Skip to Content

Ashton Eaton helps Nike promote school innovation


NIKE, Inc. announced Thursday $1.5 million in grants from the Nike School Innovation Fund with the support of two-time Olympic decathlon gold medalist and Nike athlete Ashton Eaton. Recently retired from sport, the Central Oregon native has turned his focus to lending his voice to elevate the efforts of NSIF and champion Oregon students and their futures.

The Nike School Innovation Fund is awarding 100 Oregon high schools — seven in Central Oregon a total of $1.5 million in grants with the goal of increasing graduation rates, closing the achievement gap and helping all students in Oregon prepare for future success. Nike’s new two-minute film on the Nike School Innovation Fund ( featuring Eaton, captures the impact of NSIF’s work with teachers and students.

“As the first in my family to go to college, and a native Oregonian, I believe every student can graduate and achieve their dreams, and Nike does too,” says Eaton in the introduction to the film.

In a recent visit to an 11th and 12th grade AVID (Advancement Via International Determination) class at Churchill High School in Eugene, Eaton shared how education shaped his future and encouraged students to own their futures and pursue their dreams:

“When I learned that one in four high school students aren’t making it to high school graduation on time or at all, I wanted to get involved,” he said.

Eaton’s visit to the school jump-started his exploration of how to help Oregon high school students and educators. Just a short distance from where he studied psychology and trained to be the best in world at the University of Oregon, Eaton urged students to “find what you love and give it everything.”

That’s Nike’s message, too. “We believe all kids deserve the chance to graduate ready for their future, and that’s why we’re investing in Oregon schools through the Nike School Innovation Fund,” said Vanessa Wilkins, North America Community Impact Director at Nike. “Oregon is working hard to help more students graduate from high school and we’re excited to be part of the solution.”

The Impact of the Nike School Innovation Fund:

Nike is committed to supporting Oregon schools and through the Nike School Innovation Fund has invested $5 million to high schools over the last three years to positively impact kids in our state and to help make Oregon schools among the best in the country. In 2015, 50 high schools were awarded grants to implement or expand the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, a national education platform built on best practices, school-wide. Last year, 71 high schools received grants. This year, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Nike School Innovation Fund, Nike expanded the program to support 100 schools. With the addition of the 2017-2018 grant recipients, this funding supports training for over 2,000 teachers and more than 100,000 students throughout Oregon, reflecting more than 57% of the state’s high-school population.

The seven Central Oregon recipients: Marshall High School in Bend, Ridgeview High School in Redmond, Sisters High School, Crook County High School, Madras High School, Culver High School and Gilchrist Junior-Senior High School.

The Power of AVID:

NSIF is in its third year of partnering with AVID, based on the program’s proven results and input from school leaders across Oregon. AVID’s research-based strategies and curriculum provide educators with training to better prepare students for success in high school, college or a career — especially students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education. A full 99 percent of AVID students graduate from high school on time with the skills, academic behaviors and knowledge needed to succeed in college and beyond.

According to Greg Borgerding, principal of Churchill High School, the AVID program has significantly impacted students at his school, with 100% of his AVID students graduating from high school over the past 3 years. “I’ve seen AVID open doors and help kids visualize what their future will look like. It’s pretty remarkable watching kids in the program find themselves and discover their potential for after high school.”

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content