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Columbus Scioto Straight-A Student Receives Community Award

December 28, 2020 -- When you ask Columbus Scioto High School Senior Cierra Cowan to share something about herself, the first thing she will tell you about will be her grades. “I’m a straight-A student, and I work two jobs,” said Cowan. That’s part of the reason Cierra Cowan was awarded the 2020 Huckleberry House Youth Award.

The secretary at Columbus Scioto High School, Brenda Jackson, nominated Cierra for the award. 

“It was love at first sight when I met Cierra six years ago,” said Jackson. “As a middle school student, Cierra reached out to the front office to ask about her education plan and was asking a lot of questions. I mean a lot of questions. I thought I was talking to the student’s parent.”

That first meeting was all it took to cement this relationship that has preserved and blossomed. 

“There was just some connection I can’t explain,” said Jackson. 

“I feel the same way,” said Cierra. “She (Brenda Jackson) was so kind and supportive.”

“That’s why I nominated Cierra for this award,” said Jackson. “This young lady has overcome so much. I am so proud of her.” 

The Huckleberry House Youth Awards recognize and celebrate young people who have dealt with some of the most challenging problems imaginable. Huckleberry House in Columbus is a community resource that provides a safe haven for children and young adults.

“I struggle with depression and anxiety,” said Cowan, whose birth mother died from cancer when Cierra was a newborn. Cierra was adopted but left that home when she was 13 years old. “I used to be suicidal but never self-harmed, and I’ve been in and out of group homes and foster care for the last five years.”

Cowan says that she is a much different person today than she was several years ago. 

“I credit the people like Mrs. Jackson and others who have supported and counseled me,” said Cowan. 

“I was there to help Cierra redirect her anger and focus on the solutions,” said Jackson, a mother of four adult children. “We have met many times over the years to talk and focus on the positives. I have seen Cierra’s attitude mature, and I couldn’t be more proud of the young woman she has become.”

Brenda Jackson was with Cierra Cowan when she received the Huckleberry House Youth Award this past Fall. Practicing safety protocols, there was a dinner and awards ceremony at the Boat House Restaurant at Confluence Park in Columbus. 

“The best parts were hearing them call out my name for the award and the food,” said Cowan. “It made me feel so good. They served a salad first, followed by chicken tenders with honey mustard, cauliflower, and cookies for dessert. I felt so special.”

At 18 years of age, Cierra Cowan is focused and determined to graduate this spring and plan her future in the workforce, college, or both. While her past may have shaped her, Cierra says that it does not define her. 

“Right now, I am a better person than I was,” said Cowan. “I am focused on the positives, my achievements, and all I plan to achieve in the future.”