BY JIM LANGHAM
DHI Media Editor
info@timesbulletin.com

One of the earliest pictures of Katelyn Welch is from when she was two months old. She is sitting in a wheelbarrow surrounded by Holland Lop rabbits. It depicted the future of her success in exhibiting rabbits at the Van Wert County 4-H Fair.

“We have at least 10 bunnies in our barn all of the time,” said Welch this past weekend by her exhibit in the new 4-H Rabbit Barn. “I can’t remember when I started taking care of rabbits. I’ve watered and fed them as long as I can remember. Now I do all the processes that need to be done.”

Welch was eight-years-old the first time she exhibited rabbits, although she became a Cloverbud when she was two-years-old. Besides her livestock, Welch has two other main areas of interest which include black ink and food project. This year, that project included exhibiting breads.

Welch has won several grand championships over the years. She normally shows Holland Lops, Havanas, which won a best of breed this year and Californians.

Two years ago, she was selected as the 4-H Rabbit Queen.

It is the California breed that then is sold to a local business for marketing. Young rabbits are then re-stocked and the process begins all over again.

In addition to her 4-H involvement, Welch is a varsity cheerleader at Van Wert High School and has danced for 14 years with Kim Hohman’s Dance Works where she spends part of her time these days working with younger dancers.
In addition, she is involved with the youth group at First Presbyterian church where she was confirmed in the eighth grade.

“I really feel close to the pastor there. I feel like I can talk to him about anything,” said Welch, also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Welch said that she especially appreciates the life lessons she has learned over the years through 4-H. “You learn how to take disappointments as well as successes. If an animal dies, you can’t keep thinking about it. You have to move on,” observed Welch. “You always have to keep working hard. It takes a lot of work to get the best rabbit that you can.
“The same things work but in a little different way for black ink and food,” continued Welch. “You learn how to adjust the same principles to different parts of your life.”

Welch has served as four-year-president of her 4-H Club, the Bunny Hoppers. Through that she has gained leadership experience in helping others and in planning meetings. “At dance, I love helping with younger kids,” noted Welch, who works with kids, ages three to 14.

Once she graduates from high school, Welch hopes to attend Wright State University and pursue a nursing degree. She would eventually like to work in anesthesiology and pursue a career in medicine.

“I didn’t want to go in to into surgery,” observed Welch. “Anesthesiology looks cool.”

Welch remembers that when her mother was giving birth to one of her siblings she talked to the anesthesiologist and he impressed her with his descriptions of his job.

“He liked it so well; he was so dedicated,” noted Welch. “He lived in Cincinnati but couldn’t get a job there right then so he got a job up here and drove back and forth. That’s how much his career meant to him.”

Welch said that she would especially like to work with cancer patients. She said that she has always been intrigued by talking to people and cancer patients specifically. She noted that a student in her class died from cancer this past June.

“My biggest thing is that I get so attached to people,” continued Welch. “I really want a career where people will remember me because I impacted them in a positive way, in some special way.

“Dancing helps me so much; it helps relieve some of my stress,” added Welch. “I love to tell stories with my dancing. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wouldn’t be for all that I am involved with.”