Claire Roach

2023 Amazing Kids - Tualatin
Age: 17
School: Tualatin High School
Hometown: Tualatin
Why She's Amazing: Roach has worked hard to create a more sustainable Tualatin. She also uses her writing ability to cover important societal issues such as the history of the death penalty in Oregon.


Caire Roach believes climate change and sustainability are her generation’s significant issues. She also believes her generation is the one to stand up to the challenge. 

Last year, the Tualatin High School senior started “Tuesdays for Trash,” a group of students who dedicate one day out of the week to picking up trash along Boones Ferry and Grahams Ferry roads. 

She started the activity in part to catch up with a fellow friend and trash-picking helper during the COVID19 pandemic. “It was a good way to connect with my friend during the pandemic, but also just like a small way to help the community and also inspire other people,” she said. From those efforts, Roach connected with Tualatin City Council member Bridget Brooks, who was starting up a sustainability group in the city. 

Before long, Roach and other students became founding members of the Tualatin Sustainability Network. The nonprofit group is dedicated to environmental stewardship. 

Roach has found that local young people, as well as many older folks, are interested in sustainability at a greater intensity than previous generations. 

“We have tons of people who are interested who have come to trash pickups that are students, and also other student groups like the Climate Change Activism Club at the high school,” Roach said. 

“I think everyone is willing — at least they’re wanting to — find little ways to support (those efforts).” Last year, Roach and fellow students successfully pushed the Tigard-Tualatin School District’s board of directors to adopt a climate change resolution. 

Having written for Tualatin High School’s newspaper, The Wolf, for three years, Roach is the paper’s co-editor-in-chief. In February, she wrote a story about Oregon’s longtime efforts to abolish the death penalty. “It took a while to learn about Oregon’s history of abolishing and bringing back the death penalty,” said Roach.

In December 2022, then-Gov. Kate Brown commuted the sentences of all 17 people on death row, ensuring they must instead serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Roach said she was fascinated by what she learned about the death penalty and the Oregon justice system during her research. She also found it interesting how women in such facilities are treated, and became specifically interested in the life of Angela McAnulty. McAnulty was the state’s only woman on death row, having been convicted of murdering her teenage daughter in 2009 and sentenced to death in 2011. 

As Roach wrote, after McAnulty’s sentence was overturned on appeal, she was re-sentenced to life in prison in 2020 and is now housed at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville. 

The young journalist even reached out and got answers from an Oregon Department of Corrections administrator, asking about McAnulty’s living conditions and daily life after being removed from death row. 

Currently the president of Tualatin High School’s National Honor Society chapter, Roach is still deciding where to attend college next year. 

“Right now, my goal is to have a double major in environmental science or some sort of science and journalism, but I’m not sure where I’m going yet,” she said. Brooks called Roach — who also worked on her election campaign last year — an “exceptional young woman and a joy to work with who gives me confidence about the strengths of this next generation.” 

“With her dedication to our climate and our community, her willingness to learn, and to do all she can to share her knowledge and enthusiasm, she has become a leader-whether with TuSN (Tualatin Sustainability Network), Tualatin High School, and I’m confident, in her next chapter in college,” Brooks said.