The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that allows awardees the chance to study at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are awarded the scholarship every year, and this time, a fellow Portlander received this award.
JaVaughn T. “JT” Flowers was a student at Lincoln High School. He did not perform well academically and even stayed a fifth year in high school at a boarding school in Connecticut. His efforts payed off, and he went on to study at Yale, founding an organization called A Leg Even to assist low-income Yale students by offering mentoring and tutoring services as well as connections to faculty. During his years at the Ivy League school, he studied in six different countries to examine the various cultures and politics. His thesis investigated Portland’s sanctuary city policy for immigrants undocumented in the United States. His academic excellence also resulted in receiving the Truman scholarship in 2016, which gives gifted students graduate support to help them prepare for government or public service careers.
He currently works for Representative Earl Blumenaur in Portland. “I’m essentially getting paid to learn about all the incredible work going on across all these different silos in Portland,” Flowers said in an interview with The Oregonian.
The competition for the Rhodes Scholarship is intense and involves a difficult, time-consuming application process. Finalists were flown out to Seattle for several events, including standing in front of a seven-judge panel. Rhodes Scholars have their tuition and all expenses covered to study for two or three years at Oxford.
Flowers was floored by the news. “I really don’t know how to attach words to it. I’m really at a loss. I’m so humbled.”
Blumenaur was thrilled by Flowers’ success. In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated, “He’s just an outstanding candidate for the Rhodes. He’s a very quick study, very good wth people, an incisive listener who is able to translate that back to people who contact him and to the staff in our office. We’re excited for him, and we’re excited for what he’s going to do when he’s back.
Flowers plans to earn degrees in Comparative Social Policy and Public Policy in order to give back to his hometown, Portland. “Portland is home for me and will always be home for me. I was born and raised here in the heart of Northeast Portland. I want to set up permanent shop here. I’ll be gone for a couple years, but then I’ll be right back here.”
Working in the medical field is certainly stressful and reducing the strain of saving lives is much needed by doctors, nurses, and other such workers. Most will turn to the average stress relievers such as exercise and reading; however, a certain group of doctors joins together once a month to blow off steam in in a much more nonconventional way: through a band called the Providence Hospital Stage Band.
The band formed in the 1960’s and has remained strong in Portland, Oregon for over half a century. Larry Morrell, the music director of the band, said in an interview with Oregon Live: “They [the players] all started playing music in high school. Maybe they were in a rock group or the school band. At a certain point, they had to get serious about making a living. They knew music wasn’t the way. They were drawn to medicine and went to college and then to medical school. They never lost their love of music.”
Dr. Mark Loveless, a guitarist in the band, is a testament to how the band has brought doctors together to diffuse the stress while enjoying a much-loved hobby. Loveless was part of a team working on HIV research. “Early in your career, you quickly find out you can’t do it all alone,” he stated. “In our HIV research, I was part of a great team. When we did something good for a patient, the team celebrated. I feel the same way when I don’t make mistakes in the bad. I’ve done my part.”
The band has a variety of gigs around the Portland area, including a dance party for disabled adults and a prom for dental students. The Providence Hospital Stage Band will be performing on December 2nd at the Oregon Convention Center in the Providence Festival of Trees.
The Portland International Airport (PDX) is certainly known for its great features and popularity, having been named the best domestic airport in the United States numerous times. But this won’t stop the airport from continually striving for excellence in pleasing its travelers, resulting in several new features to help passengers and traffic.
PDX plans to build columns at the airport labeled with large, noticeable numbers to help passengers and drivers connect more quickly. This should help the flow of traffic in front of the terminals so people won’t have to wait so long to get in and out of the airport.
The hotel and rental car shuttles will be moved closer to the terminal on Island 1 on the lower level to increase traffic flow. Lyft and Uber have an allotted areas on Island 2 as well. Signs will also be displayed in the terminals to help people find their cars faster in economy parking.
The last edition PDX will implement will include an app to let passengers know when the next parking shuttle will be passing by.
In an interview with Koin6, Kama Simonds, spokesperson for the airport, stated that the general goal is to save time for passengers. “Hopefully travelers get on the right bus at the terminals, saving themselves time.”
On May 26th, two people were killed and one man was wounded while protecting two women who were being verbally assaulted by a man on the MAX in Portland. Now, the brave actions of Ricky Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, and Micah Fletcher will be honored by the city of Portland.
Now, several months later, TriMet announced on Thursday plans to create two tributes to the two victims: one permanent memorial and one temporary. The tributes, according to TriMet spokeswoman Robert Altstadt, will also honor the women verbally assaulted.
The first tribute will be a “large commemorative plaque” will be located at the Hollywood Transit Center in downtown Portland and is being designed by John Larsen. It will be 4 feet by 6 feet and made of porcelain enamel on steel. The plaque will include images of the memorial created by friends, families, and strangers after the initial attack.
The temporary work of art will represent the messages that covered the walls of the transit center after the attack, and the artist will include some of the original messages.
The art will be installed in the transit center around May 2018.
Jack Schumacher is an eighth-grade student at Straub Middle School in Salem, Oregon and facing a difficult challenge compared to most students his age: bone cancer. He is currently at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, fighting hard to recover.
However, he’s not alone in his fight against cancer. The middle school had a pep rally for Jack on Friday morning to support him.
In an interview with Koin6, The Principal, Laura Perez, explained, ” When we found out that Jack had cancer, leadership kids wanted to do something more, so they started selling boo grams.”
In the end, the kids raised over $1,000 for Jack’s treatment, and Jack’s friend, Brayden, who had also been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier, was able to present the check. Even though Jack could not be physically present at the rally and had to FaceTime in, several of his family members were there to accept the check, and his entire family was very moved by the show of support.
Jack’s grandmother, Pam Tucker, stated in the interview, “I’m so overwhelmed with what these kids did for Jack.”
Principal Perez was very proud of the leadership students that took the initiative to raise the money. “This is what we want kids to be learning, is how to care for one another.”