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Governor to honor six PCC scholars

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Oregon’s Outstanding Community College Student Scholars will be honored by Gov. Ted Kulongoski in his ceremonial office at the state Capitol on Friday, April 18.

The day will help shine the spotlight on community college excellence in Oregon. The governor will present an award plaque to the students from 11 to 11:50 a.m. in the Ceremonial Office of the Capitol, followed by a luncheon in their honor at the Illahe Country Club, 3376 Country Club Drive, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Six scholars from Portland Community College will be recognized for academic and personal accomplishment. Each scholar is eligible for a $1,000 scholarship from public and private Oregon universities and colleges. This is the 16th year of the event, which is sponsored by the Oregon Community College Association.


Elijah Herr, of North Portland, is the state’s New Century Scholar, an award given to the highest scoring scholar in the state. The honor means he will represent the state’s All-USA Academic Team through the two-year honor society Phi Theta Kappa. The 33-year-old is a political economy major who carries a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to transfer to University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, Georgetown or Lewis & Clark College. The former illustrator and graphic designer currently serves as the Cascade Campus student body president and is the district chairman of the PCC District Student Council. He has made the President’s List nine consecutive terms and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year honor society.

The New Century Scholars program is an extension of the All-USA Academic Team. The highest-scoring student in each state in the All-USA Academic Team competition is named a New Century Scholar and receives a $2,000 stipend funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Herr will be honored at the American Association of Community Colleges convention in Philadelphia, Penn., April 5 to 7. As a New Century Scholar, Herr will represent all community college students from Oregon at the AACC opening ceremonies.

“I jumped up and down,” Herr said when he learned of his honor. “I was pretty excited. It’s nice to be rewarded after three years of hard work.”

DeLinda Martin, a Banks resident, is an English major with a 3.95 GPA. The 41-year-old plans to transfer to Portland State University where she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in English. She has made the President’s List and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Before starting her college education she worked as a training coordinator in a manufacturing plant, which allowed her to help other adults develop the tools needed to succeed at their jobs. During her job, she had been told that she was management material, but couldn’t move up the career ladder because she didn’t have a degree.

“With much encouragement from managers and coworkers I started taking a few community college classes,” Martin said. “I discovered that it is never too late to go to college. I am now 41 years old, a full-time mother, a full-time student, and I work part time in student government. I am very excited about where my future is going, and I feel I am providing a positive roll model for my children and developing the ability to support my family. My education will help me start my career as a manager in corporate training at a production facility.”


Liza Patail, a resident of southwest Portland, is a nursing major from North Bend. The 27-year-old carries a 4.0 GPA and plans to transfer to Linfield College’s nursing program. Patail has been active with many community groups on and off campus. She has volunteered for the PCC Habitat Restoration Team and Student Portal Committee, World Affairs Council, Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism, or SOLV, which focuses on beach cleanups, and local senior centers.

She has made the President’s List, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, earned a $1,000 American Association of University Women Tigard Branch Foundation Scholarship and won a prestigious distinction through the Committee of Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (American Psychological Association Excellence in Psychology Award).

“I plan to practice geriatric care, an area which I am especially passionate about,” Patail said. “There are inspiring changes taking place in this field and I want to take part by helping to improve care for our elders. My time at Portland Community College has been very rewarding. The teachers here at PCC are knowledgeable, inspirational and supportive and have truly prepared me for transferring.”

April Castillo, a resident of Aloha, is an education and art major with a 3.95 GPA. The 32-year-old native of Arlington, Texas, volunteers at the Child’s View Montessori Preschool Parent Link and is a student advocate for the Sylvania Women’s Resource Center. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the President’s List. She is the co-coordinator of the Student Parent Network.

“For various reasons, I have had to put my education on hold several times,” Castillo said. “One year after my son was born I decided to return to college. My goal is to teach art or kindergarten in a bilingual school. I believe that art, music, movement, and nature should be incorporated into every child’s education.”


Yvonne Norman of Hillsboro has a 3.74 GPA while majoring in science and education. The 45-year-old plans to transfer to Portland State University. Norman has volunteered much of her time to on-campus initiatives such as service learning, Rock Creek’s Vermi-Composting Club and student government sustainability officer. Norman has made the President and Dean’s lists and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. In the fall of 2005, Norman returned to PCC after a 25-year absence.

“Now, I am enthusiastically working towards my dream of earning a college degree and becoming a middle school science teacher,” Norman said. “The learning opportunities I have had thus far have been tremendous; my small classes, the diversity of students, and exceptional professors are contributing significantly to my educational experience.”

Yume Delegato, a resident of North Portland, is a history major with a 3.91 GPA. The 22-year-old is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, PCC College Bowl Team and the Archdiocesan Historical Commission for the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland. He plans to transfer to Portland State University where he hopes to earn his bachelor’s degree in history through the school’s dual enrollment program, which allows students to be enrolled at PCC and PSU to earn credit toward their bachelor’s degree. He has made the President’s and Dean’s lists and was noted by the PCC Library for research of St. Catherine’s Monastery.

Following high school, Delgato had hoped to pursue a college education, but finances and family circumstances did not permit him to follow that dream until he came to PCC. After several years working in the non-profit and insurance industries, he was finally able to begin his studies as a part-time student at the Rock Creek Campus.

“Before coming to PCC, I never thought that it would be so easy to begin working on my goals, and I can honestly say that if I hadn’t come to PCC, I don’t think I would have ever started that process,” Delgato said. “The time I’ve spent here has been of great benefit to me, and I will always be grateful to PCC for helping start me down the right path towards higher learning.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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