Scarlett was her pet goat; Haley was 14.
“I was on a ‘Gone With the Wind’ thing then,” the blue-eyed blonde smiles.
“I always liked cats and dogs when I was growing up,” she explains. “But, in the eighth grade, I started showing goats.”
Haley is the 18-year-old daughter of Darren and Dana Scott. Darren is a ranch manager; Dana is the newly-hired principal of the middle school in Skidmore.
She lives with her parents in Mineral, with a younger sister and brother and three dogs, four barn cats, seven cows, a donkey and a goat herd.
Goats are her favorite.
“Scarlett got very sick,” she relates. “Giving her medicine meant a lot to me.”
Sadly, Scarlett had what Haley says—based on Internet research—goat polio.
“It was the first time I experienced failure. We had to put her down. It was terrible. But, people learn from failure.”
Failure is not often in her lexicon.
“Haley is a very determined young lady,” says Domingo Garcia, her agricultural science teacher for the last four years. She also has been a Future Farmers of America member since she entered high school, “and she won the Lone Star FFA Degree Award, which is the highest award in the state,” Garcia says.
Earlier this week, she was named class valedictorian.
“Haley is one of those students who is fun to teach because you can challenge her, and she will live up to the challenge,” says chemistry teacher Christie Munson, who Haley credits as one of her inspirations.
Haley hopes to enter Cornell’s veterinary school in her sophomore year, although she admits her chances are slim. “Getting into the school in your second year is rare.”
Earlier this year, she flew to Ithaca, New York, to visit Cornell. “It’s the finest veterinary school in the country,” she says.
After visiting the university late last year, she applied online. For one of two essays, she wrote about Scarlett.
Cornell said yes.
She is as excited about the prospect as her parents. “My mother doesn’t like animals that much,” she says. “It’s my dad who has fueled my passion.”
As an active member of the Friendship Baptist Church, she hopes to visit the Middle East on a mission trip to help farmers and ranchers there better raise their goats.
“I want to go where I am needed,” she says, wondering what the political and religious temper will be in the Middle East eight years from now.
Once she earns her degree in six or seven years, she hopes to open her own practice, but she’s not certain where. “There is a national shortage of large-animal vets,” she says, “but I want to work with small animals, too.”
“I think she will have a little bit of a surprise, going from small-town Skidmore up to Cornell,” Christie predicts. “But she will very quickly rise to the expectations.”
“I knew what to expect when I went up there because of the research I had done on the Internet,” Haley says. “But there’s a big difference between looking at pictures and being there.”
The winters, for instance.
“I’m already stocking up on winter clothes.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.