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Student earns Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, call from Ivy League school

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It’s not every day a Portland Community College student is told by Columbia University to “please, apply.”

For Adam Eide, 33, that day did come as a result of The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awarding him its Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. It will provide him with up to $30,000 a year for three years ($90,000 total) towards tuition and a stipend, beginning in the fall. The Vernonia native and Northeast Portland resident is the first PCC student to win the scholarship in five years and is the first-ever male to represent the college. He is one of 60 scholars that were picked from 786 applicants nationwide and he’s the sixth PCC student to win the award since 2006.

As a result of this honor, Adam Eide has been earning inquiries from prestigious colleges and universities all over the United States that would love it if he applied to their institutions.

As a result of this honor, Adam Eide has been earning inquiries from prestigious colleges and universities all over the United States that would love it if he applied to their institutions.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Eide, who took classes at the Sylvania Campus. “I keep thinking, ‘Is this real? Am I going to wake up soon?’”

As a result of this honor, the math major has been earning inquiries from prestigious colleges and universities all over the United States that would love it if he applied to their institutions. Eide, who has already been accepted into Pacific University and the University of Portland, said that list of possible transfer destinations includes Columbia, which sent him an application shortly after being named a scholar.

“All throughout college, you kind of have to compromise your education a little bit because of costs,” he said. “Now that my finances are taken care of, I can say ‘What do you have to offer me?’ I don’t have to compromise my education. I can go and pick the school that is the best.”

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship Program supports achieving community college students with financial need as they transfer to and complete their bachelor’s degrees at the nation’s top four-year colleges and universities. Michael Morrow, who works as a financial aid liaison for PCC, immediately saw the potential in Eide when he attended Morrow’s scholarships class last fall.

“(Adam) is impressive in his academic accomplishments, but even more, he is devoted to his family, and is doing whatever it takes to be successful, working and volunteering far more hours than most of us could and still keep his grades nearly perfect,” Morrow said. “I was delighted when I was notified that Adam has been honored as a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship winner. He will do the JKC Foundation proud, PCC proud, and his family proud.”

Eide’s goal is to become a mathematics teacher. This trajectory toward reaching this goal probably wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for his tight-knit family growing up in Vernonia. He admits his family struggled during those times as his single mother worked hard to raise seven children (Eide’s dad left when he was just 2 years old). He helped out the family when he was older by working at a Beaverton car dealership. He had been an honors student as a freshman, but his grades dropped off his senior year and missed 58 days of school, which he attributes to the family situation.

He even struggled with Algebra II until his mother intervened. Barely proficient with eighth-grade algebra, she helped her son work through problems anyway.

“She bugged me and bugged me to help,” he remembered. “So I showed her that this is what I’m doing and she said ‘Okay, what are you doing next?’ and then, ‘Why are you doing that?’ And I would explain it. Every time, sure enough, I’d think, ‘Oh, that’s what I did wrong there!’ My mom didn’t even know what was going on and I’d explain enough to her, and every time I’d figure it out.”

'It was a complete surprise,' Eide said of winning a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship. 'I keep thinking, ‘Is this real? Am I going to wake up soon?’'

‘It was a complete surprise,’ Eide said of winning a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship. ‘I keep thinking, ‘Is this real? Am I going to wake up soon?’’

Wanting do more in life than just manage an auto dealership, Eide enrolled at PCC in the fall of 2010 where he re-kindled his love of math. After burning through savings to pay for his first year, he earned a $2,000 Howard S. Wright Scholarship from the PCC Foundation for his second year. At the same time, he became so proficient at math that he was hired on as a math tutor five days a week at the Cascade Campus Learning Center.

As he exits community college, Eide has one last problem to solve – what university will he transfer to? The pressure is on to find an answer.

“Not only do I have myself not to let down, but all my family – my mom, my aunt that has always helped and pushed me, my friends,” he said of making the most of the scholarship. “And now I have a foundation that invested a great deal of money because they believe in me and I can’t let them down. I have to make sure I succeed for those people.”

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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Comments

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x by Linda Browning 5 years ago

Congratulations, Adam! You have earned this opportunity through your hard work and perseverance.

All the best to you in your studies.

Linda

x by Lynda Spargur 5 years ago

Congratulations Adam! You give me hope for my future endeavors. Good luck with your studies at whatever school you choose.

Lynda

x by Michael Minkler 5 years ago

Good job Adam! I can only imagine how excited you feel!

x by sandy sampson 5 years ago

Congratulations! Thank you so much for telling the story of how your mother helped you with your algebra, even as she was shaky on the subject. It speaks volumes about the both of you! Good Luck!

x by danwat1234 5 years ago

Sweet deal. You sit next to me in MTH256!

x by cmhughes 5 years ago

Congratulations Adam!

I’ve always wondered if the students that are picked for these type of scholarships are worthy. In your case I support it 100%; you have such a good, healthy, and positive attitude towards studying, and I know that you will go far, whichever college you choose :)

x by Usha Ramanujam 5 years ago

Congratulations Adam! Wish you success at the transfer college and in your career goal. Very inspiring to all and especially transfer students from community colleges.

x by Rudy Morrow 5 years ago

Way to go Adam. I am still using your narrative speech as an example. You really blessed my class and now you are being rewarded. As my grandson Jake says, “You can do it Adam” and you did. Blessings on your next educational endeavor.

Rudy Morrow
Speech 111 Instructor

x by McKenzie McCartan 5 years ago

Felicidades Adam! Muy impresionante:) Buena suerte!!!

McKenzie
Your SPA 102 and 103 classmate

x by Marie Buckley 5 years ago

Hello Adam, I believe you were in the very first 7th grade English class I taught at the grade school in Vernonia in 1991. You were a serious, quiet boy, and an excellent student–all A’s. How exciting to see you now! Bravo on winning this amazing award. I teach at the Cascade Campus where your success story is an inspiration to many struggling students.
Marie Buckley

x by Cynthia Golledge 5 years ago

You earned this and completely deserve it, Adam. I’m so fortunate to have had you as a student :)
Cynthia

x by Takin Saremi 5 years ago

Congratulations Adam. You were one of my top students in Calculus I and this is well deserved.

x by Michele Marden 5 years ago

Woohoo!!! I am so happy for you! When watching you work with other students in class I remember thinking that you would make an excellent teacher. Your goal to teach math is especially exciting- warms this math teacher’s heart. :-) Wishing you the best and hope to hear occasional updates!

x by Toneasha Kelly 5 years ago

Congrats to you Adam – and thank you for all the amazing tutoring you do in the Learning Center!

x by Shelly 5 years ago

Way to go Adam…. I knew you when you were just a little guy, I was a good friend of your Aunts Janet and Judi…. Very proud of you… Keep up the good work

x by Michael Antonelli 5 years ago

You are a great inspiration, Adam, Congratulations!

x by Molly 5 years ago

Excellent work! I love to see PCC students emerging toward Ivy league schools ! I wish you the best!

x by Jakki 5 years ago

Congratulations, Adam! I appreciated all of your help and patience in the tutoring center. You will make an excellent math teacher!

x by Jason Phillips 5 years ago

Congratulations man!

x by Nazeret 5 years ago

Congratulations, good job Adam!!

x by Gerardo 5 years ago

Felicidades, Adam.

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