Congratulations to Pendleton High School senior Keyshawn Jackson, who won the Beat the Odds Scholarship from Stand for Children in Portland, Oregon. The $16,000 scholarship celebrates the achievements of inspiring high school seniors who overcome tremendous obstacles on their path to graduation day. Beat the Odds scholars succeed in school despite challenges like poverty and homelessness thanks to personal perseverance, great teachers and dedicated school staff. Jackson was recognized at the awards luncheon in Portland on November 13th.
Jackson's childhood was marked by the incarceration of his father and unstable living situations at times. He recognizes several teachers, including Emily Muller-Cary and Sonia Cooley at PHS, with helping him along the way.
A strong academic student and involved in several school activities, Jackson has persevered to apply for college with support from Cooley through the ECMC program and the high school's ASPIRE office and Jill Gregg, ASPIRE coordinator. Gregg said, "It wasn’t until I spoke with him a few times that I really learned the adversities and challenges Keyshawn has overcome. And it’s for this reason that I think he was picked for this scholarship. His personal story is just a small part, but who he is today is what makes him stand out. He hasn’t let his challenges hold him back at all. Despite what he has overcome, he is driven and hopeful."
Jackson hopes to attend Oregon State University and study sociology, possibly helping children in similar situations to his background succeed. "If you have a lot of hardships, then take those and make them into opportunities. If you're positive, you'll have a better outlook on life and you'll have a better outlook on education," he said.
Stand for Children has created a video about Keyshawn and his remarkable journey.