Local student wins P.E.O. education grant

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P.E.O. Chapter EV in Milton-Freewater awarded an $1,800 Program for Continuing Education grant to Jessika Gonzalez when she returned home for spring break in March, according to Blanche Mason in a release.

After graduating from high school, Jessika worked for seven years at a local school district and was a school secretary for the last four years.

During this time, she earned an associate degree from Walla Walla Community College and resigned from the school district to pursue a degree in accounting.

Jessika is a junior at Portland State University. Her goal is to become a certified public accountant and establish her own business in her home community where she’ll offer services to English- and Spanish-speaking clients.

“Jessika’s blessed to have the support of her family and is fulfilling her dreams, as well as their dreams, in her current educational quest. All of this is very exciting to her,” Blanche said.

Natives of Mexico, Jessika’s parents came to the U.S. with limited educations. They worked hard as field laborers to support their family of six. Jessika and her siblings often rose at 4 a.m. and picked crops alongside their parents, learning firsthand how difficult it was to earn a living, Blanche said.

“Jessika’s parents (also) wanted to impress upon their children the importance of getting an education.”

Chapter EV members are “pleased to support this inspirational woman and are certain that she’ll be an asset to her community once she obtains her degree and her CPA license,” Blanche said.

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