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Six Cleveland High grads win recognition, scholarships

by: COURTESY OF CCHSAA - The winners of this years five CCHSAA scholarships are, from left: Luoyi Farestrand, Jessica Faunt, Gabriel Rowell, Mitchell Linegar, and Joseph Cullen. Among the many academic achievers in the 2013 graduating class at Cleveland High School, Sophia Kecskes was named one of Oregon's two “National Presidential Scholars” – and five additional students were awarded scholarships from the Commerce-Cleveland High School Alumni Association. Gabriel Rowell, Jessica Faunt, Luoyi Farestrand, Mitchell Linegar and Joseph Cullen each received a $2,000 award from the CCHSAA.

Sophia Kecskes, a CHS valedictorian, is one of only two Oregon National Presidential Scholars. She also received the Portland Future First Citizen award for civic leadership from the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors. She has worked for two years in the office of City Commissioner Nick Fish, and served five years on the Multnomah Youth Commission, where she pursued her passion of empowering others to reduce social injustice. She will attend Yale University in the fall to study international relations.

At Cleveland High, Kecskes participated on the Speech and Debate Team, played varsity lacrosse, and maintained a 4.0 GPA. Fluent in Spanish, she traveled to Ecuador last year with the Amigos de las Americas Program, where she helped build a school playground. This summer she’ll visit China for two weeks as part of the Presidential Scholars Program.

Jean Miller and Karen Genzer, co-chairs of the CCHSAA Scholarship Committee, notified recipient students of their awards in late May, then presented them at a Scholarship Luncheon at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. Scholarships are funded from the interest on a $171,000 endowment fund, supported by alumni donations and the annual CCHSAA Auction and Golf Tournament

The five CCHSAA award recipients gave short acceptance speeches at the luncheon, and told about their plans. Gabriel Rowell, who won the “Walter J. Cooney Business Scholarship”, will attend High Point University in North Carolina. Jessica Faunt, winner of the Communications Scholarship, was Senior Class President and Editor-In-Chief of the Cleveland High newspaper, The Clarion. She also won a U.S. Congressional Award bronze medal, and is headed to Whitman College to study anthropology or political science.

Luoyi Farestrand, winner of the “Don Mitchell Iron Man Scholarship” for overcoming challenges, will attend the University of Oregon in the fall. Joseph Cullen, awarded the “Performing Arts Scholarship”, is also headed to the U of O. And Mitchell Linegar, a National Merit Finalist, is the first recipient of CCHSAA’s new “Science/Math Scholarship”. Linegar, who was active in Fencing and as an Outdoor School leader, will attend Reed College to study economics.