Thank you, it is an honor to serve on the youth of the year sub-committee. I'd like to begin by recognizing those who joined me in selecting the 2011 winner:
AHA youth members are anything but average! The Youth of the Year award honors one outstanding youth member annually. The Youth of the Year is selected for his or her achievements and contributions to the Arabian horse industry, AHA and his or her community. Our past winners have been outstanding ambassadors for the breed and have gone on to represent us exceptionally well.
Each year, our committee is privileged to review these applications, learn about some of our brightest youth members and interview our final three candidates. Each of the three finalists presented their own strengths, passions and insights. We continue to be amazed each year at the quality of youth members that are a part of this organization.
Region 3 has good reason to be proud of their active youth members, and in particular a young lady names Alexandra Knode. Alex is a very attentive, skilled and sensitive musician who is a member of her school's concert band and jazz combo. She is active in Key club and assists with fundraisers and charity events. She was captain of the junior varsity soccer team, is an active Girl Scout member and helps teach Sunday school. She comes from a family of Arabian horse enthusiasts and we congratulate Alexandra Knode as Second Runner-up for Youth of the year.
Region 9 was well represented this year by a bright and charismatic young lady, Taylor Kraft. While admitting that the privilege of just riding an Arabian horse is an honor in itself, Taylor has been fortunate in the show ring as well. Taylor volunteers as a camp counselor for her barn's summer riding program, as well as volunteers at her local Equine Animal Hospital. Taylor is very passionate and serves as an advocate for an organization called Invisible Children. Invisible Children is a movement that is dedicated to end Africa's longest running war and engages in the rescue of the child soldiers that are forced into military forces. Over the past five years, her school has worked to build an entire school in Northern Uganda, providing living arrangements for these students. Taylor is a member of the National Honor Society and this past June Graduated High School with honors, magna cum laude. She was presented with the 'Most outstanding achievement in veterinary medicine applications' award. We congratulate Taylor Kraft, the 2011 first runner up for youth of the year and award her a $500 scholarship sponsored by Bill and Corky Fairchild and All things Equine.
With so many bright futures placed before us, it was certainly difficult to choose. This year, one candidate distinguished herself, however, with her outgoing personality, tenacity, her unending quest for personal excellence, her unwavering dedication to the Arabian horse, and excellence in every aspect of her life. It is now my distinct honor to describe to you an outstanding youth from Region 1.
Intelligence, motivation and integrity are the foundation of this young woman's approach to schoolwork. She recently scored perfect 5's on all of her ap tests. This places her in a very elite group of STUDENTS; in fact this places her in the top 10% of all students in the United States. She is a member of the national honor society, science national honor society, history national honors society and California scholarship federation. With all of her dedication to her studies, she also finds the time to be co-captain of the equestrian team, senior editor of the school literary magazine, a member of Teen Court (in which students are jurors for first-time offending petty criminals under the age of 18), officer of the Girl's Service Club and co-president of Young Democrats.
This enduring young woman spends much of her free time volunteering. She writes for a local horseman's dispatch and volunteers at an animal rescue called the Peter Zippi Fund for Animals. She also is founder and director of HOPE, a program that collects discarded school supplies and clothing from middle and high schools in her district. The supplies are then recycled for use and have been sent to Africa, Haiti, Long Beach Unified School District, Schools on Wheels, and the rainbow shelter.
Our Youth of the year has been an important part of the Arabian horse youth association serving as the region 1 youth director and currently serves as the AHYA Vice President. As a part of the AHYA Board, she worked tirelessly to get sport horse under saddle classes added to this year's youth national show. These classes were so successful in their first year; the purebred division required elimination rounds! And if her work to get the classes in the show, and the entrants in the classes weren't enough, she won both of the classes unanimously! In addition, this year she wrote a resolution to amend the hunter seat equitation rules to include switching horses as a possible test at the national level and saw through passing this resolution at the AHYA youth convention in July so that it could be placed before you here as Resolution 12-11.
Her credentials, pursuit of excellence, personality, and support for the Arabian horse, are just the attributes that we, as Arabian horse Association members want to represent us as our Youth of the Year. We would like to present her with the youth of the year perpetual trophy as well as a $1000 scholarship from the Arabian Horse Youth Association.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present, from rolling hills estates, California, your 2011 youth of the year, Miss Haley Harrington.