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Primary school lesson benefits local shelters

Teachers and students at the Fort Rucker Primary School organize bags of donated pet food to be taken to local animal shelters during their 100th day in school celebration Jan. 24. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Teachers and students at the Fort Rucker Primary School organize bags of donated pet food to be taken to local animal shelters during their 100th day in school celebration Jan. 24. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: January 31, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 31, 2014) -- Faculty members at the Fort Rucker Primary school made sure that children were able to celebrate their 100th day in session with service and learning.

The students of FRPS participated in an activity to provide food for local animal shelters that incorporated math, science and technologies, while learning valuable problem-solving skills, said Yvette Esteves-Hurst, FRPS Spanish teacher.

The events were designed to educate and promote a cooperative partnership among students, parents, community and staff, she said.

In December, the school participated in an activity to gather food for local food banks, and Estevez-Hurst said they wanted to make sure that people’s four-legged counterparts weren’t forgotten.

“It’s all centered on problem solving, that’s the main thing,” said the Spanish teacher. “Not only does this project teach the children the importance of giving back, but it also helps them to count by 10s.”

The activity was centered on the student’s learning, and their ability to reason and think mathematically, she said. The children had to work together to arrange the donated items into separate bags, and each bag was only allowed to contain 10 items, so once a bag was filled, they had to move on to another bag until all the items had been used to fill the bags. This helped the students to learn to count by 10s, how to estimate measurement and weight, how to read a bar graph, and learn the differences between cats and dogs, said the Spanish teacher.

A total of 240 items were collected in the three weeks the children had to prepare, said Estevez-Hurst, and the donations keep coming.

“Even though the project is done, we like to give time for some children to bring in last-minute donations because some of them forget to bring them in or leave them in their bags, so we give them some more time before we take the items to the shelters,” she said.

The food collected was distributed to animal shelters in Enterprise, Ozark and Elba, and were delivered as a team effort from the teachers involved in the program.

“I start calling the shelters and we hop in the car together and we have a good time while we distribute the donated food to the different shelters,” she said. “This is something we do each year because we see the need, especially during this time of year.”

Although the main focus of the program was to educate children on their academics, Deborah Deas, FRPS principal, said the significance of this activity was great because it’s part of the process to develop the “whole child.”

“We feel that making an impact in our community is one of the things that is important to teach here on Fort Rucker,” she said. “We feel that we need to teach them how to be responsible citizens by taking care of animals, and other agencies on post and in their community.”

“We want to teach the children about giving and to think of others aside from their self, and the children really did not disappoint,” added Estevez-Hurst.  “They were coming in with big bags of dog food that they could barely carry, and one parent even came in with their child and a wagon with two big bags of pet food. We are just so grateful.”

This article was originally published at

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