(Media release from Rome City Schools):

A dream becoming reality, Rome Middle School seventh grader, Kaylee Harper, has been selected as one of three participants in the United States to win a scholarship to attend Auburn University’s sixth annual junior veterinarian summer camp.

The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine partners with the Auburn University Office of Professional and Continuing Education to offer Vet Camps each summer to youth interested in the veterinary medicine profession.

“Become a Veterinarian” camp, offers hands-on learning to sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students. Campers are given the opportunity to learn about veterinary medicine first-hand in classrooms, laboratories, and outdoor facilities that include Auburn’s raptor, equine, dairy, beef, and swine units. In addition, campers dive into topics like public health, food animals, wildlife, anatomy, imaging, and first aid.

Harper said that it was her experience caring for the animals on her family’s farm that inspired her to pursue veterinary medicine.

“Ever since being a little girl I have dreamed of becoming a veterinarian,” Harper said. “This will allow me to have hands-on experience that I can bring back to my own home where we have a farm with large animals. I am also excited to learn about x-rays and first aid. Maybe Ms. Hamby will let me bring back some of the things I will learn to the AG room!”

Harper is also the upcoming FFA (Future Farmers of America) President at RMS.

Ashley Hamby, FFA advisor and agriculture teacher, said that Harper’s passion was evident to her from day one.

“Ever since Kaylee walked into the AG room I could see the love and passion she has for Agriculture,” she said. “I am so excited that Kaylee will get to experience this program first hand! She always puts in 110% in whatever she is working on whether it’s a classroom assignment about Wildlife Habitats to getting ready for our FFA competitions.”

Hamby continued, “Hands-on experience can make all the difference in showing the joy of the veterinary profession and preserving that early spark of interest.”

“Kaylee is compassionate, kind and hardworking, so it is no surprise to me that she would aspire to go into a field that demands those qualities,” RMS Principal Parke Wilkinson said. “I am thrilled that Rome Middle and Rome High are able to offer a path of study that allows Kaylee to explore her love of animals, and Vet Camp is an amazing program for her to gain hands-on experience in applying those concepts that she has mastered at Rome Middle School.”

Harper will also get a glimpse into campus-life as she will reside in Auburn’s resident dormitories for the duration of the camp.

The 2022 Junior Vet Camp scholarship contest was offered nationwide. The other winners are from Texas and Maryland. The camp will take place June 26-July 1, 2022.

“We take pride in cultivating students’ interests and allowing them to explore those interests early on to help them begin to plan for a rewarding future in whatever field they choose,” Wilkinson said. “There is nothing more gratifying for me or our teachers than to see students excel, and Kaylee is a prime example of that!”