Marshall’s Noon Optimist Club gathered on October 13 at Hutchins Hall at Cumberland Presbyterian Church to sample Domino’s Pizza with October Young Texans: Skylar Smith and Travis Bister. President Julie Brock asked Optimist Le Ila Dixon to lead the prayer, after which she led the commitment to the Flag and the Optimist Creed.
Julie welcomed our guests to the meeting and explained that a total of 18 young Texans will be selected this year, two per month. At the year-end Senior Awards meeting, three young women and three young men will be randomly selected to receive $ 500 scholarships, which they can use as they see fit.
Optimist Julie then introduced Travis Bister as the young Texan of October. Her favorite subjects are biology and chemistry, and her favorite teachers are Marshall High School Group Principal Mark Windham and Group Deputy Principal Christian Gullen. His GPA is 5.15 and he is the Drum Major for the Big Red Pride Marching Band. When the band is not working, he plays the tenor saxophone and is also very active in the Boy Scouts, where he is “one badge of merit” away from reaching the rank of Eagle Scout.
Travis is active in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where he is involved with the Knights of Columbus. The Squires is the KC youth group for boys, and Travis is their leader. One of his fond memories is of being locked in the KC room, where they enjoyed food, companionship and swimming at the end of summer.
His interests include the National Honor Society, video games, and music. He particularly enjoys working with children and for three summers he volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Pines. Travis is employed part time at Jucy’s Taco.
Due to his personal experience of the benefits of pediatric medicine, this field is central to his career goals. He plans to attend Rice University (University of Texas is the second option). With a degree in biochemistry under his belt, he then plans to continue his studies at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania to become a pediatric endocrinologist. When asked about his choice of Perelman, he attributes his interest to the school’s focus on pediatric medicine. In addition, he has “a host family” in the northeast and hopes to be able to visit them while he is at school.
To his parents, Tim and Jennifer Bister, he says, “Thank you for pushing me to do my best and for caring about my success, as well as for congratulating me when I am successful. “
Julie then gave the floor to Skylar Smith, the young Texan of the month. Skylar’s favorite subjects are “all science and agriculture,” and her favorite teachers are all from the agriculture department: Jessica Shadix, Luke Shadix, Lacee Franke, and Dellen Seals. (Luke teaches welding, which Skylar didn’t really follow, but Luke was nonetheless a great help to him and “showed him a lot”.)
Skylar’s GPA is 5.4 and his extracurricular activities include the Future Farmers of America, the National Honor Society, the University Interscholastic League, and the Interact Club. She loves showing off cattle and being part of FFA competition teams. She is president of the local chapter of the FFA and secretary of the district. She received her Texas FFA Lonestar Diploma (Certified Level 1 Veterinary Assistant), exhibited pigs at the Houston Livestock Show, and attended the Texas A&M Veterinary Enrichment Camp.
As a veterinary assistant at All Cypress Veterinary Hospital, she actively cares for animals large and small. Last year, they treated a pig whose hind legs were paralyzed. Although they were never able to determine the exact cause of the paralysis, thanks to their care, the pig improved and eventually regained its mobility. She noted that in addition to dogs and cats, they took care of birds and a turtle.
Skylar is already pre-admitted to Texas A&M University, where she will earn a degree in animal science and later become a certified veterinarian.
In a personal message to her parents, Doug and Rhonda Smith, she said, “Thank you for everything. You have been my biggest supporters and my rock through everything I have done. Without all of you, I’m not sure I could have overcome it all. I am so blessed that I can be called your daughter.
To our good news this week, Optimist Le Ila Dixon shares a story particularly relevant to the profession chosen by Skylar. It details a high school student from Minnesota passionate about disabled animals who made their mobility her mission. Two years ago, after studying YouTube tutorials followed by a trial and error process, 16-year-old Shaine Kilyun embarked on the business of making pet wheelchairs made in China. helping out animals in need.
More than just creature comforts, the mobility devices Kilyun makes in his spare time improve the lives of furs and even save animals that might otherwise be slaughtered.
“I love animals and wanted to make a difference in one way or another,” Kilyun told FOX9. she said. “I saved a few lives and I really hope to save more.”
Since launching Wheelies Dog and Cat Wheelchairs, which offers “low cost, handmade, personalized wheelchairs for specially disabled dogs, cats and pets,” Kilyun has only charged the cost of its materials. .
The savings are often substantial – $ 300 for one of his creations versus $ 1,000 for similar devices for large breed dogs from more traditional sources.
To date, the tireless teenager has developed nearly a dozen models of front support, full support and back support, depending on the animal’s particular needs and has designed mobility devices for everything. , from the tiny Ohio Chihuahua to the Great Dane. in Oregon.
In addition to dogs and cats, she has also developed a unique locomotion aid for a hedgehog. Next on his drawing board? A specially designed mobile duck.
As was her hope from the start, Kilyun broadened her scope to include shelter pets. She met one of her last clients, Scooter, a paraplegic puppy who came from Saudi Arabia to the United States through the Home For Life Animal Sanctuary, an organization that offers a chance at life for pets who might be considered not adoptable.
Lisa Leverdiere, who works with the association, notes that at times like these, when fundraising is difficult, Kilyun’s efforts are especially appreciated.