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Finding her voice

Since she was young, Jennifer Oto has pushed herself to a higher academic standard, embodying the core values of Rainier Scholars: excellence, perseverance, integrity and courage. Today, a sophomore at Garfield High School, she is a self-determined student who has strengthened her learning skills, made unexpected discoveries and has embraced new experiences in a community of support. And most important, Jennifer is on a path toward college graduation.



This program teaches you self-advocacy skills.”

Jennifer Oto, Cohort XII, Garfield High School


Looking back on her journey from elementary school to high school, Jennifer credits joining Rainier Scholars as a pivotal year. It was a time of improving study habits, discovering her love for literature and meeting teachers who provided unwavering support. She made close friends and enjoyed the academic challenges.

The important lessons Jennifer has learned along the way have strengthened her determination and motivation as a high school student. With Rainier Scholars, Jennifer found teachers who offered the encouragement that helped her find her voice and express herself in class among her peers.

Among the many valuable insights, Jennifer points to an important discovery: “Before Rainier Scholars, I didn’t speak up in class, I didn’t want to talk to the teacher, I didn’t want to ask questions,” she explained. “The program teaches you self-advocacy skills, and that you should speak up, that it was okay and often times expected,” she explained.

Now a seasoned self-advocate, Jennifer has clearly identified what she’s seeking as she considers college options. “I visited Seattle University recently and they have a small teacher to student ratio. That’s what I’m really interested in,” Jennifer explained.

Soon Jennifer will be taking Advanced Placement tests to get college credit for the classes she takes in high school. “Rainier Scholars helps us to focus on our future. It’s all about thinking ahead, planning, and making smarter decisions to determine your choices in life.”

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