Furry Friends at JSC


Jamilah Phillip-Johnson

Firs grade students at John S. Clarke Elementary Center attended an assembly to learn about animals at the Hillside SPCA. "The students really enjoy seeing the animals, no matter what kind they may be," Mrs. Kristyn Blum, lead first grade teacher, said.

First grade students bustled into the cafeteria, all looking forward to seeing two very special guests – a dog, and a cat, residents of the Hillside SPCA shelter in Cressona. Their arrival was signaled by students whirling around in their seats and pointing as volunteers Michaela Royer and Matthew Leitzle brought the animals onto the cafeteria’s stage.

Upstairs in the classrooms, students had worked to bring in supplies for the animals – paper towels, toys, dog and cat food, cleaning supplies and blankets. They collected the donations to celebrate the hundredth day of school.  Each class had a goal of raising one hundred items. The donations were displayed on a table on the stage, neatly packed into cardboard boxes and bins. Their reward for their hard work was seeing the animals brought in for the assembly: a pit bull mix named Raven and a cat named Maggie. Both animals were up for adoption as well.

When the students were asked if they had a pet, many eagerly raised their hands. A few students from each class were allowed to ask a question about the animals and the shelter where they live.

One student asked how many dogs and cats the shelter had. Hillside currently houses sixty dogs and three hundred cats who are up for adoption. For each animal, there is an adoption fee. Cats are fifty five dollars, and dogs are two hundred dollars to adopt.

Another asked about the best way to get to the shelter. The shelter is five to ten minutes away from the elementary, depending the route taken. Several also asked questions about Raven and Maggie. They learned that Raven is two years old and very playful, and Maggie loves kids.

“I enjoy seeing how much the students get excited about how much they can give help to the animals,” Mrs. Kristyn Blum, lead first grade teacher, said. “If they give to help animals, hopefully they will want to help others also.”