Have a Heart Humane Society congratulates the 2020 graduating class of Tehachapi High School and is very proud of the efforts of this group of persevering students in the face of unprecedented adversity and a school year that ended like no other senior year has finished up in educational history so far.

As an organization, Have a Heart presents two scholarships yearly to graduating seniors to honor our founder, Chelley Kitzmiller, who spent her life helping animals live a better life, and whose love of writing enriched the lives of those who read her books. Our scholarships each required an essay on a specific aspect of the human/animal relationship, one dealing with the welfare and knowledge of pet ownership and animal welfare, and the other dealing with a creative writing effort involving the relationships that develop between humans and animals.

In recent years, our organization has added a volunteer aspect to our scholarship requirements, in which applicants join us in the everyday efforts of how our group runs; the rescue, foster, fundraising and animal care work. We know that seniors lead busy lives and it is our hope that actually getting involved in this type of effort will help keep them involved in giving back to our furry friends throughout their futures as adults. We really enjoy getting to know these young people face to face, as well as reading their words on paper.

The winner of the Chelley Kitzmiller Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship is Christine Marie Dieken. Dieken is in the top 10 in her class for academic excellence, and is a busy athlete both playing and coaching volleyball. She is pursuing a kinesiology major at California State University Northridge, to become a physical therapist. She has worked with dogs, cats and horses for years, and we really enjoyed getting to know Dieken during her hours volunteering at Rescued Treasures. 

The winner of our Have A Heart Humane Society Animal Welfare and Kindness Scholarship is Rachel Miller. Miller has been involved with animals her whole life, through 4H, and has stayed busy in her various activities through her church. As a member of the top 10 in her senior class, Miller has been a soccer athlete, involved in many activities and has volunteered at the hospital, as well as at Have A Heart. Her essay demonstrated her knowledge of what animals need for a good life. Miller is headed to study nursing at Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho. 

We hope that our scholarships will help these two outstanding students reach their goals in life, and we are so glad we got to know them. Good luck, Warriors!

Ann Carroll is a board member of Have a Heart.

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