Story and photos by Angela Howe-Decker

Cheyenne Peters has been interested in helping others for as long as she can remember.

Peters is a senior at Ashland High School, an honor roll student and a former Kiwanis student of the month.

She has been involved in leadership activities at AHS, including class president in her sophomore year and vice president in her senior year.

In addition, Cheyenne is an active student and has participated in youth leadership conferences, Natural Helpers, Sparrow Club, Amnesty International and several other service organizations.

Cheyenne was also a Fresh Start counselor and Red Cross Blood Drive volunteer.

Somehow, she finds time for sports and singing lessons as well.

The Tidings caught up with Cheyenne and talked about her leadership activities and plans for the future.

DT: How do you manage to maintain your grades with all the activities you are involved in?

Cheyenne: I like being involved at school, so I work hard to keep up my grades and I work hard to balance my time.

DT: What is one of your favorite activities?

Cheyenne: Rock climbing. I started about a year and half ago. I climb at the Rogue Rock gym and outside when it's nice. Rock climbing has been my passion. I just love it. It's unlike any other sport I've participated in. I love the people who do it, too. I've met so many cool people and built up so much rock climbing knowledge. It's not just about strength, it's about technique. There are all these different elements to it that I like.

DT: Your mother is very proud of you.

Cheyenne: She has been very supportive of my sister and me. She just supports everything we do, our education and our activities. She's always there for us. It's easy to do things and get good grades and stay involved because I've never gotten a lot of pressure from her. I've just gotten support and that has helped me stick with what I like to do.

DT: Who inspires you?

Cheyenne: My grandma has been an inspiration. She's a lot like my mom. They are both strong individuals, strong women. I feel like I can be independent and be myself. I've learned that from them, and that's cool.

I've definitely had some inspiring people at school, like Mark Schoenleber. His dedication to the kids is making a difference at Ashland High. He started the Fresh Start program and what that's brought to the high school is amazing.

People I've met who've made a difference inspire me because that is the goal I've set for myself. It's what I want to do with my life. I want to be making a difference somehow.

DT: What is the Fresh Start Program?

Cheyenne: It is a retreat to help incoming freshman ease into the school year. It's hosted by Mark Schoenleber, an art teacher at AHS. We do team building activities and get to know each other. It is an awesome program.

Since we started, the dropout rate has dropped from 7 to 5 percent.

DT: What do you want to do after you graduate?

Cheyenne: I want to major in psychology. I want to help people and work with teens.

DT: What is your favorite subject in school?

Cheyenne: English. I like reading and writing a lot. I've had some really great English teachers who've helped give me a whole new perspective on writing.

DT: What accomplishment has made you most proud recently?

Cheyenne: I'm just proud that I've been able to accomplish the goals I've set for myself. I feel that a lot of the things I've been involved with matter, and that is important to me.