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Scholarship furthers woman's education

As a child from a low-income family, Eagle Point resident Heidi Logan participated in a Head Start program near Sacramento.

But it wasn't until her own children attended the Head Start preschool centers in Eagle Point and Shady Cove that the program noticeably touched her life.

If it wasn't for Head Start, I probably wouldn't be where I am now, said Logan, a student at Rogue Community College. They made me see my full potential.

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program for low-income children with limited enrollment.

Last week, Logan learned she will receive the National Head Start Association's Phyllis J. Jones Memorial Scholarship for Head Start Graduates for &

36;1,500 at a ceremony May 12 in Detroit.

— Only one scholarship is awarded each year.

I was so excited, Logan said. I was dancing around.

She plans to use the scholarship for her tuition next year at Rogue Community College.

Despite attending Head Start as a 4-year-old, Logan went through most of her life hearing that low income children couldn't go to college.

When her children, George, 12, and Hailey, 6, started attending the Shady Cove and Eagle Point Head Start programs, Logan said she learned another way.

The staff from Head Start said, 'you can go to school. We can get help to buy books', she said. That's what got me to go to school because they said I could do it.

Staff members showed her how to apply for financial aid and scholarships.

Logan said she gained confidence by volunteering for the past three years on the Southern Oregon Head Start's Policy Council, a parent group that helps make decision about the agency's direction.

Head Start helped me feel I was more important than what my income was, she said. My opinion and voice meant something.

She said she takes more joy in learning than she did as a child.

I realize I like to learn, I like books, I like to write, she said. I don't remember ever liking it as much as I do now.

After graduating from community college, Logan aspires to attend Southern Oregon University and eventually become a juvenile corrections officer.

There is a lot of kids who need help, and I figure if you help them young enough you can help them change their path, Logan said. They can't choose their parents, but they can choose another path.

She said she has seen Head Start give her own children a boost in school.

I want to go to a university, Hailey declared as she sat with her mother and brother in a cafe inside a local bookstore.

According to a 40-year longitudinal study by the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, children in poverty who attend high quality preschool programs are more likely to perform well on achievement tests, graduate from high school, gain employment, earn higher wages and stay out of the criminal justice system than those who don't get a pre-kindergarten education.

Logan said she constantly communicates the Head Start message to her children: never underestimate your potential.

I want to prove to my kids that education is the key to their success, she said.

It doesn't matter what income level you have. You can do whatever you want.

Heidi Logan, a former Head Start pupil, has won a scholarship from organization she credits with helping her to succeed in her life. Her children are Hailey, left, and George, right. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven