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12/13/2012 3:27:00 PM
Luncheon raises $355,000 for financial aid
St. Mary's Academy photo
Keynoter Joan Benoit Samuelson, student speaker Ellen Patterson and Food for Thought Committee Chair Mariah Scott gather after the event for St. Mary's Academy.
St. Mary's Academy photo
Keynoter Joan Benoit Samuelson, student speaker Ellen Patterson and Food for Thought Committee Chair Mariah Scott gather after the event for St. Mary's Academy.

This year, St. Mary's Academy's Food for Thought tuition assistance luncheon raised more than $355,000 toward the school's commitment to financial aid for the current academic year. The Nov. 30 event drew more than 740 attendees.

"Our foundresses were committed to providing exceptional learning opportunities to anyone willing to work hard to achieve their personal best, and that remains core to our mission today," said Christina Friedhoff, St. Mary's Academy president.

Financial aid provided by St. Mary's has increased 144 percent in the last decade. This year, 42 percent of students receive need-based aid, totaling nearly $1.16 million.

KGW morning news anchor and St. Mary's parent Brenda Braxton was mistress of ceremonies for the luncheon. Class of 1987 alumna and parent Maureen Briare also played a pivotal role, speaking passionately about the doors a St. Mary's education can open and the importance of tuition assistance.

As the nation celebrates the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the legislation most often associated with providing sports opportunities for women, St. Mary's welcomed Joan Benoit Samuelson as keynote speaker.

Samuelson was an elite runner, winning the first-ever women's Olympic marathon in 1984. In 2009, she was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame. Since retiring from competitive running, she has written two books, the autobiographical "Running Tide" and "Running for Women," a training guide. She consults for Nike.

St. Mary's is an all-female college-preparatory school.

The luncheon included student speaker Ellen Patterson, a senior who also runs. Patterson overcame major health obstacles, battling ovarian cancer her sophomore year and coming back stronger than ever to help St. Mary's win its first-ever track and field championship last spring. This fall, she placed 10th at the state cross-country championship, where the team finished second overall. Patterson finished second in this fall's Mount Hood Conference cross-country championship, which St. Mary's won for the 11th consecutive year.

Patterson is a recipient of tuition assistance.

"I love going here. St. Mary's is a really great place," she said. "I've grown so much as a student and developed as a person. Everyone is so supportive. They want you to succeed, and they go the extra step to help you get there."
Three girls in Patterson's family are attending St. Mary's.





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