Two students from among 16 seniors representing the eight public high schools in Linn County will be named the 2019 Linn County Junior First Citizens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the Russell Tripp Performing Arts Center at Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW, Albany.
The candidates were interviewed by a panel of community members on Oct. 15 at the Lebanon Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Santiam.
The annual event is sponsored by the four Rotary Clubs in Linn County — Albany and Greater Albany, Lebanon and Sweet Home.
In addition to candidates and their families, the ceremony is open to the public. RSVPs are requested by emailing Cindy Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 29.
A boy and girl are selected from each school. They are: Scio: Kaitlyn Schumacher and Garrett Workinger; West Albany: Lydia Creager and Kyle Jensen; South Albany: Sariah Young and Ian Todd; Sweet Home: Megan Hager and Nicholaus James; Lebanon: Mary Workman and Theron Harter; Santiam: Jillian Urban and Colin Thurston; Harrisburg: Reagan Hauke and Kyle Davis; Central Linn: Allison Crowell and Garrett Winter.
Candidates and the winners are selected based on community and school activities, academic standing, life goals and a letter of recommendation, plus a face-to-face interview with community leaders.
All candidates receive gifts and are invited to ride on a float in the annual Veterans Day Parade.
The two winners will each receive $1,000 scholarships to Linn-Benton Community College, plus other prizes and the other nominees will each receive $250 scholarships.
Dating back to 1961, the Linn County Junior First Citizen program began with each high school in Linn County nominating one outstanding student to compete for the top honor. A committee of local residents screened each applicant before selecting them with a trophy.
For decades the program was sponsored by the Insurance Associates of the Willamette Valley.
The Rotary clubs of Linn County took over key sponsorship three years ago.
“Since Rotary is a service organization, we have placed a greater emphasis on the candidates’ commitment to service in their school and community,” volunteer Douglas Hambley said. “Plus, we are interested in their goals of further community service after they graduate.”
CENTRAL LINN HIGH SCHOOL
Allison Crowell is the daughter of Dena and Steve Crowell and has a 4.03 grade point average.
She has been the ASB president for two years, is a member of the National Honor Society, has played on the soccer, softball, basketball and cross country teams. She is a four-year band member and Outdoor School Mentor. She received the Superintendent’s Award, attended Girls State and volunteers with the Festival of Trees. In the summer, she works at Cala Farms.
Allison plans to work and attend the Oregon Institute of Technology to study imaging and radiology.
“Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of writing recommendation letters for multiple Central Linn Junior First Citizen nominees, and while all of our candidates have been excellent, none has been more deserving than Allison Crowell,” leadership adviser Lindsay Androy-Koberstein said. “Ally is an extraordinary young woman. Academically, she is at the top of her class and pushes herself to continue growing every day.”
Garrett Winter is the son of Stacey and Kathi Winter and has a 3.6 GPA. He plans to attend community college after high school and then earn a degree in journalism with a minor in religions of the world, with a goal of becoming an author.
Winter is a National Honor Society member, served on the Leadership Committee, and competes on the track and cross country teams. He was named Most Inspirational in cross country. He is a member of the Jazz Choir, which performed at the Apollo Theater in New York City.
He earned the Superintendent’s Award and was named Most Improved in band. He was the lead in the musical “Singing in the Rain” and is a member of the DECA business club.
Winter is a 4-H member, participates at AWANA at his church, and plays the piano. He also helps on the family farm and has worked at a local convenience store.
Teacher Kyle Kiwett said he has known Garrett for six years and “I have been consistently impressed with his character, integrity, honesty, work ethic, musicality and winsome personality.”
HARRISBURG HIGH SCHOOL
Kyle Davis is the son of Jodi and Will Davis and has a 4.0 GPA. He plans to study engineering at Oregon State University, perhaps dual enrolling and playing baseball at LBCC.
Davis has been active in sports, National Honor Society and president of the ASB. He has earned both Math and History department awards. He has also been part of numerous fundraising projects, including can and bottle drives to raise money for classroom supplies.
He has worked for Malpass Farms and is a member of the Willamette Valley Titans, an American Legion ball team.
“I think the words that best describe Kyle in my classes would include intelligent, curious and eager to learn,” teacher Martin Sade said. “He grasps new material quickly and seeks to apply what he learns to real life problems.”
Reagan Hauke is the daughter of Brent and Michelle Hauke and has a 4.0 GPA.
She plans to become a Registered Nurse.
Hauke has been a class officer, a member of the National Honor Society, participates in softball and cross country and is a percussionist with the Eagle band and the Willamette Valley Honor Band. She is active with the Homecoming Committee and leadership programs.
For the last three summers Reagan has worked at Malpass Farms, driving combines.
Health teacher Jamie Tatum called Reagan a "high-caliber student” who “has a desire to achieve mastery of the subject matter. Reagan is curious and seeks to understand, personally striving to make connections and applications to life.”
LEBANON HIGH SCHOOL
Theron Harter is the son of Chad Harter and has a 3.76 GPA.
