As part of its annual awards banquet, the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce named Macy Schowalter its junior citizen of the year award late last month.
The Newberg High School senior received this year's honor for her extensive extracurricular involvement at the school, including with the student-run machine shop Tiger Manufacturing and the Chehalem Valley Watershed Project.
The moment she learned of the award was a surreal one, she said.
"I found out I was nominated and selected for the award when our principal, Tami Erion, called me into her office," she said. "When she told me, I was kind of like, 'whoa.' It is so cool and to receive this opportunity is incredible. I was super grateful for it."
The award ceremony was held at the Chehalem Cultural Center and honored plenty of other movers and shakers in the community. Schowalter was the youngest honoree at the event and gave a speech when presented with her award that thanked those who influenced her.
Among those people was Alvin Elbert, the faculty advisor for Tiger Manufacturing who was at the event representing his professional machine shop, A.R.E. Manufacturing. The student-run shop is a professional operation in itself and Schowalter is the current president.
In the shop, students make parts and sell them to local businesses with a full, legitimate business structure in place. The experience the students get prepares them for jobs in the industry, whether they are managing a shop or working with their hands.
For Schowalter, Tiger Manufacturing has been an impactful experience, but so has working on the Chehalem Valley Watershed Project – CVWP – as a student leader. The student-led conservation effort advised by NHS biology teacher Peter Siderius engages in volunteer work, research and other conservation projects.
"It is an incredible amount of support they've provided me throughout my journey," Schowalter said of the adults who have mentored her. "They have helped me grow into the woman that I am now and helped me develop as a professional. Alvin Elbert, Mr. Siderius with the Chehalem Valley Watershed Project – all these teachers and more who have been the most impactful on me."
The awards ceremony itself was a fun, eventful evening for Schowalter as well.
"It was super fun," Schowalter said. "I got to network with some people a little bit and was presented the award … Everyone who received their awards got a chance to go up there and speak a bit. I thanked all my teachers because they're the ones who have gotten me to where I am right now."
After her years heavily involved at NHS, Schowalter wants to be an educator. She is interested in teaching both mathematics and environmental education and envisions herself returning to Newberg in the early stages of her teaching career.
Her top college of interest right now is Montana State University, where she plans to take a visit soon. For now she plans to mull her college choices and will enjoy her final few months at NHS, remaining active as Tiger Manufacturing's president and working with the CVWP.
The focus of Schowalter's speech shined through when asked about what led her to this point. As she said during the ceremony, she owes her involvement and success to the influence of the adults in her life.
"I am so thankful for the opportunities that everyone in this community has given me," she said. "Newberg is such a great community and having been involved here I have grown to love it."
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