Elea Hewitt named Linn County Junior First Citizen

Sean C. Morgan

Sweet Home High School senior Elea Hewitt was named Linn County Junior First Citizen along with Hunter Knox of Harrisburg High School last week at a luncheon held at the Albany American Legion Post Nov. 1.

Sean Wolthuis was named Sweet Home Junior First Citizen and among 16 nominated to be Linn County Junior First Citizen.

“I was so honored,” Hewitt said. “All those nominees are just amazing people.”

They all volunteer for community service, she said. “Everyone is definitely a team player, and they know what it takes to make a community and themselves better. I’m very honored.”

She credited the Sweet Home community for helping her succeed.

“Sweet Home is a community that invests in its youth,” she said, and she takes advantage of what it offers.

She and Wolthuis will ride in the Veterans Day parade Friday.

“The only reason we are able to be junior first citizens is because of what they fought and died for,” Hewitt said. “They protected our rights and stood up for America.”

A girl and boy from each of Linn County’s eight high schools are nominated for the honor, and a boy and girl are selected from among them.

The event has been sponsored by Insurance Associates of the Willamette Valley since 1961. The Rotary Club of Albany sponsors the annual luncheon.

Each nominee receives gifts from area businesses.

Along with Wolthuis, Hewitt was named freshmen of the year in 2013-14.

Hewitt is the daughter of Bo and Pam Hewitt.

She has two sisters, Sarah and Josie.

Hewitt works as a lifeguard at the Sweet Home pool and helps on her family farm.

Hewitt is maintaining a 4.0 GPA and is president of the Key Club. She is active in the South Santiam Youth Watershed Council and Symphonic Choir, editor of The Huskian student newspaper and a member of the 2016 Sportsman’s Holiday Court.

She has been a member of her Class Board for three years and a youth representative involved in drafting the Ford Family Foundation’s Rural Development Initiative.

Hewitt is a two-time member of the TeenPact leadership program’s Oregon delegation, and she participated in the Hugh O’Brian Youth leadership and the Portland-based Chicktech programs.

She has been a competitive swimmer for nine years with the Sweet Home Swim Club and then Sweet Home High School.

She has earned three varsity letters and qualified for state championships. She ran cross country this year and has lettered twice in track and field.

Hewitt plans to attend a four-year university and major in bio-medical engineering or physics to prepare for a career in ophthalmology.