The heart of a mentor
Olivia Kerr has been riding and involved with animals and horses her entire life, as her grandfather is a veterinarian, certified in acupuncture and chiropractic.
"I am quite a bit in the animal world helping him with everything."
Olivia carries a packed schedule. In the summers, she has also spent time in Montana and Wyoming mule packing, and more locally, she has been very involved in rodeo for the past three years, competing in goat tying and breakaway roping.
Last school year, she was crowned Miss Oregon High School Rodeo First Attendant. This year, she was crowned Miss Oregon High School Rodeo. Last summer, she went to nationals in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to represent Oregon in the largest queen competition in the world for high school rodeo.
"That was very cool, and I got to help some of my other Oregonians who made it to nationals, and I got to help them with their competition. We all formed a pretty big bond there," said Olivia.
In Oklahoma, she felt that the experience of trying out for Miss National High School Rodeo while representing Oregon was instrumental in helping her to form a stronger sense of self-confidence.
During the pandemic, she valued the contact with her friends when they were able to be back in school in person. She also realized how important her family values are to her, and how they were connected through the same challenges as they were isolated through the pandemic.
"It made me value both family and friends."
Olivia also loves working with kids, and she works after school at the Crook County Kids Club. She works with up to 30 youth per day, helping them with fun educational activities and games until parents come to pick up their youngsters.
She originally planned on getting into criminal justice psychology, but her job has influenced her decision to work with younger people. Her current secondary education plans include seeking a degree in juvenile psychology. She sees herself more of a mentor with this age group and enjoys working with them.
"I really like to bring out the happy atmosphere and the bubbly side of everything and bring things up and lighten the mood on everything," explained Olivia.
Larry Jones has been a mentor while Olivia was preparing for her speech in the Oregon High School Queen Rodeo competition for the past two years. He articulated that Olivia has an amazing personality, is always smiling, and is kind and sympathetic with her classmates and everyone she meets.
"She is a long-term resident of Central Oregon, and her interests reflect a snapshot of all that is good about growing up in small-town (Prineville) in Central Oregon," commented Jones.
He went on to say, "She is extraordinarily amazing in her ability to mentor and befriend everyone in need and strives to help direct them in life decisions by sharing her experiences."
The biggest challenges that Olivia encountered this past year included navigating online learning. She also bought a new roping horse last year, whose level was well above her own skills and required her to step up her skill set.
"He is helping me to push myself a little more to those faster times," she said.
One of her biggest role models is her mother, Jodi Kerr.
"She is definitely a go-getter, and she has taught me that you are in charge of your own path, and if you want to do something, you go and do it," said Olivia. "Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. She definitely helped me to form my independence and form my own self-image, which helped me build enough self-confidence to push myself to limits that I don't know if I would be able to push myself to—without having someone to look up to."
Olivia added that her father has had a big influence on her sense of culture. He is a chemical engineer, and his work takes him all around the world. Her brothers are also planning on engineering for their future careers.
"He travels a lot, and I think he brought the wide culture that I have," explained Olivia of her father's world travels.
She indicated that Jeff Kerr would occasionally take her or her brothers with him.
I definitely am grateful, and I feel that is what broadened my horizon a little bit. Although a small town is extremely important and you definitely need to know where your base is, he pushed me to lengthen and broaden my horizon."
Name: Olivia Kerr
School: Crook County High School
Why she is amazing: Olivia Kerr secured the crown of Miss Oregon High School Rodeo in 2021 and has
an amazing ability to mentor and befriend those in need.
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