By RUSSELL JONES
BRANDON — The John Seeley Estabrook Memorial Trust announced the presentation of their annual award to Brandon resident Kirsten Werner at a tea held at Café Provence on July 17. The award is given each year to outstanding residents of Brandon who are presently pursuing activities in the fields of medicine and/or sports.
Werner is the daughter of Karleen and Peter Werner and a 2015 graduate from Otter Valley. While at OV, she was on the Scholars’ Roll and Honor Roll throughout high school, graduating fifth in her class and was a member of the National Honor Society.
For 10 years, Werner studied dance in ballet, jazz, contemporary and modern styles at the Vermont Center for Dance Education in Rutland. In 2015, she had the honor of performing the lead role in the studio’s presentation of “Cinderella” at The Paramount Theatre.
In May, she graduated cum laude from St. Lawrence University where she majored in biology with a minor in chemistry, having also been on the Dean’s list. During her time there, she was a member of the dance team and was a co-captain during her senior year, continuing her love of dance.
Werner also volunteered in the St. Lawrence Advocates program, which is a group of students who work to create a safe and confidential resource for survivors of sexual assault to reach out when they need someone to talk to or to find options for help.
As a junior at St. Lawrence, she spent a semester studying in Dunedin, New Zealand.
“My entire experience there was eye-opening,” said Werner. “I was impressed by how culturally diverse New Zealand is. Not only in cities, but everywhere; there are first generation immigrants who have moved there to work and have a family.
“I met people from all over the world,” she said. “They are so accepting of all kinds of people and encourage them to come and explore their beautiful country. My time in New Zealand gave me motivation to travel more and to learn more about other cultures.”
In August, Werner will begin working toward a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy.
“She follows her passions, whether in the academic rigors of the medical field, the physical release of dance, the compassion of community service, or enrichment of travel, with whole-hearted enthusiasm and high standards of excellence,” a press release from the trust said.
The John Seeley Estabrook Memorial Trust was established in 1986. The award remembers a Brandon physician who excelled in both medicine and athletics, as is evidenced by the fact that among his many honors were induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame and being named Doctor of the Year by the University of Vermont. John Seeley Estabrook came from a Vermont medical family, which spanned over 150 years of service to the people of Vermont. According to the trust, he is remembered as one who “elevated the practice of medicine to friendship and deep neighborly concern. With his quiet self-effacing humor and abiding personal integrity he touched our lives in ways that none of us will be able – or want – to forget.”