Group of Penn Elementary School students and staff holding donations for the Prince William County Animal Shelter

Toys, food, water, leashes, beds, and even hamster wheels were a few of the items that Penn Elementary School students collected to help the Prince William County (PWC) Animal Shelter stock their new facility. In return for the generous donation, representatives from the PWC Animal Shelter visited the school to talk with students about their work helping animals.

Jacquelynn Zanghi, a fourth grade teacher, and Pamela Dawson, a special education teacher, serve as co-sponsors of the Student Council Association (SCA), which is comprised of approximately 50 students in grades third through fifth. The student leaders organized the "Show the Animals some Love" campaign because they wanted their school to give back to the community. When Zanghi and Dawson reached out to arrange the delivery of the donated items, the shelter offered to visit the school.

The PWC Animal Shelter welcomes and assists many animals of all sizes, including types that people may not expect to be considered a pet. Sgt. Ben Lambert and Tali Hurst, animal control officers, showed students photos of animals that their team has rescued. They explained that the smallest animals at the shelter are domesticated mice and frogs while the largest animals are horses. Seeing the photos prompted many student questions.

Colin McCourt, a fifth grader who also serves as the SCA treasurer, asked, "Where does the shelter find room for all the animals, especially the horses and alpacas?" Sgt. Lambert replied, "We make room wherever we can."

After the meeting, McCourt and his fellow SCA officers, who are also fifth graders, Max Borrayo (president), Ana Daniels (vice-president), and Gabriella Payne (secretary), loaded the donations from the Penn Elementary students into the animal shelter's truck.

Zanghi, Dawson, and Dr. Elliott Bolles, the school's principal, were proud and very impressed with the efforts made by the students to support their local community.

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