Vanessa's Success Story
Most people don’t think about software engineering as a helping profession, but that’s the mindset of one of our amazing graduates, Vanessa, as she looks toward the future. “I’m big on helping people, and I want to create software programs that help people,” says Vanessa. Her senior year has been tumultuous, to say the least, first with the pandemic and then the threat of wildfires to her home in Clackamas County (everyone in her family is safe).
Vanessa’s ability to remain positive despite unexpected challenges will serve her well in the future. As the recipient of a 2020 Jordan Wings Scholarship, she is one of just 32 seniors nationally to receive a full ride to their chosen 4-year university. (Friends of the Children-Portland is proud to have had a Wings recipient for three consecutive years.) Vanessa plans to start at Clackamas Community College and then transfer to Evergreen State College in Olympia to pursue her degree.
Vanessa learned the value of preparation from her Friend, Natasha, back in middle school. She began planning for college as early as her freshman year at Clackamas High School. Natasha also instilled the importance of responsibility and accountability, prompting Vanessa to stay on track academically and earned extra credit. As a result, she entered her senior year with only four classes left to earn her diploma – and a lot less stress to contend with than some of her classmates. “Vanessa has always been self-motivated – she just needed a nudge here or there,” says Natasha.
Vanessa says that Natasha challenged her to get out of her comfort zone and think seriously about attending college out of state. “I wanted to stay close to home, but when I visited Evergreen I knew that was the place for me,” she says. When she reflects on her time at Friends of the Children-Portland, it’s the unconditional support that Vanessa appreciates the most. “Everyone was always so proud of me and so supportive, even if I’d just met them,” she says. The generosity of donors and staff will also stay with her. “I loved the donations of school supplies and clothes and whatever else I needed. I always felt taken care of,” she says.
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