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Students earn scholarships from Wallowa Fund
Enterprise — The Wallowa Fund has awarded two $500 scholarships to students planning to return to Wallowa County after completing their education.
One scholarship is for a graduating high school senior, and one is for a young adult, age 35 or younger.
Cody Arbogast of Enterprise was awarded the high school senior scholarship. He is preparing for a professional career in the horse industry.
This fall he enrolled at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., in the Equine Science program and was recruited for the equine judging team. As a member of the team, he will have the opportunity to travel to regional and national judging contests, as well as to tour professional training operations and to judge with leading U.S. trainers.
After college, Arbogast plans to return to Wallowa County to start his own training program and carry on his grandfathers’ legacy of working with horses.
Arbogast said, “Our schools and businesses need families to stay and make a home here. I want to live here because of the sense of community. Many times I have seen the county step up to help out a neighbor in need. I want to live in that type of county. I want to support a community that has always supported me.”
Jessica Mendez of Wallowa is the recipient of the young adult scholarship. She is currently attending Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash. After finishing her prerequisites, she plans to transfer to Eastern Oregon University to complete a bachelor of science in nursing. Her long-term goal is to become a pediatric nurse practitioner with the ability to provide bilingual services in Wallowa County.
Mendez moved to Wallowa County as a child and by the age of 8 was already translating for her Spanish-speaking parents at medical appointments and school meetings. At first, she questioned her parents’ decision to accept a job in such an isolated place, but after starting school she met a teacher who changed her life.
Mendez said, “I don’t think I would be the person I am now, if not for my teacher’s personal dedication and hours of nurturing. Learning a second language is difficult, sometimes painful. It allowed me to develop the philosophy that if we have a desire to learn, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.”
Now Wallowa County is home and Mendez wants to come back, raise a family and make a living here. She said she wants to be able to give back many of the gifts she and her family have received in years past and to be a role model for others, showing them that they too can better their lives through education.
Educational and youth opportunities are the top priorities of the Wallowa Fund. Anyone can contribute to the fund, and donations of all sizes are welcome and appreciated.
Volunteers from throughout the county donate their time to share information and encourage donations to the fund.