By: Julie Sullivan
Among the 104 students graduating from medical school in Portland today are the straight arrows who flew from loving homes across the top of their high school and college classes, past examinations and rotations, to Oregon Health & Science University's most hallowed stage.
And then there is girl in orange velour hot pants.
Her trajectory began in Eugene where she first snorted black-tar heroin in the spring of eighth grade. She smoked meth, tried speedballs and sold hallucinogenic mushrooms in high school. She started college classes after a stop at a methadone clinic.
This morning at Arlene Schnitzer Hall, Aleka Spurgeon-Heinrici will be among the 59 women and 45 men who will don the green-trimmed hood, with gold tassel, of a doctor of medicine.
Next week, she begins her residency in family and community medicine at the University of California San Francisco -- her first choice.
"Aleka has overcome obstacles, become a medical school success and now wants to go out and make a difference," says Dr. Molly Osborne, associate dean for student affairs.
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