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Sutherlin High student wins national award for giving back to community

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SUTHERLIN, Ore. -- A Sutherlin High School student has won a national competition for giving back to her community.

17-year-old Sutherlin High student Jessica Salgado enjoys playing sports with her friends.

She won US Cellular's Future of Good competition for making sure students with special needs can play along, too.

"It's a great accomplishment for me to have to be able to give back to a unified family that has helped me and encouraged me so much in school."

Jessica was one of four winners.

She was nominated for helping special needs students through a club at her school.

And at Eastwood Primary, Jessica gathers with special needs students to be a part of the Unified Club where they come together for their love of sports.

SHS student Haylie Lawson is one of the students Jessica has helped through the club.

She says she's learned lessons on and off the court.

"To socialize more and understand more about what other people's disabilities and for what they've been through," said Lawson.

As for Jessica, she wants to make sure everyone feels welcome.

"it allows them to have fun and to have everyone see that we're all the same,” Jessica said. “We all like the same things."

She says she plans to continue spreading her message of inclusion with or without winning a national competition.

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