Zackery Woodruff

2023 Amazing Kids - Canby
Age: 17
School: Canby High School
Hometown: Canby
WHY HE IS AMAZING: His passion for music allows him to share his art with others, which in turn provides the community building he is passionate about.


Discovering the magic that music brings

Music can uplift, engage and positively weave its way through the tapestry of one’s life.

For Canby’s Zackery Woodruff, music not only weaves a place of regeneration and sanctuary but a love affair that he has enjoyed while playing in multiple school bands and taking on his own music project.

It’s an amazing story of discovery and passion, and that’s part of what makes Woodruff the 2023 Pamplin Media Group’s Amazing Kid for the Canby area.

“Band is my jam,” Woodruff said matter-of-factly. “I like getting involved in my band community. I think the thing that I like about music is the sanctuary it provides for me. It’s a lovely medium for self-expression and community building. It really resonates with me, and I really enjoy being surrounded by it.”

Woodruff is involved in Canby High’s jazz and pep bands, as well as the wind ensemble, finding confidence and enjoyment through his work with the trombone. He said he works hard to take on a leadership role within those diverse musical groups. Outside of school, he keeps the music playing.

“I really enjoy music production,” he said. “I’ve made one album, “Say More,” which is mostly a pop and indie fusion.”

While not having the luxury of a recording studio, Woodruff uses a computer, some focused programs, and a simple microphone to craft the sound diversity that resonates within him and his creation. His album dropped a few weeks ago, something he’s clearly proud of.

“It’s awesome,” he said of the project. “I feel like I really have an end product after working on it for several months. It’s really cool sharing my art with the world. I’m very happy with my efforts and look forward to making more in the future.”

When not hip-deep in band commitments and projects, he plays tennis for the Cougars, having taken the sport up during an abbreviated freshman year. He also enjoys gaming, pointing to Nintendo Action as a way to bond with friends and family and doing a dash of computer programming on the side.

He’s also not afraid to speak up when something that seems unjust crosses his radar. Recently, 36 books were pulled off Canby School District library shelves after two parents filed paperwork for “reconsideration” of those books. It was a move that Woodruff said he couldn’t stand by and let happen without some response.

“My biggest thing is I find it absurd that two parents are able to file a challenge, and immediately 36 books are pulled from the shelf,” he said. “It’s against due process, and I find it ridiculous for those books to be challenged. The reality is, the idea of what counts as too vulgar or sexually explicit is different for everybody.”

Woodruff, who has family and friends in the LGBTQ+ community, said he needed to take a stand.

“I want to be informed,” he said. “The incident really set it off for me, and I decided I had to say something about it.”

So he did. At an April school board meeting, his impassioned talk drew a large ovation from many in attendance.

Woodruff said he’s a person who enjoys new experiences and the many unique things life offers. He said keeping an open mind helps discover what’s new in the world. It’s a philosophy he tries to live by.

“Don’t be so concrete in things,” he said. “Nothing is truly permanent, and anything could shatter at any moment. Being open to different mentalities and opinions is invaluable to life. Just enjoy what you have and try to make the most of that.”

Looking ahead, Woodruff will attend the University of Oregon in the fall, majoring in trombone performance and minor in audio production.

“I aspire to play in an orchestral or studio session while pursuing music production and jazz gigs as a side job,” he said.