Ephrata Intermediate School has a schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support System that has been in place for the several years. The system specifically encourages and incents students who demonstrate desirable traits, including respect, empathy, and positivity. Each month a different trait is highlighted through an assembly and classroom lesson.
Compassion was the trait highlighted in February, which inspired three sixth-grade students to take the lead. Rafaelia Mirsaidova, Morgan Alexander, and Emily White agree they are compassionate about dogs and wanted to use their passion to inspire their classmates. “We wanted to show everyone in the school and our community that we can make an impact,” said Morgan.
Upon getting the green light from their principals to lead the February assembly, the girls began weeks of research to educate their classmates on animal abuse and inspire compassion to help combat the problem. Their research revealed stunning statistics – both positive and negative – which they organized into a presentation before addressing over 600 of their fifth- and sixth-grade classmates.
Additionally, the students contacted KPets, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, PAWS, and PetValue to tie-in a real-world connection to their presentation. KPets agreed to bring five dogs to participate in the assembly and visit classrooms. The girls agreed having the dogs visit with students really helped connect the monthly trait of compassion to their mission of animal abuse awareness and prevention.
Finally, the students organized a donation drive – open to the public – to obtain pet supplies for local animals in need. “It would mean the world to us to get the community involved,” the students said. Donations may be dropped off in the Ephrata Intermediate School office during school hours.
The students hope the energy and support they have received will continue to grow. “We could use help taking our ideas to the next level. We’d love to get together with more animal rescues and continue discussions with our classmates and students in other schools. It would be awesome if we could help organize a community event or pep rally to raise money for this cause,” they said.