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The Sherwood High School sophomore was recently selected as Pamplin Media Group's Sherwood representative as an 'Amazing Kid'

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JAIME VALDEZ - After he graduates, Justyn Price would like to go into some sort of science field. He said his ultimate goal would be to work for the CDC in an effort to cure diseases, especially cancer.To say that Justyn Price is organized and can delegate responsibility may be an understatement.

For his part, Justyn admits to being driven and perhaps something of an overachiever, something he's made peace with.

"I'm fine with that," says the enthusiastic 15-year-old Sherwood High School sophomore. "I get told by parents and people, 'You need to take it easier on yourself.'"

But that's easier said than done.

Justyn has helped to coordinate several Sherwood High blood drives, led efforts to prepare for last fall's homecoming, plays on the school's soccer team, and is a member of the committee charged with determining what the next high school will look like.

And during the recent spring break, he traveled to a camp in Mexico designed for underprivileged children.

Justyn says his high school involvement began last year with the school's American Red Cross blood drive.

"Yeah, I got sucked into it as a freshman," he says, noting he became good friends with a senior who ran the blood drive last year. "I've done it three times."

From there, the challenge was focusing himself and others on the committee creating a schedule for the day, where they had to coordinate donors and personally contact parents to get permission for their sons or daughters to participate in the event. Last year's event drew between 80 and 85 participants.

This year, as sophomore class president — he was freshmen class president last year — he played a large part in the Sherwood High School Homecoming Committee, the sophomore class-led group in charge of planning the massive fall event for about 600 students. It was work that began last summer and didn't end until the event.

"It's our only formal dance of the year," he points out. "We scheduled the dance, got all the props, set it up, got a DJ, sold the tickets."

This year's theme was "A Homecoming Out of This World," complete with black lights, glow-in-the-dark paint, and white tulle cloth to reflect the black lights.

What made the event a success, he says, was that the sophomore council committee was able to share ideas and not hold back if there was something they didn't think would work.

He estimates 60 to 70 hours of work went into the event, something that proved worth it in the end.

"It was awesome," he says, noting that the white tulle cloth eerily glowed just as the committee expected.

Justyn is one of three students who are part of the Sherwood School District's Bond Visioning Committee.

He believes the students' input is valued by the committee, praising Superintendent Heather Cordie for being a vibrant, positive leader who has led the process.

Justyn says some of the ideas he values for the new school are as simple as having quiet spaces where students can listen to music or do homework.

"I just hope it's a place where everyone feels welcome, where everyone's needs are met," he says.

And he's acutely aware that they are helping plan a school that could be around for the next 80 to 100 years.

"It's crazy to think about. You're making something so much bigger than yourself," he says.

Describing himself as a bona fide "science guy," he admits to a love of chemistry and what's possible in that particular study.

"I just think it's crazy, so many chemicals and so many different reactions," he says.

He's an equally big fan of biology, noting that he likes the study of living organisms, observing that "everything that goes on inside your body is insane."

His passion for science has already led him to a unique venture.

Both he and fellow sophomore Luke Baker are working at helping out with a major solar panel project at George Fox University headed up by R. Carlisle Chambers. The pair are helping to determine whether two specific compounds will improve the absorption of sunlight.

Ultimately, Justyn says the pair wants to enter the project in next year's Intel Science Fair. While optimistic that the two compounds will indeed improve the absorption of sunlight, even if that doesn't prove to be true, it will at least eliminate those two compounds.

"That's kind of training wheels for the next step in the project," he says.

Justyn said his spring break trip to Mexico was eye-opening.

"I would work from 9 to 12 at the orphanage in the city or (be at) the camp working on the electrical breakers and labeling," he said. "Then after lunch I would spend time with the kids, helping take them to different places like a trampoline park, beach, another camp, the park and buying them shoes."

He said he had few expectations going into the trip, only wanting "to see what God would throw at me."

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JAIME VALDEZ - Justyn Price recently spent a week in Mexico during spring break working at times in an orphanage.  Then after lunch I would spend time with the kids, helping take them to different places like a trampoline park, beach, another camp, the park, and buying them shoes, he said. "I learned how grateful I truly am for what I have, and that no matter what, I should just know that things could be worse for me," he said.

When not studying, Justyn is an active soccer player and currently is captain of the junior varsity team.

"I've grown up playing it," he says. "I love the game, and it's the greatest stress reliever I know."

Pulling a 4.0 grade-point average, Justyn says he can't explain how he does it with all his other responsibilities, only that it's a lot of work.

Not sure of his exact college plans yet, he would like to attend an out-of-state school possibly to study zoology or chemical engineering.

"I just know for sure I want to go into the science field," pointing out he's thinking big if his major turns out to be chemical engineering. "I think it would be really cool to be part of an organization like the CDC and work with chemicals to try and find a cure for diseases."

Not surprisingly, the No. 1 disease he'd like to cure is cancer.

Justyn says something he enjoys at the high school is being a member of the school's leadership class, something he enjoys immensely because "you're doing something for the school, not just for yourself," praising leadership teacher Aurora Roth as being "awesome."

Roth is sold on Justyn as well, saying Justyn is not only a very strong student but a gifted leader as well.

"What I appreciate the most about Justyn is that he is always looking for ways to improve our community and that he is an inspiration to all of our students!" Roth says. "Even our upperclassmen often look to Justyn for leadership. He has a bright future ahead of him here in Sherwood and beyond."

Justyn, along with the other Amazing Kids winners throughout the Portland-metro area, will be honored during a special recognition luncheon at OMSI on May 8. A special "Amazing Kids" magazine will be inserted in May 11 The Times newspaper, a weekly serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, featuring profiles on all of those selected.

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