Sarah Gentry steps up, stays busy, gets a lot accomplished
School is suspended.
Many activities have been curtailed.
That means that Sarah Gentry just might have a little bit of spare time.
And, for the friendly, effervescent Tigard High School senior, that's very unusual.
"It's really weird, not having a routine," Gentry said on Friday, March 20.
It certainly must be.
After all, as a student body president, star student, school leader, event organizer and — oh yeah — championship skier, Gentry's plate is usually pretty darn full.
"She is truly an impressive kid," Tigard High School chemistry teacher Kelsey Wahl said of Gentry. "I honestly don't know how Sarah has time to do everything that she does."
"Yeah, I'm usually pretty busy," Gentry said with a laugh.
And, while these are trying times for Gentry, she's staying active in her role as a Tigard High School leader.
"I've been disappointed the past week. We're trying to do stuff on our own," Gentry said. "I'm trying to teach myself organic chemistry. But, in a role of a student leader, I know that we're all disappointed, but we have to try and be as optimistic as we can. I've had a lot of students reach out to me. I try to help them and stay positive."
Staying positive — that's certainly doesn't seem to be a problem for Gentry.
Leading the way
You can hear the enthusiasm in Gentry's voice when she talks about leadership. It's something she seems to take to with total exuberance and pride.
"I took a leadership class in my freshman year, and that got me interested," Gentry said. "The (teacher's assistant) that year really got me interested in it. In my sophomore year, I really got involved with leadership at school, and really enjoyed it."
Gentry took off from there.
"In my junior year, I was in charge of the publicity committee," she said. "That's one of the biggest committees. I loved getting involved. That's when I decided to run for (Associated Student Body) president."
Probably to no surprise, Gentry won, and she is serving as Tigard's ASB president for the 2019-20 school year. That's not an easy position to hold, especially with the balance of the school year in doubt, but Gentry has been taking it on with her usual enthusiasm.
"It's a big undertaking," Gentry said. "I'm in charge of nine different committees, and a total of 36 people. Everything in the leadership committees is my responsibility, but it's been going really well."
Gentry is making sure of that, no matter what commitment she needs to make.
"We have meetings on Wednesday every week," Gentry said. "It's all a big chunk of time, but I love it. It's so fun, and so rewarding."
In addition to her duties as Tigard's ASB president, Gentry is also involved with the Tigard-Tualatin Student Unity group, a club shared by the two high schools.
"We're an advocate between both schools," Gentry said.
"One of Sarah's greatest qualities is her ability to make everyone around her feel welcomed and valued," Wahl said.
Excelling in the classroom
While her student body president duties are important to Gentry, she's made sure to keep up her excellence in the classroom as well.
And, likely to no surprise, she takes on that challenge with more enthusiasm.
"I'm a full (Intentional Baccalaureate) student," Gentry said. "I'm really committed. Chemistry is my favorite subject. Leadership classes are also really important."
"Sarah's curiosity and excitement gives a great energy to our IB Chemistry 2 class and her motivation to learn inspires me to be a better teacher," Wahl said. "I feel extremely privileged to be her teacher and to have the opportunity to learn alongside her."
For Gentry, the school day is just part of what is a busy day — every day.
"I've got four IB classes some days, and three on other days," she said. "There's also leadership. I usually stay after school to do homework for a few hours. I also try to go see a sporting event. I usually get home at about 8:30, and then do some more studying. Then I do it all over again."
Super on the slopes
For the Gentry family, skiing is, well, all in the family.
"I have an older brother (Taylor) and an older sister (Katie) who both skied for Tigard," Sarah Gentry said. "I started when I was 9 and did some club ski racing. I joined the Tigard ski team my freshman year."
Things weren't great at the start.
"I fell a lot my freshman year," Gentry said with a laugh.
But, this year was a big year — and a championship year — for Gentry and the Tigard High School girls ski team.
The Tigers took first place in every Metro League competition during the 2020 season. Tigard finished in first place in the final league standings with a perfect score of 108 points, putting the Tigers easily ahead of perennial league power Jesuit, which was second with a score of 98. The league title was the first ever for a Tigard girls team.
"That was awesome," Gentry said.
Speaking of awesome, Gentry claimed the Metro League individual championship for the 2020 season. Gentry went on to place fifth in the slalom event, and seventh overall, at the OISRA state championships, held March 5 and March 6 at Mount Ashland. The Tigard girls finished fifth in the overall team standings at the state championships.
"That was a fun experience. It took a lot to get here, from my freshman year, to this year, where it all came together," Gentry said. "It felt like a huge accomplishment. This was my best season, by far. I kept going and improving. It was a big-time commitment."
It was a commitment that, like everything else, kept Gentry busy.
"We'd drive up on Friday, stay overnight and then race all day on Saturday," she said. "I'd then train on Sunday with my club team. There are no days off. Every day is packed."
One of the biggest projects for the ever-busy Gentry was Tigard High School's Unity Day. Gentry was the main student in charge of organizing the event.
"It was a whole, solid day, focusing on equity, unity and diversity," Gentry said. "It was going to take the whole school day. The first period was going to be an assembly, with a theme of 'Voices,' where students could share their stories with other students. The second period was going to be a debriefing period, following the assembly. The third period was going to have workshops in three different locations, with students going from one to the other. In the fourth period, everyone was going to go back to their homeroom and talk about how it affected them."
It was a day that was very important to Gentry, and Tigard High School.
"We wanted to affect the school positively, with a lot of education," Gentry said.
"She put her heart and soul into organizing Unity Day, because she truly cares about everyone at Tigard High School," Wahl said.
The event was scheduled for March 12 at the school. The event started as scheduled that morning. But, according to Gentry, partway into the first period, there was an announcement from the principal that, due to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, the remainder of the event was canceled.
"It was hard, since we already started the day. We were about 30 minutes into it, when the principal said it was canceled, and we couldn't continue," Gentry said. "It was hard, that day, to tell a student that they couldn't tell their story today. You never know if they'll be able to do it again after that."
While the cancellation of Unity Day was disheartening for Gentry, she hasn't given up on the event.
"I was really disappointed. I put so much into it," Gentry said. "But we're still hoping we can do something. If we can go back to school after April 28, we want to try and go forward with it."
As for her scholastic future, Gentry said she is looking at the University of Oregon; Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois; and Stanford University, located in Stanford, California, as possible destinations.
"Sarah has achieved many great things in high school and will continue to achieve great things in the future," Wahl said.
"I want to continue with a leadership role, and maybe student government in college," Gentry said. "And I love planning events."
While the future may be bright for Gentry, she's not done with her role at Tigard. Despite the uncertain immediate future, Gentry — ever the leader and ever the planner — said she is going to make sure her fellow Tiger seniors finish on a positive note.
"Even if we can't walk on graduation night, we'll still make sure to do something special for our seniors," she said.
It sounds like Sarah Gentry is ready to take on another task — with joy and enthusiasm.
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