Theron plans to attend Universal Technical Institute to become a NASCAR technician.
Theron plays baseball and football and help around his family’s home.
“[Theron] is the type of young man every teacher wants to teach, every coach wants to coach, every employer wants to hire and every parent would want to have as their son,” teacher Jeff Stolsig said.
Mary Workman is the daughter of Jerry and Caroline Workman and has a 3.97 GPA.
She plans to attend Brigham Young University, serve a mission for her church and then become an elementary school teacher.
Mary is the ASB public relations officer, a member of the National Honor Society, Interact Club, Junior Rotarian, LHS Outstanding Girl Athlete, Bill Campbell Citizenship Award recipient. She is a four-year letterman in basketball and tennis, and has earned all-league recognition in basketball and was named Most Valuable tennis player, along with being the team captain.
She was also the LDS Church Young Women’s Club president, is a church pianist, seminary class president, youth camp leader and also participates in 4-H earning a swine showmanship award and holding leadership positions.
Mary works at Springbank Farms in the summer.
“I have no reservations in recommending Mary Workman for Junior First Citizen as I cannot think of a student more simultaneously dedicated to academics, athletics and her community,” teacher Grant Sherer said.
SANTIAM JUNIOR/SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Collin Thurston is the son of Shane and Jaime Thurston and has a 4.0 GPA.
He plans to study human physiology at the University of Oregon after high school and become a medical doctor. He has also excelled in sports including basketball, football and baseball, earning post-season all-league and all-state honors.
Thurston was the school’s Boy of the Year, Student of the Year and Teammate of the Year. He is the ASB president, a member of the National Honor Society and Distinguished Scholar.
He is an active volunteer, serving at the Hall of Fame banquet, the Holiday Winter Music program, fund raising for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and served at the Halloween Carnival plus many other community events.
He has already earned 45 college credits.
Thurston has done lawn maintenance and roofing in the summers.
“The thing that stands out the most about Colin is how prepared he already is for the real world,” head football coach Carl Rupp said, adding that Thurston is “motivated not by individual success, but the success of those around him.”
Jillian Urban is the daughter of Jinger Aerni and Lorne Urban and has a 4.0 GPA.
Urban plans to attend the University of Oregon and major in chemistry with a minor in psychology. She plans to volunteer with AmeriCorps for a year and then apply at Oregon Health and Sciences University to become a physician’s assistant.
She has participated in volleyball, cross country, basketball and track. She is active on the ASB and is the senior class president. She also earned the Student of Merit award in science, was the Girl of the Year, Teammate of the Year and on the Honor Roll and a member of the National Honor Society.
Urban has been a volunteer nearly all of her life. She helps with Thanksgiving meals events, volunteers with Lions Club events and the local veterans breakfast. In the summer, she has painted houses and in the winter, she has helped sell Christmas trees.
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Instructor Elizabeth Kackley said she is “impressed with her beyond measure” and watching Urban's “academic growth has been a pure pleasure.”
SCIO HIGH SCHOOL
Kaitlyn Schumacher is the daughter of Aaron and Rhonda Schumacher and has a 4.0 GPA.
She plans to attend Oregon State University and earn a degree in accounting. She also plans to continue to study the Spanish language and to study abroad.
Schumacher has had numerous leadership roles at Scio High and with the FFA program, where she has earned her Greenhand, Chapter and State degrees. She has helped with school assemblies and dances, plus the Red Cross blood drives. Her FFA chapter teams up with Les Schwab every year for a canned food drive.
She participates in track, cross country and basketball. She has earned several academic awards in math, Spanish, agriculture, history and reading.
Schumacher is also active at her church, where she volunteers with dinners and Vacation Bible School. She also participates in the local fire department’s giving tree and other fundraising events at school. Schumacher works on the family farm and babysits.
FFA adviser Krysta Sprague praised Kaitlyn for being “well-rounded in all aspects of her life” and having “a relentless desire to be successful.”
Garrett Workinger is the son of Alison Harrison and Ken Harrison and has a 4.0 GPA.
He plans to study business at Oregon State University. He also wants to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. He has participated in football, basketball and track, earning all-league honors in basketball. He also qualified for the state meet in track.
Workinger has been named Student of the Month several times and was the ASB president his junior year. He also headed up an all-school community beautification day, call Loggers’ Pride Day.
He is a two-time qualifier for the Junior High School Rodeo and was a member of the Oregon High School Rodeo Team.
In the summer, Workinger has worked at Grandpa’s Fresh Market and has helped repair houses.
“I would highly recommend Garrett,” teacher and coach Jesse Gerig-Heyerly said. “I believe that his demeanor in my classroom, as a school leader and as a basketball player is a great indicator of how he will succeed in the next steps of his life. He will be a positive addition to any university and his presence will be missed at Scio High School next year.”
SOUTH ALBANY HIGH SCHOOL
Ian Todd is the son of Emily Bogle-Todd and Jonathan Todd and has a 4.19 GPA.
