Jasmine Streeter fell in love with ponies when she lived in California. On a family trip to the fair, Jasmine, who wasn't even a year old, wouldn't get off a Shetland pony named Stormy, and her parents ended up paying for the ride five times.
"I just love animals," said Streeter, the 14-year-old daughter of retired Command Sgt. Maj. James Streeter and La Verne Proctor-Streeter.
When the Streeters moved to Grovetown in the early 1990s, it didn't take them long to find the Hill Top Stables at Fort Gordon. Jasmine soon was old enough to participate in the stable's after-school program, and she enrolled in the horseback riding camp.
Last year, the Streeters bought Jasmine her own horse, a spotted Tennessee Walker named Picasso. This summer Jasmine expanded her knowledge of veterinary medicine when she was chosen to attend a camp at Michigan State University.
"My mom was looking on the Internet for veterinarian camps and found this one in Michigan," said Streeter, who maintains an all-A average in school and has started taking karate lessons. Streeter learned in the spring of this year that she was the lone youngster from Georgia chosen to participate in the camp. Nearly 400 applications were submitted for the camp, which accepted 100 students.
Seventh-grade science teacher Sue Cottingham wrote a letter to the Georgia Science Teachers Association on behalf of Jasmine, asking the group to provide a scholarship to cover the camp cost and other fees. The association replied by awarding the Harlem High School freshman a $900 scholarship.
"Jasmine as a student is the one that everyone wants to get," said Cottingham, a teacher at Grovetown Middle School and Jasmine's former science teacher. "She's the one you want 100 of. She would help everybody in everything that needed to be done."
Cottingham soon learned that Jasmine loved animals. After Jasmine graduated from Cottingham's class, she offered to give the teen riding lessons at her property, where she has a barn and gives horseback-riding lessons.
"She asked me to help her search for Picasso," Cottingham said. "She has a love for animals beyond what I've seen in most students."
Jasmine Streeter loves riding her Tennessee Walking horse, Picasso. Jasmine intends to become a veterinarian.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Aside from riding, Jasmine volunteers at Cottingham's stables, helping younger riders learn the ropes. She also volunteers at Camp Tanglewood, a Girl Scout camp in Columbia County, and at the Augusta-Richmond County Animal Shelter.
Jasmine decided long ago that she wanted to be a veterinarian. When asked why, she was quick to answer.
"I've wanted to be a veterinarian ever since I was a little girl," she said. "I want to help animals in need and learn more."
Jasmine also is a member of the Daughters of Sarah at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Augusta, where she is being taught about Christianity, social development and community service.
Part of her role as a member of Daughters of Sarah includes delivering goodies to nursing homes and church members. She also participates in the church's youth choir, plays flute in Harlem High's marching band and takes piano lessons.
"Jasmine is probably one of the best students I've ever had," Cottingham said. "Her biggest problem (as a veterinarian) is going to be if she has to put an animal down. She absolutely loves animals, but in her heart of hearts she'll know it's the right thing to do."
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