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High school senior serves on horse advisory committee

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Eighteen-year-old Ania Klas from Corrales is the newest and youngest member of the Free Roaming Horses Advisory Council, which was created last year to help find solutions to the number  of wild horses in Placitas.

Ania Klas

Ania Klas

Klas was appointed by Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, who was elected as commission vice chairman Jan. 17.

She decided to become involved with the council because she was presented with the opportunity and has a long-standing passion for animal advocacy.

Klas has always been passionate about giving back to the community; although she is a busy high school senior at the International School in Corrales, she still finds time to volunteer.

“A typical day for me would be attending my high school classes in the morning. Then, depending on the day, in the afternoons I will either go to work at Sandoval Economic Alliance, attend college classes or volunteer at Rust Medical Center,” Klas said. “At the end of the day, you can catch me doing homework.”

Block said it was this commitment to the community that made her a standout candidate.

“She has experience with horses, working in economic development issues and has (volunteered in) different capacities in the community,” Block said. “Her résumé just stood out, and to see how much she has done as an 18-year-old, I was inspired by her.”

Block remembers fondly when he as a 17-year-old in high school, worked on Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign in New Hampshire. He was inspired to serve the community through that work; he hopes the opportunity on the horse commission does the same for Klas.

“Many people at various commission meetings and others have always said they would like to see young people involved in the government, and I agree with them,” he said.

For Klas, she believes joining committees or community programs offer youth an opportunity to learn.

“I think it is incredibly important for the youth to become involved in organizations like this. Not only does it encourage us to be present in our communities, but more often than not, opportunities like this one will teach us lessons that we never learn in school,” Klas said.

Klas’s experience with horses began when she took riding lessons for a few years. From this experience, she learned horses have “majestic and endearing qualities.”

She hopes she can bring fresh and unbiased ideas to the council, and is excited to learn, grow and provide input.

Block said he is not at all worried about Klas’s age.

“Ania will be a tough young lady who will not intimidated by anyone,” Block said. “She will do a great job standing up for her views and the people in our district. I trust her completely to do this important job.”