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Love of animals, artwork is picture perfect for girl

Ashleigh Baxter also has a knack for vocabulary

Ashleigh Baxter also has a knack for vocabulary

September 01, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

SMITHSBURG - Ashleigh Baxter is thinking of selling her artwork.

"Not as a permanent job," Ashleigh, 11, said quickly when her stepfather, Martin Jenkins, asked if she ever had heard of starving artists.

For her permanent job, Ashleigh said she wants to be a veterinarian.

"I like animals," Ashleigh said. "I think it would be an interesting job because you work with animals all the time."

For now, she enjoys both animals and artwork.

"I like drawing animals," Ashleigh said. "I can't draw people at all."

A watercolor picture she painted of the horse barn where she takes riding lessons appears in Washington County Public Schools' 2006-07 academic calendar.

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"I embellished it because just horses wouldn't be interesting," Ashleigh said.

Ashleigh said she added a llama, ox, goat and apple trees to the scene.

She also has sketched an array of kittens and puppies.

Curious about another potential career, Ashleigh asked what reporters do.

Talk to people and write every day.

"I could do that," she said.

Ashleigh said she reads every copy of her mother's Reader's Digest magazine, and in the spring took part in a national Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge contest open to students in fourth through eighth grade.

Gwen Nikirk, the enrichment teacher at Smithsburg Elementary School, taught Ashleigh for several years and administered the Word Power test.

"She knocked the socks off of everybody in that test," Nikirk said. "Because she's a reader, she knows a lot of vocabulary."

Ashleigh reads for fun. Her favorite books are about animals.

Ashleigh said her favorite book is "The Captain's Dog," by Roland Smith, which recounts Lewis and Clark's journey across the United States from a dog's perspective.

Yet, her favorite classes are not English classes, but math and orchestra.

Now in sixth grade at Smithsburg Middle School, Ashleigh said she is taking an honors class - pre-Algebra.

"It's just kinda fun to do," Ashleigh said. "I like things where there's X and Y, and you have to figure it out."

All of Ashleigh's classes are honors classes except for orchestra, said her mother, Marcy Baxter-Jenkins.

Orchestra is fun, even though she doesn't have her violin yet, Ashleigh said.

Ashleigh has played the guitar for two years, and the notes are similar, so she will catch up, she said.

Orchestra also is fun because the teacher, Mr. (Evan) Price, is really funny, Ashleigh said.

"He makes it fun ... I'm sure he'd like it if you would put that in the paper," she said.

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