4th Quarter, 2007
Medical Professions Scholarship Winner
“I came to the United States when I was 10 years old. I was born and raised in France and could not speak any English when we moved to California. However, I have overcome this language barrier. I plan to go to the University of California in Davis to become a Veterinarian. My free time is spent volunteering with the Placer S.P.C.A (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as well as the Northern California Beagle Rescue. I also have 2 part-time jobs. My first job consists of cleaning manure, feeding, and taking care of horses. I also work at Greyhound Friends for Life (Greyhound Rescue).
I am a Junior at Del Oro High School in Loomis, California. My curriculum consists of difficult classes as well as AP and Honors courses (focusing in math and science). I am going into the medical field because I want to help others, especially animals. After seeing the abuse and neglect that many animals go through, my goal to become a veterinarian only became stronger. StraightForward Media is bringing me a step closer to achieving that goal. I am so grateful for that opportunity. “
A Portion of Margaux’s Winning Essay:
When I think of the question, which profession makes a difference and helps others? The first that comes to mind is a medical profession. This is why going into a medical career is so important to me. My goal in life is to improve the lives of people and animals, I want to have a positive impact on the world and that is why I love to volunteer. I volunteer with the Placer Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Northern California Beagle Rescue, both are non-profit organizations. I have been a volunteer with the Placer S.P.C.A for 2 years, last year I volunteered over 250 hours. I absolutely love volunteering with these organizations, it is incredibly rewarding and it helps so many animals. At the Placer S.P.C.A., I walk, socialize and train dogs on the Agility Course as well as using Basic Training.
One of the biggest dangers to dogs in kennels is shelter stress. If the animals are in stressful shelter conditions and are not properly socialized, they become susceptible to shelter stress and they usually end up getting euthanized. Because of the volunteers available and the time they spend at the shelter, the Placer S.P.C.A. does not put down adoptable animals. I enjoy walking and socializing dogs because it is such simple thing to do, yet it makes such a great difference. I also teach the dogs’ Basic Training such as sit, down, walking on a leash and not jumping up. Dogs with Basic Training get adopted faster and are less likely to be returned to our shelter because of unruly behavior.
In addition, I am an Agility Course Volunteer. I train dogs on the Agility (Obstacle) course and help some newer volunteers with the course. Agility is a wonderful activity because it is a way for the dogs to spend their energy in a productive way, build up confidence, and increase their adoption potential. I have seen the Agility Course work miracles with animals, so many dogs that I train are completely different after couple of days of Agility Training. The dogs enjoy it so much and it is a lot of fun for the volunteers.
I am also the first and only Junior Volunteer (volunteer under 18) on the Petmobile team. The Petmobile is a community outreach program at the Placer S.P.C.A. where volunteers take animals out to different locations to try to get them adopted and to educate the public. At first, the Petmobile Team and Coordinator were not sure whether it would be acceptable to have a 14 year old volunteer on the team; nevertheless, they let me take the Petmobile class and become a Petmobile volunteer.
I am 16 now and still involved with this program. One of the reasons why I love the Petmobile so much is that I not only get to be with animals but I also get to interact with the public. I am able to help and educate people, to talk to them about animal welfare, spaying/neutering, adoption, and volunteering. Many of them have questions about our various programs and proper animal care, and I am always glad to answer them. I get so much satisfaction from knowing that I have helped people and their animals.
Other volunteer opportunities that I participate in at the Placer S.P.C.A. consist of volunteering at special events, booths, and parades. The Petmobile also gets invited by the community to parades and it is always a great opportunity to show off our adoptable animals. At special events, volunteers are always needed; I have helped with fundraising, dog painting booths, and even standing on a street corner as a “Placer S.P.C.A. Sign Shaker”.
I also attend Volunteer and Petmobile Volunteer Meetings. These meetings give volunteers the opportunity to improve our shelter, programs and community as well as making important decisions. I have been attending these meetings for 2 years. By doing this, I have a say in how we handle issues in our community and shelter. These meetings help coordinate all of our efforts to help the ones without a voice, animals.
Another non-profit organization that I am involved with is the Northern California Beagle Rescue; I have a beagle of my own, so this breed is close to my heart. I have been a volunteer and foster home for this wonderful rescue group for a year and I love it. A couple Saturdays a month, I go to the Petsmart Pet store to try to get beagles adopted, as well as to educate the public about our rescue.
As a foster home, I provide a temporary home for beagles until they get adopted. Foster homes are an important part of our organization since they usually determine the number of beagles we can take in. We can only save a certain amount of beagles from euthanasia; it all depends on the amount of foster homes available since we do not have an actual shelter. The Northern California Beagle Rescue receives beagles through owner surrenders, research companies, and overcrowded shelters.
I also like to contribute to my community in other ways. Laws greatly affect the State of California, and by being active with legislation, I am making my voice heard. I contact my legislators about important bills and collect letters from the public to send to district and capitol offices.
I am mostly active with legislation that involves animals, for example A.B.1634, the California Healthy Pets Act and S.B.1578, the California Anti-Tethering bill, which passed last year. I spent most of this summer working on A.B.1634. I called Senators and Assembly Members and sent them letters every day to show my support. In fact, the overwhelming support contributed to many of the positive votes from Assembly members. The California Healthy Pets Act was pulled from the Senate to be amended and voted on during spring 2008. I also worked with the Central San Diego Regional Coordinator for A.B.1634 and Founder North Star Pet Assistance.
