Ryan Clarke, Pamplin Media Group - June 12, 2021
As is customary, scholarships were doled out by the St. Paul Rodeo's foundation on June 7, with a pair of youngsters receiving the funds for their future educational needs.
St. Paul resident Alexandra Hernandez and Olivia Veeman of Newberg each received a $4,000 scholarship from the rodeo, set to resume later this month after a one-year absence due to the pandemic.
Hernandez, a 2021 SPHS graduate, played volleyball, basketball and ran track throughout her high school career, a release from the rodeo said. She was part of her school's FFA chapter, National Honor Society, DECA, Key Club and Health Occupation Club, and was editor-in-chief for her school's yearbook.
Veeman, a 2021 graduate of Veritas School, was part of the drama club, ran track and field for two of her high school years and was part of the concert choir and yearbook club.
Both Hernandez and Veeman have been active volunteering in the community as well.
In addition to volunteering as the team manager for St. Paul's football team, Hernandez assisted with blood drives and has been an altar server at St. Mary Catholic Church. Veeman has fed local homeless individuals at Monday Meals, decorated at Doernbecher Children's Hospital and assembled shoeboxes for a Christmas program run by Samaritan's Purse.
Both scholarship recipients plan to become dentists, and both have direct familial connections to the rodeo itself.
"Hernandez … volunteered at the rodeo as part of the school's booster club, parking cars and helping with set-up," the release said. "She loves watching the barrel racing and the fireworks.
"Veeman's father, Dr. Richard Veeman, is the official veterinarian for the St. Paul Rodeo, and she and her brother have tagged along with their dad as he cared for animals at the rodeo."
Hernandez will attend Pacific University in Forest Grove to study dental hygiene. Her career goal is to become an orthodontist, she said.
Hernandez said her cousins, living in Mexico, "wish to go to school every day, and want a better education. They have schools, but the schools don't have good education programs. That's why college is so important to me. I have a lot of family that isn't able to do things that we here in America are able to do."
Veeman will attend Corban University in Salem and wants to complete a doctor of dental medicine or dental surgery degree, she said. "It is important for people to eat, and a beautiful smile is always wonderful," she added about her decision to enter dentistry.