Andrea Perez received a $100,000 scholarship recently from The Ford Family Foundation. (Submitted photo).

ONTARIO – An Ontario High School graduate is heading to college this fall with a $100,000 scholarship from The Ford Family Foundation.

Andrea Perez was one of 130 students selected for the Ford Scholars Program from nearly 2,000 applicants. She will attend Oregon State University’s Honors College.

“I feel like I don’t have so many limitations now. I’m free,” said Perez, who aspires to earn a master’s degree and doctorate to become a medical researcher.

Born in Ontario, Perez and her family moved to Mexico when she was in the second grade. Two years ago she left her family behind, moving back to the U.S. to finish high school in Ontario.

Teachers praised the 19-year-old for picking up English quickly despite going years without speaking it on a regular basis. She quickly gained entrance into honors and college-level classes.

The decision to return to the U.S., said Perez, changed her destiny. Her experience doing so was the focus of her essay for the scholarship, she added.

“We see the potential in those awarded and seek to support them in reaching the personal and academic goals they’ve set for themselves, despite barriers they may face,” wrote Denise Callahan, director of postsecondary success at The Ford Family Foundation, based in Roseburg.

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