EAST HAMPTON, NY — For so many students who should have been enjoying senior year with prom, graduation, and other milestone events, the coronavirus crisis has meant that sadly, dreams and long-awaited celebrations have been put on hold.
Patch would like to shine a light on these amazing young people and their accomplishments; a new series "Celebrate Your Senior!" launched this week, inviting proud parents and others to spotlight the young people whose accomplishments can't be derailed by coronavirus.
"We are nominating our daughter Kailee Alexis Brabant," wrote Kristy Brabant. "We are so proud of Kailee and all that she has already accomplished."
Kailee has always had a love for horses, her mother said.
"At the age of 12, Kailee was introduced to the horse life by a friend. From that moment, Kailee was determined to ride horses. Being one of four kids, she knew how expensive horses would be for us, so Kailee asked her dad to take her to Stony Hill Stables in Amagansett to ask about a job opportunity, and she set her dream into action."
Kailee, her mother said, was determined; she began working at Stony Hill Stables doing various tasks accumulated hours in exchange for lessons.
"Throughout the years, Kailee worked her way up the ladder at Stony Hill Stables. She began mucking stalls and was a pony camp counselor in the summers," Kristy said. "Then she became the head groom of the lesson program, where she managed the lesson horse grooms and kept the school horses healthy — to making her way to working in the main barn, where she worked with client horses, keeping them in pristine condition."
Last summer, Kailee moved up to being the assistant camp director, along with working both local and away competitions, her mother said.
Kailee has held a year-round position at Stony Hill Stables since the summer going into the eighth grade.
"Kailee was very blessed to have been awarded a scholarship from the Stony Hill Foundation which gave her a lot of riding time when she wasn’t working," Kristy said. "When the scholarship came to an end, Kailee was right back to paying for her own riding and horse shows, and she never asked us for any money."
Kailee, her parents said, has also held high honor roll all four years of high school, along with belonging to Key Club and Century Club. Kailee dedicated a lot of her community service hours at the Center for Therapeutic Riding on The East End in Sagaponack, where she assisted the trainers in teaching children with both physical and mental disabilities to learn to ride horses, they said.
This year, her parents said, Kailee participated in the East Hampton High School work study program and did an internship at Stony Hill Stables in the afternoons after school.
"She learned a lot more about horses with this program," Kristy said. "The trainers and barn managers taught her a lot about the medical needs for horses; she was able to learn how to give horses shots, how to care for horses with injuries, and the experience allowed her more time to exercise lunge the school horses and client horses. With this program, Kailee was able to get a step ahead and be more prepared for college."
In the fall, Kailee will be heading off to Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. She will be majoring in equine science on the pre-vet track. Kailee hopes to open her own barn in the future where she will rescue and rehabilitate injured horses, and teach riding lessons —including a program where she will teach children and adults with physical and mental disabilities to use the power of horses to improve their quality of life, Kristy said.
"We are so proud of Kailee and all that she has already accomplished," her family said.
Congratulations, Kailee Alexis Brabant!
To be included in "Celebrate Your Senior!" send photos and a description of why you're nominating your senior to be featured in a Patch post to Lisa.Finn@patch.com. Tell them why you're proud of them and all they've accomplished. Let's celebrate our amazing kids!