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Santiam students make history

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

Grace Lindemann and Matthew Brady are Linn County’s Junior First Citizens

Two local students made history when separate judging panels named them both Linn County Junior First Citizens.

Among a flurry of congratulations, both Grace Lindemann and Matthew Brady received the honor on May 13. The annual event is sponsored by four Rotary Clubs in Linn County – Albany, Greater Albany, Lebanon and Sweet Home.

“I am beyond proud of these two students,” said Angela Rasmussen, principal of Santiam Jr./Sr. High School. “They are amazing members of both the school and Canyon community. When there are needs, these two always rise to the challenge of meeting the needs. It is pretty neat that both of the recipients are from the school, but given how amazing these two are, I am not at all surprised. They represent Santiam Canyon Pride.”

Lindemann is a 4.0 senior who has been involved in her school’s leadership class for the past six years. She serves as Associated Student Body president for the second year running, making decisions and working with the leadership team to plan school activities. She is also a three-sport varsity athlete, awarded Teammate of the Year and scholar-athlete awards for each year playing.

“I am also a member of our local 4-H club where I learn to successfully raise livestock to show and sell,” she said. “My 4-H group also does lots of community service in our area. We volunteer at local humane societies and animal sanctuaries, care homes, and do lots of work for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. I am also a part of our local Young Life group as a student and also a middle school leader.”

Over the past four “interesting and crazy years” of high school, Lindemann has had “some amazing teachers, advisors and coaches who have inspired me to be the person I am today.”

“I’ve learned so much from school that goes so far beyond academics alone, such as being a part of a successful team, being selfless and serving others, and also learning things like music and exercising which are things that help me stay grounded,” she said. “Being part of a small school, you learn a lot about other people in close proximity, and I believe it has really helped my social skills and developed my sense of judgment that I will use for the rest of my life.”

Lindemann plans to attend Oregon State University to pursue a degree in animal science.

“After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I hope to get into OSU’s Veterinary program to become a licensed veterinarian,” she said. “Once I have completed all my schooling and received my license, I plan to hopefully one day own and run my own veterinary practice.”

Lindemann credits her parents for supporting her as well as giving her a good work ethic and teaching her to be proud of what she does.

“My family has always shown me so much love and support all my life,” she said. “I am so extremely blessed.

“Receiving this award was such a big accomplishment for me because I have always been heavily involved with every activity, group, club or team I could manage to join, and I have worked very hard in everything I do both in school and out,” she said. “So, it was very special to me to be recognized for all my work and service in the community. To even be nominated and considered is an amazing honor in itself.”

In her free time, Lindemann said likes playing multiple sports, lifting weights, hunting, riding horses, raising livestock, playing guitar, hanging out with friends, and doing anything outdoors.

“I was so excited and proud to find out that both Matthew and I received this award,” she said. “It was the first time in history that two students from the same school received it together from completely different judging panels. We were both very proud to be able to represent our community and school in that way. Go Wolverines!”

Brady completed 33 college credits while in high school as well as playing baseball, football and basketball all four years. He participates in leadership/class presidency and helps “wherever and whenever needed around the school.”

“In my personal experience, the support of the teachers and staff has really pushed me to be prepared for college,” he said. “Especially in my college classes that help me understand exactly what it will be like next year.”

Connections with those he made through sports have provided him a “second” family, he said.

“Those coaches were some of the best role models I could ask for and really helped me figure out who I really wanted to be,” he said.

Brady plans to attend Oregon State University to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.

“I plan to go into the automotive field to design and manufacture cars and trucks,” he said. “The dream job would be coming up with new technologies to implement into today’s automobiles.”

Brady’s biggest supporters have been his family – mom, grandma, uncle and aunt.

“They helped me trailer my first ever truck when I was 13, and have continued to support my love for cars ever since,” he said. “That first truck is what really sparked my interest in automotive and helped me figure out what I wanted to do in the future. They also have just been some of the best family you can ask for. I quite literally wouldn’t be the person I am today without guidance from them.”

Named Linn County Junior First Citizen makes Brady feel “very proud.”

“It makes all the blood sweat and tears feel worth it,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard through high school to be the best I can, so I’m very proud to win an award of such a high honor. That being said, I feel so very much more honored for Grace and I to be able to bring that home to this community.

“Not once ever had there been a school who has won both boy and girl positions,” he added. “It’s so amazing that we were able to do that. It makes me extremely happy to be able to be a part of what brought such an honor to this community.”

In his free time, Brady usually practices for his sports teams as well as work on cars. He also enjoys playing an occasional video game and spending time with friends.

“Driving around with friends in one of my favorite things to do and almost always is more fun than where we are actually going,” he said, adding, “I would like to really express just how proud I am of Grace and I. For us both to win is absolutely amazing! She has worked her tail off for this school and community, so it’s really fulfilling to see both of us win!”

Santiam Jr./Sr. High School will say good-bye to 35 seniors, including Lindemann and Brady, at 6 p.m. June 10 on the high school football field.

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