By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — SALEM — Salem Animal Rescue league will honor one of its longtime volunteers and staunchest supported with a scholarship fund.
Valorie Hayes, who served on SARL’s board of directors and led its marketing and public relations department. She left the organization early this year.
The current Board of Directors decided to honor her contributions with the creation of The Hayes Scholarship, according to D.J. Bettencourt, SARL’s development and community relations director.
“We’ve been discussing it for quite some time,” he said, “and felt with the beginning of the school year, it was an appropriate time to move forward.”
The annual $500 scholarship will be awarded to a high school student who will pursue a career in animal science.
Funding for the first scholarship award will be solicited from, donors, Bettencourt said, but thereafter, specific fundraisers would be held to maintain the fund.
“In future years, we will have a community event and the proceeds will be dedicated to the scholarship. It would be a children’s event,” he said. “It’s like most other things, if you can teach someone good behavior from a young age, it increases the likelihood they will be good adult pet owners.”
He said the application process would be “comprehensive,” including an essay, and scholarship based. SARL directors will choose a recipient.
“Attaining a college level education is critically important for students and we are excited to offer some assistance to those who are pursuing a career caring for the physical welfare of animals,” board president Martha Adamovich said.
Eligible students do not have to be considering a career in veterinary medicine, Bettencourt said, but in any number of animal science fields, including veterinary technicians, testing animal medication and more.
SARL has a number of teenage volunteers, many of whom come to the shelter to get hands-on experience in a field they may be considering as a career path, he said.
“SARL feels these scholarships are an investment in a future generation of veterinary health professionals,” Bettencourt said. “While the cost of higher education is significant, we hope this scholarship serves as incentive to young veterinary hopefuls. Given Valorie’s commitment to education and the medical care of homeless animals, it is entirely appropriate that we name to these scholarships and we are grateful that she has accepted this honor.”
Interested students Rockingham County and Merrimack Valley high schools can apply online, sarlnh.org, or get an application at their school. The application deadline is April 11, 2014.
Anyone interested in donating to the scholarship fund can contact Bettencourt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 893-3210, Ext. 202.