He plans to enroll at Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study microbiology. He plans a career in genetic engineering or molecular genetics.
Todd is the ASB president, was junior class president, is active in cross country, swimming and track. He is a member of the National Honor Society, a Jackson Street Youth Ambassador, speech and debate teams captain and IGNITE tutor and works with the school yearbook and newspaper. He plays the cello, is a 4-H club member and volunteers at Christmas Storybook Land.
“Mr. Todd is brilliant,” instructor Brandon Johnson said. “He breezed through all of the academic content South Albany High School had to offer.”
Johnson added, “Ian possesses a searing determination to succeed” and his “competitive fire and extremely high self-standards combine to produce impressive results.”
Sariah Young is the daughter of Dawn Young and has a 4.0 GPA.
She plans to attend Western Oregon University of Oregon State University and major in business management.
Young has been active in soccer, cross country, tennis, musical theater, numerous leadership positions including senior class president, the RedHawk News Network and the National Honor Society. She was also the leadership student of the year, prom and food drive chair and received the Student All-Star Award for Community Service.
In the community, Young has been involved with her church seminary, is president of her Youth Group, is a youth camp counselor, a Jackson Street Youth Advisory Ambassador secretary.
She has worked at Grandpa’s Fresh Market and babysits.
“Sariah is a remarkable young woman,” said teacher Kelle Angel. “I am confident that no matter what path she may choose, she will be successful. It has been nothing but a pleasure to work with her for the past four years.”
SWEET HOME HIGH SCHOOL
Megan Hager is the daughter of Sunhee Hager and Michael Hager and has a 4.0 GPA.
She plans to study biomedical sciences in college and become a doctor.
Hager was the Freshman Girl of the Year, has earned several Scholastic Art Awards, is a member of the National Honor Society and earned outstanding achievement honors in history, anatomy, physiology, physics and math. She is a member of the swim team captain and has earned numerous district and state awards.
In track, she was the district shot put and discus champion and state finalist. She also belongs to a swim club and has been state champion in the 200 meter and 1500 meter freestyle events. She is also president of the Youth Watershed Council and has committed more than 220 hours of service.
Hager is a member of Key Club and helps with the Foster Outdoor School and has worked at the community pool.
“Despite all of the accolades and achievements, I believe Megan’s strongest assets are her heart and leadership abilities,” teacher James Costa said. “She is a passionate and diligent young woman; always hopeful, always ready to help out her peers, and always ready to do the best she can to improve her life and the lives of others. She is truly a unique and special person who works hard to make the world a better place.”
Nicholaus James is the son of Cara Solomon and has a 4.0 GPA.
He plans to go to medical school to become an anesthesiologist.
James has been active with Husky wrestling, class board, golf, soccer, Key Club, is a three-time academic All-American and a member of the National Honor Society. He is also active at the Community Chapel and is a Sweet Home Mat Club volunteer coach.
He works for Pickett Construction and has been a lifeguard at the community pool.
Math teacher and wrestling coach Steve Thorpe said, “Nich can best be described as a worker and a doer. He works with tireless effort to achieve his goals.”
Thorpe said James is a leader on and off the mat.
“He does not always have to lead with a loud voice, but rather by his actions and example,” Thorpe said.
WEST ALBANY HIGH SCHOOL
Lydia Creager is the daughter of Brad and Amber Creager and has a 3.88 GPA.
She plans to attend Linn-Benton Community College and then transfer to a university to earn a degree in human services with a minor in Spanish.
Creager has been active on the basketball team and was team captain as a junior. She has chaired the freshman assembly, field day, Sharing Tree, blood drive and is the community service chair.
She is the ASB first vice-president and a member of the National Honor Society. She is also active at her church and sings on the youth and adult worship team. She has also served in leadership roles for her 4-H club, sending exhibits to the state fair.
Creager works at Burgerville and enjoys helping around the house.
“I find Lydia Creager to be an exceptionally capable and driven young woman who understands exactly what she wants from her education,” West Albany High School counselor Ryan Graham said. “She has worked very hard over the past four years to make certain that she learned and acquired all the skills she could to be successful in college and beyond.”
Kyle Jensen is the son of Zachary and Brenda Jensen and has a 4.0 GPA.
Jensen plans to attend Brigham Young University or Oregon State University and serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He has been the soccer team captain for two years, is percussion leader for wind ensemble, tenor section leader with A Capella and the Rhythmix. He is a member of the tennis team and participates in school musicals. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the 2020 Flash Seniors and a counselor at the Outdoor School.
He earned All-State Wind Ensemble honors and is a Boy Scout, where he has held numerous leadership roles.
Kyle has completed service projects at the Masonic Cemetery and food drives for FISH.
“Mr. Jensen is not only a great student, he is an outstanding person,” noted Shana Hains, West Albany science teacher. “Kyle is a great athlete and has played both soccer and tennis at the varsity level.”
Hains added that Kyle “relates to and is accepted by various social groups” and said he is kind, honest and motivated.