Klamath Falls, OR—Cassidie Picou has big plans for the future. She intends to be an engineer designing submarines for the Navy. This graduating senior from Henley High School is one of four recipients of Cascade Health Alliance’s scholarships to this year’s graduating seniors in Klamath County. Other recipients are Mackenzie Gentry from Eagle Ridge High School, Grant Ysen from Klamath Union High School and Emy Hernandez from Bonanza High School.
Tayo Akins, President and CEO of Cascade Health Alliance said, “I am excited and proud that we can award scholarships to four students who have worked very hard to graduate from Klamath Falls high schools. This is a major achievement for these students. Education is one of the social determinants of health and these scholarships provide these students with the opportunity to move on to higher education in the field of their choice. Once they complete their degrees, they will be prepared to return to this community with the skills necessary to have an impact to the community, and to be outstanding role models to students who are struggling to succeed.”
Cassidie Picou will attend Oregon State University and study engineering. She wants to design submarines for the Navy, even though she’s never been on one. Touring a submarine is at the top of her bucket list. She is the first in her family to attend college. Cassidie’s ambitious nature has pushed her to progress, and she is good at math, research, chemistry and physics. Her first love, however, is “coming up with innovations and figuring out how things work.” Cassidie’s experience “fishing on numerous boats, kayaking in the summers and studying plant and marine life” has convinced her that her future must include figuring out solutions to problems on her own, without the stress that comes from following written instructions. She has met with Navy recruiters, but has decided OSU is where she wants to study first.
Klamath Falls native, Mackenzy Gentry has lived in Klamath Falls all her life. She is proud of her academic achievements, saying, “I’m proud of myself. Getting a 4.0 is awesome!” After transferring to Eagle Ridge High School, her indifference about academics changed. Mackenzy did not expect to go to college but changed her mind. She decided that she wanted to study educational psychology, which will lead her into a career as a preschool teacher. During her studies at Eagle Ridge, Mackenzy got a head start on her college studies by taking more than 20 dual credit classes at Klamath Community College. While she appreciates her family, Mackenzy is also looking forward to living on her own. This summer, she plans to be the “assistant custodian” at Eagle Ridge, before she heads off to her new life.
A new graduate of Klamath Union, Grant Ysen, is also a lifelong resident of Klamath Falls. He has decided to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene. His grandfather was a graduate of the U of O and inspired Grant to attend his alma mater. He is looking forward to moving to Eugene. Grant’s love of football and basketball led him to Eugene, but he has academic interests in mind as well. Grant intends to get a degree in business, possibly focusing on marketing. Grant has a message for those still in high school: “There are a lot of doubters out there. Play sports. Apply for as many scholarships as you can. Bond with your teammates. Get involved in competitive activities, they will teach everyone to compete. Competition is a big part of life,” Grant says. Regardless of his business career, Grant wants to be a coach to teach kids about teamwork. Grant commented that the Graduation Sensation parade was “really cool.” He even sensed that his name was going to be called when Cascade Health Alliance’s scholarships were announced. And he was right!
Emy Hernandez recently graduated from Bonanza High School. She has lived most of her life in Dairy but wanted an adventure and applied to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She was surprised that she was accepted the day after her application was received! Emy is proud to be the first in her family to attend a four-year college. Emy wants to get a degree in Secondary Education and teach English as a Second Language. She is looking forward to getting out of her comfort zone. While she will miss the “smell of cows in the morning” on the ranch where she lives, she is looking forward to moving to Fairbanks and living in a dorm, even though she expects that she is completely unprepared for the cold weather. Emy is saving for college this summer by working in the strawberry fields, where she’s learned a tough work ethic. Her advice for upcoming seniors: “Enjoy senior year, but don’t slack off or overthink it.” Emy is grateful for the scholarship, commenting that it “proved to me that I could achieve something beyond high school.”
Cascade Health Alliance congratulates its four scholarship winners, and wishes them the best in their future careers.