COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS HELP 96 TAFT HIGH SENIORS APPLY FOR COLLEGE
(Story provided by Lincoln County School District)
Lincoln City Mayor Dick Anderson and student Jose Soberanis
College Application Week at Taft 7-12 High School has been officially declared a success, with close to 90 percent of the senior class completing college applications.
“Beginning in early December, seniors began filling the school library, with 96 of them completing applications,” said school counselor Vicky Roller. Throughout the week, more than 144 students of all grades came to the library to better familiarize themselves with colleges they were interested in attending and to review scholarship opportunities, including those offered through the Oregon Student Access Commission.
The goal of Oregon College Application Week is to provide an opportunity for all Oregon high school seniors to complete and file college applications. While the focus is on helping all students, an extra effort was given to first-generation, low-income, and other students who may face barriers in applying to college. Taft High School was selected by the Oregon University System and the Oregon College Application Week Steering Committee to be a pilot school for this activity.
“With the help of 14 volunteers and a brand new iPad cart containing 30 iPads purchased for Taft by Oregon GEAR UP, the students were set up for success,” Roller said. “It was amazing to watch the students who were at first resistant to applying, finally go through the process.”
Along with the volunteers, the week was made possible through generous support from Samaritan Health Services. Liz Bardon, marketing/public relations coordinator at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, was one volunteer during the week. Her organization generously covered the cost of a college application for one student. Roller reports that the student, Jazlyn Mitchell, was overcome by emotions and gratitude for the generous gift.
One evening program gathering was highlighted by a parent event. Becky Wilson, an Oregon GEAR UP community engagement specialist, gave a financial aid presentation. Bruce Koike, president of Oregon Coast Community College, also was available that evening as a resource for parents and students.
Another volunteer giving students a helping hand was Lincoln City Mayor Dick Anderson, pictured above left, speaking to student Jose Soberanis. Anderson and his wife, Sue, were available during the first two days to meet with students, answer questions and provide support for students.
“It was incredible to see all the community support for this event and to see the students take the opportunity to apply for college,” said Principal Scott Reed. “Some students even received an immediate response from their application. This is a wonderful event to help seniors take the next step.”
“It is an exciting time at Taft. We have incredible teachers and administrators who are willing to do what it takes and even go above and beyond to provide opportunities for students like never before,” Roller said. “And, thank you to the volunteers! This community continues to amaze me. Every time there is a need, citizens step up.”