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Local women win Soroptimist awards

Soroptimist International of Ashland awarded scholarships and grants to several local women at its annual Recognition and Awards Luncheon held May 15 at Ashland Hills Inn.

SIA President Colleen Chambers presented the SOU Grant-in-Aid, a $2,000 scholarship for an SOU woman student who excels scholastically, contributes to the community and desires entry into a profession of service. This year’s winner was junior Caitlyn Telford, an education major with a minor in math. She wants to teach kindergarten or first grade, fostering engagement in learning and positive behavior in school.

SIA also awards a scholarship to an SOU woman athlete, demonstrating support for physical fitness and athletic accomplishment. The winner of this $1,500 award this year was Lauren Fillipow, a member of the cross-country and track teams who is majoring in communication and criminal justice.

The Soroptimist Vicki Smith Memorial Ashland High School Scholarship honors Ashland High grad and Soroptimist past president Vicki Smith. Two awards of $1,500 each were made to Lily Valenta and Sarah Aaronson, both of whom have demonstrated academic accomplishment and social responsibility. Valenta will attend the University of Oregon, pursuing a degree in a social science. Aaronson will attend MIT and major in economics and math.

The Vocational-Technical Award of $1,000 is awarded to female high school seniors who have demonstrated academic achievement and social responsibility and are entering a vocation or technical program. Each year an award is made to an Ashland High graduate and a Phoenix High graduate. This year the Ashland award winner is Grace Bales, who will attend the Central Oregon Community College Fixed Wing Aviation Program to become a commercial pilot. The Phoenix High winner was Halie Bowman, who will attend the Chemeketa Community College Emergency Medical Services Program to become an EMT.

SIA awarded three local women a Live Your Dream Award, giving them resources to improve their education, skills and employment prospects. These are women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families and who may have faced and overcome such obstacles as poverty, domestic violence, sex trafficking, and drug or alcohol addiction.

Jane P. was the 2019 first-place winner, receiving $2,000. She won an additional $3,000 at the regional level. Jane’s goal is to be a bilingual elementary teacher and inspire young students to dream big.

SI Ashland had two second-place winners, each receiving $1,000. Janet H. is studying in the nursing program at SOU, and E.O. is majoring in math with her sights set on grad school. All three women support their children, work to earn a living and go to school.

SIA received a $500 gift from local business the Crown Jewel to help provide an additional second-place award.

The Women Helping Women award is given to a woman who initiates or manages an innovative community project that benefits women and girls through personal or professional activities. This honoree has worked in extraordinary ways to promote the issues that are relevant today and that support the mission of Soroptimist. Tira Hubbard, senior deputy parole/probation officer at Jackson County Community Justice received this award for her work with women on parole or probation. She was awarded $500 to donate to a charity or program serving women.

SIA earns the money for the awards through rental of pillows and blankets in the Allen Elizabethan Theater at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a relationship established in 1949. Half of the rental proceeds, $24,914 in the 2018 season, were returned to OSF for the FAIR program, which sponsors fellowships, assistantships, internships and residencies.

For information about Soroptimist International Ashland, see www.soroptitimistRV.org. For information about membership, contact President Colleen Chambers at siashland@soroptimist.net or at P.O. Box 544, Ashland, OR 97520.

Caitlyn Telford, winner of the Soroptimist SOU Grant-in-Aid, is shown with presenter Laurie Schaaf, co-chair of the Economic and Social Development Committee.
Lauren Fillipow, winner of the Soroptimist SOU Athletic Scholarship, is shown with presenter Barbara Oldfield, member of the Education Committee.