Sierra Clark may not be of royal ancestry, yet she was recently crowned Homecoming Queen at her local high school. The ceremony, traditionally held during halftime of the Friday night football game, was moved up before sundown so Sierra could honor her Sabbath—an act far more important to her than any contest.

A senior at Blue Valley High School in Olsburg, Kansas, Sierra is the daughter of John Clark, ranger at Broken Arrow Ranch (BAR), the conference’s youth camp. Sierra grew up at BAR and attended the Blue Valley school system all 12 grades.

Active and popular at school, Sierra has been a member of the volleyball and track teams, played in the band, served on the yearbook staff and participated in scholars’ bowl. She was also voted senior class president.

Sierra has a humble nature and would never brag about her 4.0 GPA. Her father said, “Sierra doesn’t just get A’s; she gets A-pluses. I am very proud of her.”

Her crowning almost didn’t happen, even before the voting among the final three candidates. Sierra was called to the principal’s office and reminded that the ceremony was on Friday night. Aware of Sierra’s Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, the principal said she wouldn’t be eligible due to not being present during halftime. Sierra was disappointed, but she assured the principal her faith meant more to her than being queen.

“I just figured it wasn’t that big of a deal,” Sierra later told interviewers. “Obviously, keeping the Sabbath is more important. It was no contest as to what my decision would be.”

An hour later, however, her disappointment turned to joy after two teachers convinced the principal that the ceremony could be moved. “It’s always a distraction during halftime for the star players,” stated one of the teachers.

Sierra still wasn’t sure who would be named queen, but she had her hands ready to clap for the winner. When her name was called she felt overwhelmed. “I was very honored. Knowing they moved the ceremony for me was really rewarding.”

As for future educational plans, Sierra is still deciding among Union College, Southern Adventist University (older sister Savannah is there) or Kansas State University. One thing, though, is certain—being true to her convictions will always be the norm in Sierra’s life.

News writer John Treolo is communication director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.