2023 Amazing Kids -Tigard
School: Tigard High School
WHY SHE’S AMAZING: Harrington works to help out homeless families and was part of a group that successfully campaigned to place free feminine hygiene products in girls' bathrooms in district schools.
PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:
Helping out homeless families,
community service is Tigard senior's goal
As a member of the Tigard Service Club since her freshman year, the most valuable lesson Ellerie Harrington has learned is the importance of students giving back to their community.
While the club had a hiatus during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Harrington became so invested in the group that she pushed hard last year to get it back on track.
“We did about 1,500 hours of service last year, whether it’s something with the climate — tree-planting, ivy-pulling at a local park — we do stuff with homeless shelters, meal hosting,” said the Tigard High School senior.
She said once per month, some student volunteers who are part of the 200-member club make a meal for families staying at Tigard’s Good Neighbor Center, which provides temporary shelter and services for homeless families. The students then return on a different day to help with other duties.
Harrington said she enjoys working with Tigard High students in the club and families she meets at the center.
“I think for me, I was someone who was kind of looking for a way to connect not only with my school community but also my outside Tigard community,” Harrington explained.
As part of the Tigard Service Club, she added, “You’re working with students who maybe you don’t have a class with, so you’re meeting those people and making connections, and then you’re making connections with people who you maybe wouldn’t speak to (at the center).”
In talking with unhoused individuals, Harrington has discovered that each has a unique story.
Harrington said that giving someone just an hour of your time “can make a world of difference.”
Harrington’s other activities include involvement with the National High School Ethics Bowl, where students compete using real-life ethical questions and speech and debate skills.
“Basically, you’re presented with 15 different ethical scenarios. For example, it might be, ‘What is an individual’s responsibility in the role of their government’?” she said.
Harrington’s team won the state ethics bowl competition on Feb. 4, moving on to national competition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on April 2, where the team came in sixth.
“It was so much fun, and again, I value making those connections with people you may not talk to otherwise, and these people come from all over the country,” she said.
Another activity Harrington was recently involved with was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societies’ Student Visionaries Program, a campaign to raise money for the group.
“We had a goal of $30,000, and we reached it,” she said of this year’s campaign, which was organized by Tigard High seniors Izzy Pope and Theo Jones.
Harrington also works with the Period Club, which she joined her freshman year when a group of students successfully pushed to get the Tigard-Tualatin School District’s board of directors to place free menstrual products in all girls’ bathrooms.
“We have the free pads and tampons and menstrual products in bathrooms now in Tigard, which is super-progressive and I’m super-excited about,” Harrington said. “We’ve just continued that work of ending the period stigma in the Tigard community.”
For the future, Harrington wants to become either a pediatrician — having found how much she loves working with kids after serving three summers as a camp counselor — or an obstetrician/gynecologist, saying she knows how critical women’s health care is given the current political climate.
Planning to major in chemistry, Harrington is currently trying to decide whether to attend college at the University of Washington, the University of California at Berkeley, or the University of California at San Diego, all of which have great chemistry programs, she said.
Having worked on Rep. Ben Bowman’s legislative campaign to win the Oregon House District 25 last November, Harrington is supportive of the Democratic legislator’s push for a bill that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school board elections.
“I think it’s something that will be controversial, but I think it’s something that is directly impacting kids, myself included,” she said. “I think it’s a really interesting piece of policy, and I think it’s definitely worth exploring, and I’m glad he’s proposing it.”