The school's close proximity to the local public works yard allowed Rama Central students to make a unique contribution to the community during the Black River flood of 2013. Our Librarian, Mrs. Torrey, made arrangements for classes from Grades 5-8 to take turns walking to public works to help bag sand for local homeowners whose properties were threatened by high water. We filled sand bags as a gym/DPA activity. Here are some pictures of our class in action (click to enlarge):
Our school's efforts to help prevent flooding were recognized in a Ramara Township media release (click to enlarge):
Rama Central students and Mrs. Torrey were interviewed at the public works yard by CTV News (click to view). The story about Rama Central's efforts begins at 6:20 into the broadcast:
Earlier in the school year, two volunteers from the Alliston & District Humane Society visited our class to pick up some educational brochures that students in our class created as media literacy projects. These projects will be used as the basis for some desktop published pamphlets and flyers that will be distributed to children who visit the shelter to learn about animal welfare. During their visit, the Humane Society's Audrey McClure said that it was a shame our class never got to meet Princess the rescue dog, since we had raised over $700.00 to help with her medical bills. Princess passed away six weeks after being rescued. Audrey asked if our class might appreciate a visit from a couple of other rescue dogs with a story to tell. The class and I were delighted with this offer.
On Friday, April 26th we were thrilled to welcome some very special guests to our classroom. Audrey McClure and Jim Preyde, of the Alliston & District Humane Society, Pattie Dawson (Princess' foster Mom) and Pattie's two children returned to our class. They were accompanied by special needs rescue dogs Hule and Hanson, from Mexico, Ola Zalewski (who provided rehabilitation to both dogs, and is currently fostering Hansen), Kristen Sowerby (Hule's Canadian owner), Apollo (one of Ola's other dogs) and Oliver (Kristen's other dog). In addition to visiting with and learning about the dogs, students received certificates from the Alliston & District Humane Society, thanking them for their efforts with the pamphlet project. We had an incredibly fun, inspiring and educational afternoon!
Here are images from our amazing "dog party" (click to enlarge any image):
Hule was a victim of a machete attack, in Mexico. She lost an eye and sustained neurological damage that rendered her unable to walk. After several surgeries and a couple months in rehabilitation, she regained most of her motor function. Here is the amazing video that chronicles Hule's journey back to full health (click on image):
It is presumed that Hansen was struck by a vehicle while living as a stray on the streets of Cancun. He has almost no use of his back legs, but is able to move around very effectively with and without the use of a wheel cart. The wheel cart is particularly helpful in carpeted areas and outdoors, where dragging his back end would cause abrasion. In this video, which was filmed in our classroom, Ola demonstrates how to put Hansen into his wheel cart. Note the reaction of the class, when Hansen begins to move about the classroom! 🙂
As a follow-up to this event, we will be engaging in a classroom discussion about how the class fully accepted Hule and Hansen, despite their disabilities. Would students be so accepting of a student in a wheelchair or with a facial disfigurement? One would hope that after meeting these two special needs dogs students would think twice before shying away from a person with special needs...