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Christina Thomas receives 90% scholarship to attend University of Oregon in fall

PMG PHOTO: KIVA HANSON - Christina Thomas was awarded the Ford Family Scholarship. She credits the support of her mother as well 
as Sam Loza, MHS Future Center director, pictured above, for encouraging her to pursue higher education. Christina Thomas, a senior at MHS, has been awarded the prestigious Ford Family Foundation scholarship. The scholarship awards students with 90% of unmet need to attend college, and supports them throughout college with academic guidance, personal and professional development and alumni connections.

Thomas, who is from Warm Springs, will attend the University of Oregon in the fall, pursue a pre-med degree. She intends to go to medical school after receiving her undergrad.

Her desire to help others stems from a love of her community, she hopes to become a research physician, and continue to always give back to her community.

"I've always known I wanted to help others," said Thomas. "My own experience with healthcare made me even more interested in it."

While in high school, Thomas has been highly involved both at school and in her community.

At Madras High School, Thomas served as student body president, yearbook editor, and served as the school districts student representative on the school board. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, and Art Club and played volleyball and tennis at MHS. Thomas says the community of teachers at MHS pushed her to go for her dreams and make it possible.

"I really want to thank Miss Loza at the future center," said Thomas. "She really encouraged me to apply to all the scholarships, which has made it possible for me, and gave me a safe place to dream at MHS, not just for me, but for all the students."

In Warm Springs, Thomas has been working with Indian Health Services, which confirmed her desire to pursue a career in the medical field. Thomas wants to become a research physician, and advocate for communities like her own. "I want to always be able to give back to my community, and advocate for Native communities like mine. I know I'll be in other places, but its important for me to always go back to my roots."

Thomas says that support from her mother, Shirelle, has made an enormous impact on her, "My mom is someone that is truly there for me. She has always been supportive of me," said Thomas. "She has always known I could do it. She has done so much to make it possible."

The Ford Family Foundation Scholarship is awarded to around 100 Oregon High School students each year, and supports them with 90% of unmet college costs, such as tuition, fees, room and board and personal costs.

The scholarship was founded by Kenneth Ford and is designed to assist students who otherwise would experience extreme difficulty in obtaining college due to financial constraints.

Thomas applied for the award, along with hundreds of other Oregonians, in March, and was interviewed along with 234 other students, before being selected.

"This opens doors, so I don't have to worry about funding for school. I can focus on being a student, and not worry," said Thomas.

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