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Gervais High's Sarahi Baz and St. Paul's Rianna Nowlin receive scholarships.

Sarahi Bazan of Gervais High School and Rianna Nowlin of St. Paul High School are among the Maps Community Foundation scholarship awardees, the foundation announced recently.

Bazan will attend Western Oregon University in Monmouth this fall to study bilingual education. Nowlin will attend Point Loma Nazarene in San Diego to study Christian studies with a focus on leadership.

The foundation issued a total of $27,500 in scholarships to 23 Mid-Willamette Valley graduating seniors to support the next chapter in their educational journeys. Scholarship awards ranged from $500 to $3,500 for the 2022-23 school year.

Bazan found her passion for teaching in a unique way — she distracted her younger brother from family challenges by showing him math problems she had learned in school that day. Hailing from an immigrant household, she discovered that at heart she wants to pursue bilingual education. COURTESY PHOTO: DORA G - Sarahi Bazan of Gervais High School will study bilingual education at Western Oregon University.

"In my high school years, I was able to volunteer at a couple of places where I worked with children, and I just grew fascinated," Bazan said in her scholarship application video. "When I was told that I would be good at teaching, it became something that I instantly wanted to pursue.

"Being bicultural and bilingual will help me connect with more students, family members, as well as whole communities," she added.

Nowlin said she did a lot of soul searching before discovering a field of study that felt just right for her. As a youngster she mulled the myriad possibilities: zookeeper, gardener, teacher, singer. But in a few years, when the topic became weightier, so did the answer — preacher.COURTESY PHOTO: AINSLEY GOUGHNOUR - Rianna Nowlin of St. Paul High School will study Christian studies with a leadership focus at Point Loma Nazarene.

"I plan to major in Christian studies with a focus on leadership, so that I can become a pastor," she said in her application video. "It took me awhile to figure it out, but I would love to be able to bring others closer to Jesus and deeper in our faith as a career.

"I want to have a job that works beyond a desk and works to help people on a daily (basis)," she added.

With a mission of enriching the lives of members and community, the foundation focuses on improving the quality of life in the communities of Marion and Polk counties served by Maps Credit Union. Maps Community Foundation is funded through a penny-per-swipe program and additional Maps contributions.

In 2021, the foundation distributed more than $300,000 locally.

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