Freshmen of the Year follow siblings’ footsteps

Scott Swanson

Being chosen as a Freshman of the Year is not a new concept for either Bradley Wolthuis or Sarah Hewitt, this year’s designees from Sweet Home High School’s prospective Class of 2019.

Both are following in the footsteps of older siblings, juniors Eleanor Hewitt and Sean Wolthuis, who received the honor two years ago.

“It kind of got passed on,” Bradley Wolthuis said.

Sarah is the daughter of Pamela and Kahlil Hewitt of Sweet Home. In addition to Elea, as she is known, Sarah also has an 11-year-old sister, Josie, a sixth-grader.

Bradley is the son of Rebecca and Ivan Wolthuis. He has two other siblings in addition to Sean: Jenna, a sixth-grader, and Mark, who is in fourth grade.

Each year SHHS staffers choose a freshman boy and girl who, they believe, best demonstrate excellence in characteristics required for membership in the National Honor Society: scholarship, leadership, service and character.

Sarah leads a particularly busy life for a freshman. A state medalist in swimming, having qualified in three events as a freshman, she also competed in track and field, and has been involved in the Youth Watershed Council since she was an eighth-grader, now serving as the group’s website administrator.

She got into the Watershed Council because her sister Elea is a member.

“I would tag along on some of the trips,” she said.

She also is a secretary for the Key Club, and vice president of the Oregon History Club, which was formed this year by Chase Boyd and other freshmen at the high school and now numbers “eight or nine” students, she said, with more expected as eighth-graders move up to the high school.

“I want to bring in as many people as I can,” she said.

She also works out nearly daily with the Sweet Home Swim Club and volunteers every second Friday at SHEM. She also participates in the Highway 20 Church of Christ youth group.

Bradley played soccer, swam and participated in track and field. He is also a member of the Key Club and sang with the Symphonic Choir. He’s involved in TAG, has been a Boy Scout for six years, has studied piano for eight years, is a member of the Swim Club and plays AYSO soccer.

He said he wasn’t shocked that he was selected, because of his involvement.

“You have these smart people who aren’t active in as many community events,” he said.

“Most of the boys are mainly jocks,” Sarah noted, adding as an aside to Bradley: “I’m glad I got you into Key Club.”

Her own selection was “definitely an honor,” she said.

“I was really surprised, actually, because we had so many great (candidates). I felt very special.”

As they move forward, both have big plans, they said.

Sarah is taking summer classes “so that I have more room during sophomore and junior year,” she said. “I’m pretty packed for next year.”

She plans to concentrate on math and said she is looking forward to taking psychology.

“I feel that would be a really cool class to take.”

She’s also planning to be involved in Leadership and Class Board as a sophomore.

“My goal is to hold my 4 point, because I want to,” she said. “I’ll just have to do the best I can do. We’ll see how it all works out.”

She also wants to re-start the Art Club.

“That’s something I’m passionate about,” Sarah said. “I’d also like to do Beekeeping Club as well. And maybe Josai Club. I feel like that would be a cool opportunity.”

Bradley said he sees “great opportunity” in high school.

“I feel kind of bad for those people who don’t feel like it is a good experience,” he said.

He’d also like to join the Josai Club and he’s aiming to make it to state in swimming.

He’d also like to see the Symphonic Choir make it to the state competition after a near-miss in qualifying this year.

“(Outgoing Director) Mr. Clark has high hopes for us to make it next year.”