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Barlows Sam Porter earns prestigious college scholarship

by: file photo Sam Porter

Sam Porter, the standout Barlow High School student-athlete featured in The Gresham Outlook in late December, has been awarded the prestigious Horatio Alger Scholarship, which provides $20,000 toward college expenses.

Porter and her mother were on their way to Seattle for a soccer camp for prospective college recruits when she checked her email. While doing so, she came across a message that sounded too good to be true.

Porter immediately called Patty Neuenschwander, Barlow's College and Career Center counselor, asking if the message was for real.

'Does this email sound like I won a scholarship?' Porter asked her counselor.

'Yes, you did win,' Neuenschwander said.

With the Horatio Alger Scholarship, Porter, a senior, earns a trip to Washington, D.C., in April to be honored for the award. In addition, the amount of the scholarship could double to $40,000 depending on the college she attends.

The Horatio Alger Scholarship is the largest scholarship fund in the United States, and Porter was chosen as one of 104 national winners. It recognizes individuals who have experienced difficulties in their lives, yet have become examples of perseverance and determination.

'I was just happy that this national scholarship would look at me and see someone that they want to put their money into,' Porter said. 'They want to invest time and work and money into me, which means a lot, because I knew college is not going to be easy to pay for.'

Porter's heroic story was featured in 'Sam has soccer,' which appeared in the Dec. 24, 2011, edition of The Gresham Outlook. It chronicled the difficult circumstances she has endured and the escape she found in soccer.

This month, Porter also learned she would receive $1,000 through the Inspireum Soccer Award, which honors high school soccer players who excel in the sport despite personal obstacles.

Now, Sam is being recognized for her achievements in the classroom. She is an honor student with a 3.90 grade point average.

'I think that in her application she showed a couple of different things: that she's humble, and she doesn't expect anything extra from people,' said Neuenschwander, who helped Sam complete the application. 'She also has an incredible work ethic and inner strength that people find inspiring.'