Featured Item Metabox
I found I constantly needed a way for clients to mark a post as something they wanted to feature and I’ve never found sticky posts particularly inuitive and the UI is pretty hidden for new users. The simplest solution was a checkbox in prominently located metabox.
Please note that this plugin, by itself, will not change how your posts are displayed. It just gives the UI to users and a meta key to theme developers to query for.