Not many of us can pinpoint our career ambitions at age 14. Yet from her early teens, Elfreda Mitchell knew where she wanted to be one day: teaching kids on the Warm Springs Reservation, where she grew up. "I finally got to college-level classes," she shares of her studies at COCC, "and they have been enlightening."
But getting to where she is now has not been without its hardships. "I have had my electricity shut off, and been days when I had only bread on my shelf to eat," she shares of growing up in a family of 12 siblings and working parents. But the goal is growing steadily closer.
When Elfreda is finished with her associate's degree at COCC, she will be poised to take the next step in her journey of becoming an immersion classroom teacher on the Warm Springs Reservation, speaking in their native language, enhancing the educational experience. After graduating from COCC, she plans to transfer to the University of Oregon's Native American teaching program and pursue her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. Support from the Linda Jackson Moore Memorial Scholarship is helping her achieve this goal.
"I'm so excited from my positive college experiences that COCC has given me which would not have been possible without the help from the COCC Foundation Scholarship," she says. "I would like to express my deep appreciation for your generosity."
Having served as Miss Warm Springs, representing her tribe in competitions of indigenous people throughout Indian Country, and taking on the responsibility as a Longhouse young leader, passing on traditions, not to mention many years of teaching, Elfreda has long been an active presence in her community. And that role will further develop when she completes her degree and steps in front of a classroom of eager eyes, the culmination of a prescient path.