their mental barriers.

What do you do for fun? I dance at pow wows and love to learn and share my culture with my daughter and my community.

What did you learn about yourself at college? I learned that I was a procrastinator and now am a man of lists and timelines. I learned that it is important to push your boundaries to succeed.

How did the Thompson-Patch Scholarship help you? With the funding from the scholarship and working summers I was able to complete college debt free. It helped me get a start on life without going into debt. It helped me “beat the odds”. Native American kids often don’t graduate but I was able to with help.

What advice do you have for a new high school graduate? Learn what your limits are and be willing to go beyond them into uncomfortable areas. Honor your heritage and trust in yourself.

"Education is the ladder to success"

 Chief Dan George

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