2021 Amazing Kids - Central Oregonian - Crook County
School: Crook County High School
Hometown: Prineville, Or
Why she is Amazing: Kerr — named Miss
Oregon High School Rodeo in 2021 — has an amazing ability to mentor and befriendthose in need.
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The heart of a mentor
Olivia Kerr has been riding and involved with animals and horses her entire life.
It’s a situation that came about quite naturally since her grandfather is a veterinarian, certified in acupuncture and chiropractic.
“I am quite a bit in the animal world helping him with everything,” she said.
Kerr carries a packed schedule, spending summers in Montana and Wyoming mule packing, and locally, participating in rodeo for the past three years, competing in goat tying and breakaway roping.
Last school year, she was crowned Miss Oregon High School Rodeo First Attendant. This year, she was crowned Miss Oregon High School Rodeo. Last summer, she went to nationals in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to represent Oregon in the largest queen competition in the world for high school rodeo.
“That was very cool, and I got to help some of (the) other Oregonians who made it to nationals, and I got to help them with their competitions,” Kerr said. “We all formed a pretty big bond there.”
In Oklahoma, she felt that the experience of trying out for Miss National High School Rodeo while representing Oregon was instrumental in helping her to form a stronger sense of self-confidence.
During the pandemic, she valued making contact with her friends when they were able to return to school in person. She also realized the importance of family values and how they were connected by facing the same challenges while they were isolated during the pandemic.
“It made me value both family and friends,” Kerr said.
She also loves working with kids and works after school at the Crook County Kids Club. She works with up to 30 youth per day, helping them with fun educational activities and games until parents come to pick them up. Kerr originally planned on getting into criminal justice psychology at college, but her job has influenced her to continue working with younger people. Her current college plans include seeking a degree in juvenile psychology. She sees herself more as a mentor with this age group and enjoys working with them.
“I really like to bring out the happy atmosphere and the bubbly side of everything and bring things up and lighten the mood on everything,” Kerr said.
Larry Jones has been a mentor for Kerr over the past two years as she prepared for her speech at the Oregon High School Queen Rodeo competition. He said that Kerr has an amazing personality, is always smiling, and is kind and sympathetic to her classmates and everyone she meets.
“She is a long-term resident of Central Oregon, and her interests reflect a snapshot of all that is good about growing up in small-town (Prineville) in Central Oregon,” Jones said.
He went on to that “She is extraordinarily amazing in her ability to mentor and befriend everyone in need and strives to help direct them in life decisions by sharing her experiences.”
The biggest challenges that Kerr encountered over the past year included navigating online learning and learning to work with a new roping horse last year, whose level was well above her own and required her to step up her skillset.
“He is helping me push myself a little more to those faster times,” she said. One of her biggest role models is her mother, Jodi Kerr.
“She is definitely a go-getter, and she has taught me that you are in charge of your own path, and if you want to do something, you go and do it,” Kerr said. “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. She definitely helped me to form my independence and form my own self-image, which helped me build enough self-confidence to push myself to limits that I don’t know if I would be able to push myself to without having someone to look up to.”
Kerr added that her father has also had a big influence on her sense of culture. He is a chemical engineer and his work takes him all around the world. Her brothers are also planning on engineering careers in the future.
“He travels a lot and I think he brought the wide culture that I have,” Kerr said of her father’s world travels.
She also said that her dad, Jeff Kerr, would occasionally take her or her brothers with him. “I definitely am grateful and I feel that is what broadened my horizons a little bit,” Kerr said.
“Although a small town is extremely important and you definitely need to know where your base is, he pushed me to lengthen and broaden my horizons.”