Most people will agree that it’s nice to highlight uplifting stories about local teenagers. Amaya Leiby from Gresham makes that pretty easy. She just won the Passion for Public Service Scholarship by the National Society of High School Scholars. This scholarship recognizes students who have demonstrated a commitment to various forms of public service and are integral public servants in their everyday communities. Amaya’s mom is a nurse and when Amaya saw the hospital becoming overwhelmed during the height of the pandemic, she leapt into action and took on a volunteer position. She worked with short stay nurses to discharge the patients undergoing minor procedures to help reduce overall exposure within the hospital.
Amaya says she worked across the hall from the realness of the pandemic: people dying alone, nurses pushed past their breaking points, and the privilege of clean air never again to be taken for granted. She calls the experience life changing and was impressed by the passion and persistence of healthcare workers.
Amaya is home schooled, but plays sports at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham. She’s also gotten college credits while in high school from Clackamas Community College and Bellhaven University. She’s committed to play water polo at Arizona State University this fall. She’s double majoring in English and Psychology and also wants to study law.