Not a day goes by that Morrisville State College equine student Katrina McAllister doesn't think about her best friend, Laura Janson. She remembers most her driving spirit and how much she loved animals. The promising Morrisville State College student, who naturally connected with everyone, was a role model to McAllister who was four years younger and boarded her horse at the Janson home in North Chittenango.
Janson, an MSC equine science and management student was killed in a car accident on Swamp Road in Morrisville in 2006. She was 18. Her spirit is still alive on the Morrisville State College campus through the Laura Janson Scholarship, an annual award which honors her legacy. Its presentation took on significant meaning this year.
McAllister, of Manlius, presented this year's award to fellow equine student, Rebecca Brunecz, of Sugar Grove, Pa.
From left, Morrisville State College student Rebecca Brunecz, an
equine science bachelor degree major, receives the
Laura Janson Scholarship from fellow equine student,
Katrina McAllister, an equine science and management major.
"I was honored when Kat presented me with the scholarship, Brunecz said. "It was nice to be in touch with someone who knew Laura and to find out a little more about her. I am very saddened by the reason for the scholarship, but very thankful to have been chosen as a recipient to represent Laura and all that she did."
The scholarship, given by the Morrisville College Foundation, is presented to a student in an animal-science related field who excels academically and emulates Janson's passion for working with animals.
"The amazing thing about Laura was the connection she had with animals; especially the horses, McAllister said of the friend she remembers with the contagious smile. "Becca has a natural ability like Laura did in riding horses; and she always has a smile on her face."
Brunecz is a second-year student in the college's equine science bachelor degree program. A member of the college's western riding team, she also volunteers at Double Rainbow Farms, a therapeutic riding facility in Russell, Pa.
Brunecz, whose plans to move west and become a manager and trainer at a reining or western pleasure facility someday, said receiving the scholarship is a great help in affording her education so she can make a mark in the lives of horses.
"My long-term goal is to make a name in the industry, but not for the fame-for the betterment of it," Brunecz said. "I want to make a difference."
Brunecz is a 2010 graduate of Eisenhower High School. She is the daughter of Sherri and Colin Brunecz of Sugar Grove.