Erika Hettick is an outstanding scholar and athlete who is passionate about community service and has accumulated at least 1,000 hours of volunteer time since middle school.
An accomplished equestrian, she has competed at the state level several times with 4-H. She became involved with 4-H at age 5 and has been showing and riding horses since. She was in third grade when she got her first horse, and now owns two, riding every day and going to shows about seven months out of the year.
“At an early age, Erika started with accepting responsibility in caring for animals on the family farm. Erika learned the importance of hard work, commitment and following through to meet the needs, requirements and demands of a responsible owner,” says family friend Diane Brignone. “Erika’s maturity in accepting responsibility is beyond her years and she has developed a solid base to tackle challenges head on.”
One of Hettick’s favorite parts about 4-H is the ability to make an impact through community service. She has been involved with organizations such as Fish Food Bank and Tacoma Rescue Mission.
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Together with her mother and her sister, Hettick received a grant through a program called Katie’s Krops to start a garden at their home. Last year, they decided to expand it and teach the youth in the community the benefits of gardening — so they helped create a garden at Purdy Elementary.
“The kids gave up their recess time to come and learn,” she says. “We taught them how to grow (various) vegetables and we donated the food to local food banks.”
A runner since sixth grade, Hettick joined the cross-country team in high school and says she found a new family.
“I made a lot of friends and I started taking running more seriously,” she says.
She loved competing, and also credits her coach, Joel Wingard, with helping her improve her form and change the way she thought of herself as a runner. She considers competing at state as a sophomore and a senior her highest athletic achievement, because she didn’t think she would achieve state level.
Despite a full schedule that also includes riding her horses and caring for the animals, Hettick has maintained an excellent GPA.
“Through hard work, she has the potential to soar above the typical student,” says PHS math teacher Kim Demianiw. “She is self-motivated, organized and mature.”
Hettick plans to attend Olympic College for two years while running on the cross-country and track teams, and then transfer to Washington State University to study food science.
Category: Community service
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parents: Mike an Elaine Hettick
Activities/Achievements: Nearly 900 hours of volunteer service including 4-H, Fish Food Bank, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Winterfest, Katie’s Krops and others; United Way gold, bronze and silver varsity letters (4 total); Presidents Volunteer Service Award (2); 4-H Club president, secretary, state fair participant, outstanding record, state team captain; National Honor Society; varsity track Most Improved; varsity cross-country state competitor, 2nd Team All-state; summer camp counselor; horse trainer, Groom Squad state bronze medal, Showmanship supreme medal
Favorite teacher: Kim Demianiw, math, because she “helped me figure out how to look at math in a different way.” Best thing about high school: “The teachers at Peninsula are very supportive and always willing to help you. The students are very accepting of others and friendly. Peninsula has encouraging coaches who have inspired me throughout my high school experience.”