The Rotary Club of Albina awarded one Benson Polytechnic and three Roosevelt High School seniors scholarships at the 20th annual Neil Kelly Scholarship Luncheon on May 23 at the Moda Center. The $2,000 awards for 2017-18 are renewable for three more years, as long as the recipients maintain their academic standing.
Benson High’s Tarefa Geda accepted the award with an eye to attending Portland Community College next year and then Portland State University to pursue certification and a degree as an automotive engineer.
From Roosevelt, Edwin Benavides thanked God, his family and his counselors; he will pursue a physician’s assistant degree from Portland State. Chito Baleke described her journey from Rwandan refugee camps to college-bound Portlander as difficult but worth it to be able to attend Portland State and become a nurse practitioner. Alissa Ouanesisouk thanked “those who influenced me to give back to others,” announcing her acceptance at Pacific Lutheran University to become a math teacher.
Among the more than 100 at the luncheon were three members of Portland’s City Council, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman, and two Portland Public Schools Board directors, Amy Kohnstamm and Paul Anthony. As keynote speaker, Wheeler commended the Rotarians: “Education is the only way to rid our city of generational poverty, and you’ve chosen to invest in these amazing students who are an inspiration to us all.”