At the start of her senior year, 17-year-old Shawna Hettick has already accomplished a great deal. She has earned 10 varsity letters, three in swim, three in track and field, three in community service and one in the equestrian team. With all of her extracurricular activities, she is still able to maintain a GPA of 3.918 and takes several businesses classes at Tacoma Community College through the running start program.
Shawna has been showing horses competitively since the third grade through 4-H and began competing in the medals program in middle school. “My first horse, Boopee, taught me what riding in showing is all about,” said Shawna. “With my new show horse, Joey, I am starting over at medals and doing very well.”
She said her dream job is do marketing for the American Quarter Horse Association. “I have always loved the quarter horse breed and am continuously fascinated by the beauty and versatility of the breed,” said Shawna who last year took home four state championship titles and has attended nationals in Kentucky on two occasions.
Shawna said her favorite part about being an equestrian is that her horse becomes her best friend. “People you compete against also will become lifelong friends, even if they are stiff competition in the show ring,” she added.
Showing horses has taught Shawna a lot over the past nine years. But above all, she has learned to be patient.
“Patience is a trait that takes years to develop,” said Shawna. “In the long haul, if you are patient, all the good will outweigh the bad.”
A senior at Gig Harbor High School, Alex Emery is passionate about sports. A three-sport athlete, Alex plays football, basketball and runs track. Last year he was selected first team All-Narrows League offensive lineman. But it is not just on the field where Alex excels; he also takes several Advanced Placement and honors courses, is a member of the National Honors Society and maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.96.
Alex shares that he would like to play football at the college level and attend a four-year research university where he can pursue a degree in human biology in preparation for medical school. He eventually would like to work as an orthopedic surgeon.
“I recently experienced their work firsthand when I tore the labrum in my shoulder,” said Alex. “I want to be able to work with athletes of all ages and levels so they can recover after being injured.”
He said the most challenging aspect of sports is having to say goodbye to the seniors who were a year ahead of him.
“Throughout the year I spent multiple hours a day, for months, developing close bonds with a group of seniors,” said Alex. “Realizing and accepting I will never play with them again is the greatest challenge I have experienced.”
When asked what is one lesson he learned from sports, Alex replied, “ A group can accomplish much more than an individual. When everyone works together to accomplish a common goal, special things can happen.”