Jakob Hiett, Sierrah Owen named Junior First Citizens

Sweet Home High School seniors Sierrah Owen and Jake Hiett are representing Sweet Home as junior first citizens.

Junior first citizens are selected from each high school in the county.

Mitchell Butzner of South Albany High School and Joslyn Bryant of West Albany were named Linn County Junior First Citizens on Nov. 4 during an Albany Rotary Club luncheon. All of the junior first citizens are invited to ride in the annual Veterans Day Parade in Albany, which was held Tuesday, Nov. 11.

“Sierrah is a great addition to Sweet Home High School,” said High School Activities Director Chris Hiaasen in a letter of recommendation. “She has been actively involved during her time at the high school, not only at the school but in the community as well. Her most pronounced character traits include fortitude, determination, and a willingness to step outside of her comfort zone.

“Jakob is a unique student at Sweet Home High School. He has been actively involved during his four years at the high school, but his years growing up in Cambodia have given him a truly world view of our small town. His most pronounced character traits include empathy, compassion, and an ability to focus on goals.”

After high school, Hiett plans to attend the University of Colorado and major in bio-medicine. He plans to participate in cross country and track. Ultimately, he plans to become an emergency room doctor and work with Doctors Without Borders, working with the poorest people in the world and making a difference.

Owen plans to attend Brigham Young University and major in translation of a foreign language. She plans to participate in clubs at BYU that pertain to her interests in music and theater, and she is planning on an overseas mission for her church.

Owen is a Sportsman’s Holiday princess and has been involved in many activities with many groups in the area through the court. She has spoken at meetings of the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, the School Board and the City Council.

She is involved in a variety of sports, although she considers herself more cerebral than physical. She has participated in cross country, swimming and track. She also is a member of the high school choir and band.

Hiett has been active leading music at three different churches in the area. He plays guitar and alto saxophone, and he runs the sound system and projector at First Presbyterian Church. He is an avid snow skier and belongs to a group that meets monthly at Mt. Bachelor. He volunteers with the Oregon Jamboree as a member of the Youth Summer Planning Committee. He also has volunteered to provide entertainment at a local retirement community.

He is involved in sports and has been a team leader on the cross country and track teams. He won the 4A state championship this year in cross country. He also has been involved with the jazz band, Foster Outdoor School, his class board, choir and band.

Hiett is a member of the National Honor Society and has been on the Honor Roll throughout high school. He has been in the Leadership Class since his freshman year. He has been a section leader for the Jazz Band, band and choir. He is on the Choir Council.

Owen is an Academic All-American, 2011-13. She won honorable mention for the American Legion School Award in 2011. She won the Silver Key Award in the 2010 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She is a member of the National Honor Society, and has worked as the Band Council librarian and secretary. She participates in Concert Band, Symphonic Choir and the Drama Club.

She works as a part-time lifeguard at the Sweet Home Community Pool.

Owen and Hiett went through an application process that ended with interviews.

“I thought I laughed too much and was rambling,” Owen said. “But apparently they liked me.”

Among the questions, the committee asked her if she had all of the resources to change one thing about the federal government what it would be. She told the committee that she would increase music, drama and art education programs, the areas of her education she enjoys the most, an interest she gets from her mother who is an artist.

“It was fun,” Hiett said. “It was nice to be recognized for hard work.”

Hiett also enjoyed meeting other seniors from other schools who are as active as he and Owen are.

He answered the same question Owen did: “I think we should have a mandatory vote.

“When you boost participation, people will automatically feel more invested, which is really important.”