Ojai student Kali Smith has become the first recipient of Rancho Grande’s Rancho Grande Scholarship Fund on Behalf of Animals for her essay on animal welfare. Smith, who will enter Besant Hill School in the fall in the ninth grade, will receive a $5,000 scholarship to assist with tuition. Smith has volunteered for the Humane Society and recently toured the Acton Wolf Sanctuary. “These experiences taught me more about animals and support my theory that animals have similar spirits and souls as humans,” Smith wrote in her essay. “But they can’t speak for themselves. We have to act on their behalf. Now, I want to learn more, and then educate my friends and so many other people.” For more information on the Rancho Grande scholarship, contact alex@ranchogrande.com.