Former fire victim awarded scholarship

Chad Frey
Butler County Times Gazette

A 2021 graduate from El Dorado High School recently received a scholarship from the Jobs for America’s Graduates – Kansas program.

Cheyenne Gordon, a member of the JAG-K program at El Dorado High School, was awarded the scholarship " for overcoming barriers to success," according to program administration. 

Cheyenne Gordon, was one of three recipients of the Mortimer Scholarship from the statewide JAG-K program.

 Gordon plans to attend Butler Community College to study Nursing. She said her goal is to eventually become a neonatal nurse. Gordon described in her scholarship application essay how an event in her childhood propelled her to an interest in providing medical care to children. She wrote that, when she was two years old, a fire in her home claimed the life of her biological father and an infant sibling. 

“I do not let this barrier slow me down, but instead use it as fuel to drive me to do my best,” Gordon wrote. “I believe that they are still watching over me and I always try to do things that would make them proud.  ... I also know that it was this tragedy that guided me into my chosen profession and fostered my passion for helping others.” 

Gordon was one of three recipients of the Mortimer Scholarship from the statewide program, which partners with public schools to help some of the most educationally at-risk and economically-disadvantaged students succeed. 

“These three students demonstrated through the application process that they are determined to work hard in college and to pursue careers that will impact others,” said JAG-K President/CEO Chuck Knapp.Students were selected from an application process that included an essay, resume, a speech, letters of recommendation, and work samples. 

Despite the recent pandemic, JAG-K helps more than 96% of its participants graduate annually (97.05% in 2020, the most recent totals available). Many of those students attend college, overcoming barriers that might otherwise have kept them from succeeding in school. 

JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades seven through 12 that offers tools to transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce. P

The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 40 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF).