Having spent their entire senior year amid a global pandemic, the Class of 2021 has faced unique circumstances. This year’s graduating seniors have adapted to unconventional learning environments, interruptions on the field and stage, and missing out on experiences like senior year homecoming that round out the high school experience.
We are proud to partner with the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) to honor six graduates of the Class of 2021 whose hard work, dedication and tenacity never wavered despite the most exceptional challenges. This year, we awarded six scholarships totaling $14,000 to the 2021 winners of the OnPoint Community Credit Union Scholar Program. The winners announced today are graduating seniors who have achieved a 3.50 or higher unweighted cumulative grade point average (GPA) and have earned either a varsity letter in an OSAA-sanctioned sport or competed in an OSAA-sanctioned activity.
With more than 320 students applying from 153 OSAA member schools from April 1-30, 2021, we are excited to announce the six remarkable Scholar Athletes and Activity Scholars who have overcome challenges to achieve greatness inside and outside of the classroom:
$5,000 Scholarships Winners
Emilie Chau, South Salem High School, Salem-Keizer School District, is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma candidate and ranks first out of 425 students in her class with a cumulative 4.0 GPA. She ran on the varsity cross country and track and field teams for the last four years and served as captain her senior year. Chau holds leadership positions across various student groups, including second violin chair for South Salem’s Orchestra and President of the Speech and Debate Club. She has supported the community through her roles as Vice President and Editor of the student-led Key Club and as a member of the National Honor Society. Chau also volunteers at Salem Hospital, Salem Police Department and PDX Concierge, helping deliver groceries to immunocompromised residents during COVID-19. She will attend Princeton University.
Upon winning, Chau shared with us, “cross-country, orchestra and other OSAA-sanctioned activities have impacted me for the better, teaching me life lessons on leadership, perseverance and sportsmanship. Being recognized by OnPoint helps me as I pursue a Public Policy degree at Princeton University with hopes of creating a more equal society.”
Julia Scher of South Eugene High School, Eugene School District, graduates as a French immersion student in the IB Diploma Program with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, taking many Advanced Placement (AP) courses. She is a youth community representative for Ophelia’s Place Board of Directors, a local organization working to create an empowering environment for girls. Scher is also a part of the Women’s Advisory Council for Youth (WACY) at Ophelia’s Place and created inspiring women-focused events to give young girls opportunities to learn from women in the community about their careers. She affected real change at her school, organizing a student-led movement to successfully change the school mascot from the “Axemen” to the “Axe”. The change prompted a Title IX investigation that resulted in women’s locker room upgrades and evaluations for gender inequities across the school. Scher ran track and field and played varsity volleyball for South Eugene High School. She will attend Yale University.
Scher told us, “winning OnPoint’s $5,000 scholarship will be critical in helping pay for my college. I am thankful to be rewarded for following my passions and I could not have done it without those who helped me to accomplish my goals.”
$1,000 Scholarship Winners
Seth Handman of Creswell High School, Creswell School District, is involved with Unified Basketball, a basketball league giving students with and without disabilities the chance to play basketball together and have opportunities they may not usually have to play sports. Despite the challenges he’s faced having a learning disability, Handman achieved academic success and developed his own learning methods to stay on track. He joined the varsity cross country team, which helped him learn the importance of persistence, perseverance and hard work. Handman was recognized with the OnPoint Community Credit Union Academic All-State award for varsity boys’ cross country, placing in the top ten of the state’s highest cumulative team GPA. In the future, he wants to work with people with disabilities.
Sabrina Li of Clackamas High School, North Clackamas School District, created the National Tech Honor Society (NTHS), a club for socioeconomically disadvantaged Clackamas High School students that provides scholarships, internships, college guidance and events to help students navigate their futures. She’s coordinated events and opportunities for 150 club members, including a guest lecture series to learn about potential career fields and internships across Reed College with faculty. Li challenges herself academically, taking AP science and history courses and math, as well as public speaking courses at Clackamas Community College. She will attend Emory University.
Cecilia Wu of Franklin High School, Portland Public Schools, is a first-generation college student and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was two years old. Since kindergarten, she pursued opportunities in and outside of school to teach herself English and improve her writing, speaking and reading skills, culminating in her enrollment in AP English and Literature classes during her last two years of high school. Wu discovered her passion for social entrepreneurship last spring when she founded Genoploy, a team of bilingual peers who assist people with language barriers apply for benefits like unemployment. At Stanford University, she plans to study business and its cross-cultural impact.
Ayden Wolgamott of Elmira High School, Fern Ridge School District, serves as a teen counselor for the Eugene Police Department’s Safety Town program to teach kindergarten students the importance of safety as they begin their first day of school. He maintained a cumulative 4.1 GPA throughout high school and received various academic awards in music, math and weightlifting. Wolgamott is a three-sport athlete, holding captain positions on the Elmira High School wrestling, football and basketball teams. He will attend Southern Oregon University in the fall.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 OnPoint Community Credit Union Scholar Program. We wish them ongoing success as they begin their next chapter. Our partnership with the OSAA to recognize outstanding students with scholarships is just one piece of OnPoint’s 89-year commitment to quality education. Click here to learn more about our deep roots in education and the many ways we continue to cultivate them today.