Latisha Waheneka

Latisha Waheneka, a former Madras High School honor roll student who graduated in 2013, is a young woman with unlimited potential to achieve her career and personal goals. After finishing high school, Latisha received a few scholarships to pay for college, and enrolled at Central Oregon Community College (COCC).  When she first enrolled at COCC, she was not sure what kind of work she wanted to do, and kept an open mind towards a variety of fields.  Ms. Waheneka’s philosophy towards education and work was: “I enjoy learning new things because it allows you to widen your opportunities.”

After working for a few summers in the Dental Office at the Indian Health Service, Latisha began to consider dentistry as a potential career field:  “I really enjoyed working at Warm Springs Dental because I got the chance to help others, and I want to be able to help my people. I think there are many opportunities in the dental field, and there’s always something new to learn.”

Unfortunately, as she became more interested in pursuing education, her scholarships were no longer enough to meet all of her educational needs.  In April 2014, Ms. Waheneka began saving in an IDA so that she could pay for her schooling at COCC.  Within six months, she had met her savings goal and had enough money to pay for her first year of school.  In the Winter, Spring, and Fall quarters of 2015, Latisha took career-specific coursework such as human anatomy and physiology, trigonometry, and chemistry, and also took liberal studies classes including cultural anthropology, the Kiksht language, and others.  In addition to paying for courses, books, and lab fees, she used her IDA to buy a laptop computer.  She is still enrolled at COCC and hopes to complete her Associates Degree in the near future.  After that, she plans to enroll in a 4-year university.  She hopes to pay for a good percentage of her schooling using a new IDA account.