In addition, I am an A.S.P.C.A. Community and Humane Teen Community member. As an A.S.P.C.A. Community member, I offer advice to other animal owners who reach out for help. I also save over 40 sq. feet of rainforest each day by visiting EcologyFund.com. Saving rainforest and preventing global warming will ensure that the rainforest’s diverse species survive, and that wildlife will not be destroyed. I also try to volunteer with local shelters when I am on vacation. I have helped the Mendocino Humane Society by walking dogs for a couple of hours. It is not much, but I believe even a little bit of time helps.
I have raised awareness about animal welfare by participating in the Del Oro High School Day of Silence. Students do not talk for a day to show their support and opinion about issues in our society. I made a sticker that said “silence to stop animal cruelty”; I did not speak for 2 days and many people were interested in hearing about animal welfare.
Aside from helping homeless animals, I also like to be active in school. I have volunteered for the Del Oro Drama Department. I have worked as a Theater House Manager, Usher, and selling food to raise money for the department. I was one of the top artistic students at Del Oro High School chosen by the Leadership Class to design and paint the homecoming banner 3 years in a row. I have designed and painted the banner my freshmen, and sophomore and junior year. I have also helped in our community by painting the Blue Goose, an old building in our town.
As a former member of the Del Oro Art Club and former Vice President of the Del Oro Earth Club, I have seen many school clubs make a difference in their community, so I decided to start my own. I am the Founder and President of the Del Oro Animal Welfare Club. The Del Oro Animal Welfare Club has yet to have a meeting, I have been working on creating it for the past few months and I am in the finishing process. Our club has an advisor and there are many students who are waiting to attend the first meeting. Our goal is to create fundraisers, to raise awareness of animal related issues, and to contribute to improving animal welfare. Our purpose is to create a more humane environment for animals in the Del Oro High School surrounding communities. I have many goals for this club and I will ensure that it is involved and active in the community. I am already planning out fundraisers where our club will donate the money to needy organizations.
Being a vegetarian is another accomplishment that is very important to me. I have been a strict vegetarian for 2 years now and I believe that it shows compassion and dedication to an issue I feel passionate about. Becoming a vegetarian was quite an obstacle, my entire family eats meat. I also had never met a vegetarian; where I live, it is not a popular lifestyle.
Aside from volunteering, I work 6-7 days a week. I have 2 jobs; both of them consist in working with companion animals. I do not earn much money, but I put every cent in a college savings account. I started my first job at 15 years old and my second at 16 years old.
At my first job, I work for the Nolan Family ranch. I feed, exercise, and take care of their horses and goats; I also water trees, clean manure, and help with any outside tasks.
At my second job, I work for the non-profit rescue: Greyhound Friends for Life. Greyhound Friends for Life does not pay us; we are paid by a generous person, who then donates our services to them. This job consists of letting the dogs out in runs to exercise, socializing, feeding, giving medication, washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning the shelter/kennels, and making sure that the dogs are healthy and doing well. Greyhounds are sweet, loving dogs; like many other animals they are taken advantage of and are constantly raced. If they cannot race or have been injured they are deemed useless and are put down or given to rescues and shelters. I am so glad to be able to help these wonderful animals, there are so many out there that need help. I wish I had more time so I could help them all.
I have had many challenges in life and they have helped me realize that I need to help others going through difficult times. One of the most significant hardships was moving to the United States. My father was from California and my mother was from France; she had met my father through an exchange program.
Once they were married, my parents moved to France, my mother gave birth to me, and my father started working as an Overseas Sales Manager at a Printing Book Manufacturer company. This type of work required him to travel all over Europe; therefore, he would be gone for months at a time. It was lonely for my mother, my sister and I and we often missed him. Then the day came where my diabetic grandfather, who lived in the United States, became very ill. My parents decided to move back so that my father could be with him for the last years of his life.
I was 9 years old when my parents told me that we were moving to the United States. I was born in France and I had lived there for most of my life, it was a shock for my sister and me that we were moving to a strange country. My parents knew that this was not going to be an easy transition for us, but we had yet to realize this.
Indeed, I came to California without speaking a word of English. We moved into Section 8 housing apartments in Lincoln, California. The first week of school, my mother stayed in the classroom with me because I could not understand what my teacher and fellow students were saying; she spoke English, so I greatly appreciated her presence. The culture also took time getting used to and with these barriers, it was hard to have a social life. Little by little and with great difficulty, I learned to speak, write, and read. I worked very hard in school and earned a 4.0 GPA.
Then something even worse and unthinkable happened, my mother filed for divorce. From then on, everything went downhill. My parents were separated, yet still lived in the same house; they fought every single day. They lived together for a year, causing many arguments, and I became ill with depression. I went from earning straight A’s to earning straight F’s. I felt guilty and somewhat responsible for our living situation and I lived every day in pain. My family had been very close and it was difficult to cope with such a dramatic change. I did not enjoy school anymore, I had no friends and my parents were very disappointed with me.
After a couple of years, I began to feel better about my life and the world around. I have not forgotten how it feels to be in the situation I was in and that is why I want to go into the medical field, to make a difference in the lives of others.
My purpose in life is to help as many animals and people as I can. I plan to become a Veterinarian by going to the University of California in Davis, I have a current 4.0 GPA (3.875 Cummulative), I was accepted into the California Scholarship Federation because of my grades and I am on the Del Oro Academic Wall of Fame because of citizenship and grades. I take A.P. and Honors and Sierra College math, chemistry and science classes; I am also in the top 8% of my class (over 400 students). Education is important to me and I know that by earning these grades I will be able to attend a great college. If I do get enough money for college and become a Veterinarian, I will volunteer my services to shelters, rescues, and disaster relief.
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