Each year, GDB awards scholarships to puppy raisers in their senior year of high school. This year, we are pleased to award four scholarships totaling $5,000. Congratulations to Mallary Paoli, Abby Rose Christensen, Jon Bottom and Cristen Phillipsen.
Mallary Paoli ($2,000 Recipient)
Mallary Paoli from Elko County, Nevada has been raising Guide Dog puppies since 2000 and is currently raising her eighth puppy, Montessa. In 2007, Mallary did an internship in the Training Department at our Oregon campus. This spring, Mallary was awarded the Prudential Certificate of Excellence Award and the President’s Call to Service Award for her volunteer work with Guide Dogs for the Blind. She’s been giving presentations about GDB since 2003 at such places as elementary schools, preschools, Lion's Club, Rotary Club, Soroptimists International, and the Elko County Reads event. Each year Mallary takes her puppy to the Beeping Easter Egg Hunt for blind and visually impaired children. She is a nine-year member of the Adobe Summit 4-H Club and was a member of the Ruby Mountain FFA Chapter for four years. Mallary won many awards, including a Silver Emblem in Poultry Judging, her Nevada State Degree and a Gold Proficiency Award in Small Animal Production and Care for her Guide Dog project. Mallary is also a member of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and competed in the Veterinary Assisting event. This year, she placed second at the state competition and was in the top ten finalists at the 2009 National HOSA Convention.
Mallary was homeschooled in high school and graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Independent Study High School in June. In May (before she graduated from high school!), Mallary graduated from Great Basin College with an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science degree. She will be attending Oregon State University in the fall, and has been accepted into the University Honors College. She is going to major in Animal Science with an emphasis in Animal Behavior and Bioethics. Mallary hopes to one day be a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor in Oregon.
Abby Rose Christensen ($1,000 Recipient)
Abby joined a puppy raising club in King County, Wash., to become a part of Guide Dogs for the Blind, yet over the years, she says Guide Dogs became a significant part of her. Eight years and four puppies later, she has graduated two dogs as working guides and one is a pediatric therapy dog. As a member of 4-H GDB Youth Group, she held leadership positions and won many awards competing in the King County Fair, including Grand Champion in Fit and Show with her first dog, Josanne. As a high school freshman, Abby took her second pup-in-training, Prescott, to the Capitol building in Olympia, WA for the YMCA Youth and Government Legislature program and successfully passed a bill into Youth Law that would allow puppies in training into all public establishments. Three years later, Abby was peer elected as the Washington State Youth Lieutenant Governor, leading the Senate for one term. Over the past 14 years she has studied to become an accomplished dancer in ballet and hula while performing many lead ballet roles including Wendy in Peter Pan, Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. She also teaches Sunday school for her church and works in summer youth programs as a camp counselor.
In the fall, Abby will be attending the University Of Washington Honors Program to study Biomedical Engineering in hopes of ministering to others with the creation of artificial tissue and vital organs. Abby is grateful to Guide Dogs for the Blind for trusting her with the privilege of raising puppies. In all that she hopes to do in life, she says that she will always think of herself as a puppy raiser.
Jon Bottom ($1,000 Recipient)
As a 7-year member of Stanislaus County (California) Guide Dog Puppy Club, Jon raised six puppies. Presently, three are working guides and one is a breeder. Over the years Jon solicited thousands of dollars in donations from local businesses for his club. In addition, he mentored several young puppy raisers, including his sister, and puppy-sat many dogs. Jon has also helped to raise public awareness of Guide Dogs for the Blind. In 2005 he developed an expository speech using “Ford,” his Guide Dog Puppy, as his assistant. Ultimately they placed as National Semi-Finalists in the NCFCA (National Christian Forensics and Communication Association). To this Jon added team policy debate and extemporaneous speaking where he has qualified to compete at the NCFCA National Tournament for the last four years. In 2008 he earned national open standing as a 1st Place Speaker and 2nd Place Team in Policy Debate. For the past two summers Jon has helped aspiring debaters as Team Leader at Santa Clara University’s Debate Camp.
While raising puppies, Jon was also involved in Boy Scouts of America Troop 76. In January 2004, Jon and his first two Guide Dog puppies were featured in Boys Life, the national magazine of Boy Scouts of America. In 2007-2008 as Senior Patrol Leader, Jon organized and led weekly meetings, monthly outings and his troop’s three-week summer wilderness camp for 30 scouts and staff. Jon earned his Eagle Scout Rank in April 2008. Active in his community (projects served the Red Cross, Lion’s Club, Friends of the Tuolumne River and numerous churches), Jon currently volunteers as an Explorer Scout for the Modesto Police Department.
At UC Berkeley, where he plans to obtain a B.S. in business, Jon hopes to compete for Cal Debate.
Cristen Phillipsen ($1,000 Recipient)
Cristen has raised four puppies with her family in El Dorado County, Calif., three of which became working guides. She continues to puppy-sit and is excited that her younger sister will soon begin her puppy raising experience. In addition to being active with GDB, Cristen has been in 4-H for ten years. She has held five offices and been teen leader for the photography, sewing, and arts and crafts projects. Additionally, Cristen has been a dancer since she was five years old, and has performed ballet and Polynesian dance at senior centers and charity events. In high school, Cristen participated in many clubs. She was president of I Support American Women (ISAW); treasurer of the French Club; a member of Key Club, California Scholarship Federation, and Prospectors for Peace (a student-run People-to-People club). She won the faculty award from her high school mathematics department. At the University of California, Davis, Cristen will be expanding her education by majoring in mathematics.