A little over seven years ago little fifth-grader Alexis Small was sitting next to her best friend, also named Alexis, in an assembly at Yokayo Elementary School when she received a surprise that would change her life.
Alexis had been chosen to receive the Adopt-A-Fifth Grader award. The award provided a $1,000 scholarship at Mendocino College upon graduation from high school. Alexis always believed that she would attend college, but now there was actual scholarship money waiting for her to attend.
At the time of her award, Alexis admits to thinking about the money and how fun it would be to redecorate her bedroom. However, seven years later the reality is that the scholarship helped her pay for textbooks and other school materials. She just finished her first semester at Mendocino College completing 12.0 units and earning a 3.2 grade point average.
She is now taking her spring semester classes and has accepted a job at Hillside Health Center as a medical assistant. She plans to transfer to Sacramento State University in 2019, and she dreams of becoming a gynecologist or women’s health specialist.
Like many who enter the field of medicine, Alexis recounts stories of multiple family members affected by medical conditions which ultimately led her to the medical field.
Alexis is a first generation college student. When asked how her family feels about her accomplishments she said, “they are all so proud of me, and I hear them quietly bragging about me attending college.”
The Mendocino College Foundation has administered the Adopt A Fifth Grader program since 2007. Program donors give $700 to participate in the program and the Foundation guarantee’s that the gift will grow into a $1,000 scholarship for the student to attend Mendocino College.
To date, the program has over 365 alumni and last year was the largest with 85 recipients representing Lake and Mendocino counties.
For more information about the Adopt A Fifth Grader program or to donate towards any of the foundations programs, call Katie Fairbairn at 707-467-1018.