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Perserverance pays off for Shantelle Oswald

Shantelle Oswald

By any measure, 2013 has been a very good year for Shantelle Oswald.

“This has been a huge year – the best ever,” Oswald said. The 16-year-old Butte Falls Charter High School student graduates as class salutatorian in June and will enroll at Rogue Community College to study for a health care career.

She recently reigned as queen of the 2013 Pear Blossom Festival, the first from Butte Falls, a small village northeast of Medford, and she received a $2,000 college scholarship.

“That was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m so thankful to have been part of that,” she noted. Oswald also was a member of the National Forensics League, student congress and a cheerleader.

“I guess I’m just goal oriented and good at time management,” she added. She’s appreciated her school’s small size and the positive bonds formed with teachers.

“RCC is the first step toward my goal of being a physician’s assistant,” Oswald explained. “I’m really excited about starting at RCC this fall.” Her plan is to earn an associate’s degree at RCC then transfer to Oregon Tech.

“I’ve always had a passion for the medical field, especially since my family’s experiences with cancer. I hope I can help keep other families from going through the same despair I did,” she said.

Oswald is also grateful for connections with RCC that helped her earn early college credits and take online college classes. Brad Ross, an RCC recruiter who regularly spends time at the high school, has been a big help, according to Oswald. “He walked me through the learning curve with financial aid and registration. Brad’s a great source of information, and he’s just always so happy – really an uplifting person.”

Receiving a Morris Foundation scholarship and participating in RCC’s Rogue Ambassadors program also helps. The program rewards topnotch high school grads who qualify by paying half their tuition (up to 9 credits per term) in year one and full tuition in year two at Rogue as long as they keep their grades up.

Over the years Oswald has experienced some difficult family issues but hasn’t let the rough patches derail her. “You can’t use hard times as a crutch or excuse,” she said, “because in the end you’re just hurting yourself. You have to push past them. I’m incredibly happy and positive about my future.”

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