2017 Scholarship Winner, Her Trip to the AKC National Dog Show


AKC Rep Mike Szabo congratulating Claire on her win

Award was given for the top two presentations: The Waukesha Kennel Club (WKC) offered two $500 college scholarships to two Waukesha County 7th grade middle school Students. The First Place is also awarded a trip to The AKC National Dog show in Orlando FL. The scholarships were granted based on a presentation prepared by the student on the student’s favorite American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized breed.

This year student first place was Claire Nickerson written on the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever  HER REPORT-   STUDENT 9

This is Claire’s Report on her trip to the Largest dog show in America:

Claire with the Best of Breed Winner
WKC member Jeri El Dissi with Claire in the NSDTR booth with her project

AKC Trip Report
By Claire Nickerson
I was lucky enough to go to the American Kennel Club Dog Show presented by Royal Canin, because I won an essay contest that asked me to write about my favorite purebred dog breed. I chose the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, (or Toller for short), because they are a dog that fascinates me and I wanted to learn more about them. The night that my family found out I had won was amazing. I was jumping up and down because I was so excited that I had won, (and that we get to go to Florida!)
On the first morning that we got to the convention center, my family and I met up with Jeri El Dissi. As she showed us around, I couldn’t have imagined such a big place! While this was not my first dog show, (I had gone to the Waukesha Kennel Club dog show before), I was stunned. There was so much to see and so much to do! We passed the agility rings, the meet the breed booths, the dock diving, the grooming areas, and all of the show rings. Most importantly, there were so many dogs! But before we could venture out and explore the wonderful dog show, we had to see the Tollers being showed! As all of the Tollers walked around the ring being judged I was amazed because before this trip, I had never seen a Toller in person before. It was so cool to see all of them and afterwards, I got to take a picture with the best in show Toller. It was amazing; the dog was so pretty. After that, we headed to the Toller booth to meet more of these wonderful dogs. I got to meet more of the Tollers and take some pictures with them. While there were so many, my favorite was probably the puppy named Zoom. Zoom was not one of the dogs being shown, (because she is too young), but I found out that she is going to become an agility dog! That is so cool because agility is my favorite dog sport to watch. After petting the Tollers, we went through all of the meet the breed booths. There were many cool dogs that I had never heard of before like the Kooikerhondje. We spent most of our day walking around the different breed booths while meeting, petting, and asking questions about the dog breeds. After that, we watched the fist part of the best in group dogs and unfortunately, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever did not win for the sporting group category. Then it was time to head back to the hotel for bed.
The next morning, I was so excited to head back to the show. We saw more dogs being showed that day and I thought that the perfection of these dogs were breathtaking. We walked around the booths some more. We stopped at the amazingly decorated Toller booth and everyone was so nice and friendly again today. The agility, dock diving, and disc dog demonstrations were all very fun and exciting to watch. All of the agility dogs were super fast and it was fun to watch them run through the course. The dock diving was also fun. I couldn’t believe that those dogs could jump so far. While we didn’t get around to seeing the obedience dogs, Sunday was amazing. Also because we wanted to get a good night’s sleep, we did not stay to see the final best in group competition or the best in show winner, but we will for sure be watching it on TV in January.
I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity and I am so happy that I was able to spend it with my mom, dad, and little sister, Rachel. I would definitely recommend going to the dog show if you like dogs and what to learn more about them. Thank you Waukesha Kennel Club and Jeri for an experience that I will cherish and remember forever.

Claire with her sister Rachel getting to know the breed in Orlando

See the other great student projects including 2nd place award winner Ella Marchan



Interested in a scholarship from WKC?

Claire in meet the breed booth loving the pups

Visit the scholarships page to learn more.

2016 Scholarship Winner Eden Destache

My Trip to the Biggest Dog Show in North America
By: Eden Destache

I was able to go to The Royal Canin Dog Show because I entered a contest and was asked to write an informational slide presentation about a pure bred dog. Although I was allowed to write about any dog, I choose the Akita because my family has owned two of them. Not only is an Akita my pet, but I know they are great dogs. After the Waukesha Kennel Club announced that I had won the $500 scholarship, everyone in my family was excited and we didn’t even know that my trip to Florida was included!

The first morning in Florida we met with Jeri El Dissi and she showed us around the dog show. There was so many different dog activities that we couldn’t stop at them all. We went over to one of the agility shows and we got to watch an Akita run the course. I was so fascinated by what a dog can do because this was the first dog show I ever attended. We also went to the grooming area and we saw some of the dogs being bathed, brushed, and blow dried. There were so many dogs and they all looked so beautiful.
After Jeri showed us around we went to the Akita booth. At the booth I met a long haired Akita named Kibby and hung out with all the other people that were working there. I got to answer some people’s questions like “What was the Akita breed for?”, “When did Akita’s come to America?” etc. Everyone was so nice. I was able to walk around, look at all of the other booths and learn about all kinds of other dogs. I watched one of the dock jumping events and I got to see a couple of the beagles being shown. After my dad and I were worn out, we headed back to the hotel and had the chance to enjoy the pool and the sun. Later, we went back to the convention center and watched the toy group being shown which was pretty cool because we got to see all these little dogs that I’ve never seen before. We headed back to the hotel about an hour later because the next day was going to be busy.
Then next day we woke up early, ate a big breakfast and then we went down to the dog show again. We stopped by the booth when we got there, said hello to a few people we met the day before and then we went to one of the rings to watch the Akita’s being shown. This was definitely one of my favorite parts because I’d never seen so many Akita’s at one time! We saw a couple of the dogs that were at the booth the day before and I got my picture taken with the Best in Show dog. After the Akita show we went back to the booth again and walked around for a bit before it was time for us to return to Milwaukee.
As we sat in the airport and I went through the 200 or so pictures I had taken, I noticed how proud and dedicated the dog’s owners were to them. I know you have to practice a lot to achieve a certain skill but you have to practice even more to teach you dog how to jump rope!
I would encourage other students to enter this contest and write about their favorite pure bred dog for multiple reasons. One reason that sticks out is that you could win the opportunity to go to Florida, which is pretty awesome and you could also win a $500 scholarship! But winning the trip and the money isn’t what made this experience so special to me. It was the fact that I got to meet all these new people (and dogs) and I learned so much from all of them. Writing the presentation was so much fun for me because I love to write and I love to research. I had no idea what Akita’s were bred for or why they came to America until I did this report. People say knowledge is the greatest gift and I too, think that is true. I am so thankful for the people at the Waukesha Kennel Club for giving me the opportunity to attend the biggest dog show in North America which allowed me to learn so much.


Thank You Letter

Dear Jeri and Waukesha Kennel Club,
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go down to Orlando, Florida
and see the dog show. I had never been to a dog show before and I’m so happy that this was the first one I got to see. I also hope that it wasn’t my last. I learned so much about the Japanese Akita and so many other dogs while I was there. I have always loved dogs and this opportunity showed me so many different activities I can do with dogs. I just want to say thank you again. I will remember this trip for the rest of my life and I am so thankful.

Eden Destache


Eden’s winning presentation: The Japanese Akita