BARNESVILLE - Kerri Rogers knew early on what she wanted to do with her life and worked hard enough to skip a grade and graduate from Olney Friends School at age 17 in hopes of getting a head start on her journey to become a veterinarian.
Rogers moved to the Ohio Valley in 2006 from Alabama and attended Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy until it closed in 2008. For one year she attended area public schools until her mother got a job with Olney Friends School and mentioned her daughter to the faculty. She ended up skipping eighth grade altogether and starting her high school education a year early.
"Coming to Olney helped me to develop my study skills," Rogers said. "Living in the dorms with other people taught me to balance my time really well."
Kerri Rogers, 17, graduated from Olney Friends School in Barnesville this year. She plans to attend Ohio State University for ecological engineering in the fall.
Photo by Daniel Dorsch
From a young age Rogers said she dreamed of going into veterinary science and Olney Friends School allowed her to expand her field of study by introducing her to the Eastern Hellbender, an endangered species of large salamander indigenous to the Ohio Valley. Rogers has volunteered for three years at the Oglebay Good Zoo and worked with Gregory Lipps, a professional wildlife consultant and former Toledo Zoo zookeeper.
"I learned that I really want to study zoological medicine after college," Roger said. "When I learned how hard it is to get into those competitive schools, I taught myself to really bear down. I've always been kind of a hard worker. I get that from my mother."
Rogers plans to attend Ohio State University in the fall to pursue a degree in ecological engineering which she hopes to follow up with veterinary school. She said the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is an option for this but she also is looking at the University of Tennessee because of that school's exotic pet program.
"What I want to end up doing is be a veterinarian for a large zoo," Rogers said. "I eventually would like to travel and use my degree to help animals in South America or even Africa."
Besides working to conserve animals themselves, Rogers said she would like to educate others about endangered species and how to conserve them.
"I would really like to incorporate public education in conservation," Rogers said. "I found I really enjoy teaching kids about why we should conserve animals, and the planet in general."
Some of Rogers' last academic quarter at Olney Friends School was spent working with the school's herd of goats on the Farm Team, where she helped deliver her first kid and learned how to deworm and vaccinate the animals.
She viewed it as a rewarding training experience.
"Overall, Olney has really sparked a passion for conservation," Rogers said.