Seven Klamath County School District seniors — including four from Lost River Junior-Senior High School — have been selected for four-year Ford Family Foundation Scholarships that will pay for 90 percent of their college costs.
Recipients are Lost River seniors Makenzie Girtman, Yajaira Cobian, Irene Aguirre and Luz Hernandez; Chiloquin Junior-Senior High School senior Ashia Wilson; Henley High School senior Jessica Northcutt; and Gilchrist Junior-Senior High School senior Madison Mefford.
Of 6,000 applicants, 200 are selected for interviews. Of those, the Ford Family Foundation selects up to 125 students from Oregon and 14 students from Siskiyou County, Calif., who demonstrate exceptional academic and personal potential. The Ford Scholars scholarship covers 90 percent of unmet college costs and is calculated on the college’s cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room and board, personal costs, etc.), minus other grants and scholarships.
Klamath County’s Ford Scholars are:
Ashia Wilson: Wilson, a senior at Chiloquin Junior-Senior High School, plans to attend the University of Oregon and major in environmental studies. Her career goal is to be an environmental rights advocate.
Wilson, a 3.65 student, is only 16 and has advanced her coursework to be able to graduate a year early. She is very involved in the Chiloquin community and is a member of the Klamath Tribal Youth Council, where she focuses on environmental issues. As a sophomore, Wilson took part in the Rios to Rivers program, which included a six-week exchange in Chile to study watersheds in other regions of the world.
Wilson created a kayak club designed to reconnect Chiloquin youth to their local waterways. She also took part in an internship through Klamath River Keepers where she focused on dam removal, water quality and quantity through a tribal perspective. Within this work, Wilson was featured in an article in Vanity Fair about her experiences.
Wilson has set up within Chiloquin Elementary School a community closet for those in need. She has collected donations from various companies and individuals and purchased clothing and hygiene products.
Irene Aguirre: Aguirre, a senior at Lost River Junior-Senior High School, plans to attend Oregon Institute of Technology and major in psychology and counseling. Her career goal is to be a family marriage therapist.
Aguirre, a 3.88 student, is involved in FBLA, a business club where she also is an officer; National Honor Society; and LEOs Club, a youth organization of Lions Clubs International which focuses on community service. She plays on a club soccer team and works part-time at County Cork Collectibles in Merrill. This year, she was on the Potato Festival Court and won runner-up for the title of Potato Festival Queen.
Yajaria Cobian: Cobian, a senior at Lost River Junior-Senior High School, plans to earn a degree in human biology at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Her goal is to specialize in nursing at Oregon Health & Science University and become a family nurse practitioner.
In high school, she has maintained a 3.89 GPA, and is a three-sport athlete, competing in volleyball, basketball, and track. She is involved in FBLA, robotics and National Honor Society. She joined FFA for the first time this year and is raising a turkey to sell at fair. She works part-time at K&K Espresso Deli in Merrill, and is involved in LEO’s Club, a youth organization of Lions Clubs International which focuses on community service.
Makenzie Girtman: Girtman, a senior at Lost River Junior-Senior High School, will attend Corban University, a private Christian college in Salem. She plans to study biology and biomedical sciences. She also will play basketball for Corban. After earning her undergraduate degree, she plans to take a year off to study abroad before attending medical school and specializing in orthopedic surgery.
Girtman, who has a 4.0 GPA, is a three-sport high school athlete, competing in volleyball, basketball and softball. She is involved in 4-H, FBLA and National Honor Society and was the statistician for Lost River football games. She works part-time at K&K Espresso Deli in Merrill, and is involved in LEO’s Club, a youth organization of Lions Clubs International which focuses on community service. She also works at Mike and Wanda’s restaurant.
Luz Hernandez: Hernandez, a senior at Lost River Junior Senior High School, plans to attend Oregon State University and major in elementary education with a minor in psychology. She wants to return to the Lost River area and work as a kindergarten teacher.
Hernandez, a 3.82 student, is involved in FBLA, a business club where she also is an officer; National Honor Society; and LEOs Club, a youth organization of Lions Clubs International which focuses on community service. She plays on a club soccer team and works part-time at Tacos A La Mexicana in Merrill.
Madison Mefford: Mefford, a senior at Gilchrist Junior-Senior High School, plans to attend University of Oregon and major in English with a creative writing concentration. A 4.0 student since seventh-grade, she is actively involved in school clubs and her community, working closely with the Gilchrist school-based health center. She also volunteers in the day care room and helps with community cleanup. She has two jobs: During the school year, she works at evening shift at Dollar General, where she was recently promoted to manager; and in the summer months, she works as a housekeeper at Woodsman Country Lodge.
Mefford started writing her book in elementary school and finished it the summer before her freshman year in high school. She hopes to publish the 450-page manuscript, which she describes as a “coming of age” story about a girl who discovers she’s the alpha of a werewolf tribe. “I grew up reading books,” she said. “It motivated me to put something out there to inspire joy.”
Jessica Northcutt: Northcutt, a senior at Henley High School, plans to attend Northwest Christian University in Eugene to study pre-med. She also will be on the volleyball team.
Northcutt has been a scholar athlete in volleyball for four years, basketball for four years, and softball for three years. In addition, she has been involved in Hunger Not Impossible, which opened a food pantry at the school and provides meals for students during the summer months. Her community service activities also include Henley High School blood drives, a fund-raising crab feed, church activities, and sponsorship of a Special Olympics basketball tournament.