QJS students preserve happy SPCA adoption stories

Students under the direction of teacher Cathy Burke took the stories of successful SPCA adoptions and preserved them in shadow boxes

Clockwise from left: Amity Dixon-Traer

A couple of years ago I wanted to find a way to write an in memorium for a beautiful adult cat I had adopted from the Penticton SPCA. She led an interesting life when she joined our family; she made a long distance move with us and in general played a big role in our household. I decided to make a story of her life by arranging pictures and a story about her in a shadow box frame. I took this down to the local SPCA, in Quesnel where I now live. It has remained on the wall there for about four years.

As a teacher to middle school students, I see many students with a variety of talents. At Christmas time this year, my Grade 8 class of French Immersion students held a Quebec-themed Christmas celebration. I was amazed by the work they put into these hand-crafted invitations.

I have always supported the SPCA. The work done on these invitations would look wonderful if we were to put together more stories of successful adoptions of animals from the SPCA, I thought. I asked my students if they would be interested in making more scrapbooking projects for the SPCA – they readily agreed. I contacted Colby O’Flynn, manager of the Quesnel SPCA  and told her I would like to showcase my students’ talents and make more story book frames about pets’ lives, either living or passed on. Colby put the call out to our community on Quesnel’s SPCA Facebook page and the response was huge.

All the stories we received were wonderful, about how a pet had found a perfect fit into someone’s home and life. Students were shown the submissions and chose the dog or cat whose story they wanted to tell.

The students had a variety of reasons for choosing various pets to feature in a shadow box.

“I believe it’s important for people to realize that when you take in an animal, it does make a difference,” Jaydagh Billingsley said.

Priya Badhan said she believes these animals are really inspiring because they’ve been through so much and they come out so strong.

Riddhiman Kansal chose a dog named Ginger because the story stood out for him.

He went on to say, “the value of these shadow boxes are important because they tell some great stories.”

Amity Dixon-Traer picked a cat named Lego who only had three legs.

“Lego shows that good things happen to everyone eventually and these stories [shadow boxes] show that there are happy endings,” she said

Abbey Mills chose a dog named Tanner who reminded her of the puppy her family adopted from the SPCA.

As this goes to press, we are still working on stories but will probably not be able to fulfill every submission we receive – or maybe we will?

It all depends on the donation of more shadow-box frames, and how many stories students can produce between now and the end of the school year.

I will have the same group of students in Grade 9 and they may be interested in working on this project into their senior year at QJS.  I am proud to have such fine young members of our community put in the time and effort for a positive cause.

In order to complete our project, we gratefully received assistance for supplies from Walmart in Quesnel, Michaels in Prince George, as well as money donated from Houses 1 and 4 of QJS.

– submitted by Cathy Burke

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