Wilson Scholarship Initiative

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    Did you know…

    • One in four college students graduate with student debt.
    • Tuition and fees to attend a public four-year university have jumped 275% since 2000.
    • Over $1.48 trillion in loan debt is collectively owed, about 790 billion more that the total U.S. credit card debt.
    • The average class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loans, up 6% from last year.
    • Oregon has fallen to the bottom tier nationally of states providing financial support for its neediest students.

    All of this might be bad news for new high school graduates except that Wilson High School is unique: We have a community that supports our commitment to helping our most deserving seniors succeed after high school. We first appealed to you in 2015 to join our Scholarship Initiative and your response was overwhelming. Your generosity has enabled us to provide two $1000 scholarships annually. 

    We are asking once again for your support as we begin a drive to raise $50,000 to endow perpetual scholarships for Wilson students through the Oregon Community Fund program.

    Benefits include:

    • Donations are tax-deductible.
    • Local businesses who donate will receive a Wilson Student Supporter sticker and the opportunity to advertise on Wilson’s website.
    • For donations of $1000 or more you can name your scholarship and attend the June awards ceremony to present your gift in person.
    • Changing the lives of deserving Wilson students!

    How to Donate:

    • Checks can be mailed to Wilson Scholarship Initiative, 1151 SW Vermont, Portland, OR  97219, ATTN: Erica Meyers.
    • Credit card contributions can be phoned to Ana Curtis, bookkeeper, 503-916- 5280, ext. 75266.
    • Donations can be made online at Schoolpay.

    Please support our future leaders! No amount is too small. We thank you.

    Questions? Email Tina-Marie Baskin, scholarship coordinator.


    Scholarships Help Students Achieve Their Potential

    One of our local business partners, Todd Gifford of Gifford Family Dentistry, has shared his scholarship story. Please take a few moments to read it and realize the difference scholarships made in his life. He is not only supporting the WHS Scholarship Initiative, he is establishing his own $1000 scholarship for a Wilson senior. We are so grateful to have him in our Wilson family. Hopefully you will feel inspired to join our Initiative supporters too.

    Dr. Gifford's Story:

    "Upon completing high school in 1990, I lacked the direction and discipline necessary to pursue a career goal. A one-year scholarship to my local community college helped expose me to my first college experience, but I quit after the first term. My job at the bowling alley flipping burgers and handing out rental shoes was not fulfilling either, so I left to join the Army. In exchange for a six-year enlistment, I received training to be a medical laboratory technician. During that tour of duty, I gained both the direction and discipline I previously lacked. With my enlistment obligation complete, I returned to college and became a dentist.

    "College was expensive, even back then. And I already had a wife and two kids. I started out using my GI Bill at my local community college. I also volunteered in many ways including serving as an officer in both student government and the school’s honor society. I found many opportunities to be involved while continuing to earn good grades and hold down a job.

    "I learned about the Oregon Student Assistance Commission and reviewed the list of available scholarships administered under that umbrella program created by the Oregon Legislature in 1959. An application and a couple of essays later, I was in the pool of potential recipients for many of these scholarships. One memorable scholarship I was awarded came from the Ford Family Foundation.

    "With the financial burden of undergraduate and doctorate training minimized, I was better able to focus on my training. I will always be thankful for the many scholarships I was awarded, especially being a Ford Scholar, which provided amazing benefits, in both financial assistance and personal growth. My experience was made possible because of two very important things: generous people created scholarship programs, and I learned how to apply for them. With my formal education behind me, it is an honor to now be involved with programs that support today’s deserving students as they pursue their own dream careers—just as I once did. I am proud to partner with Wilson High School in their initiative to work with the local business community to establish a scholarship that supports deserving Wilson graduates. I hope you will join us."