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St. Jude's students help out animal shelter for Lent


Last updated 4/25/2019 at 12:04pm

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

St. Jude Thaddeus School students Mackenzie Kuhn, from left, Catharina Kaftan and Dylan Kuhn load up the bed of principal Mike Haugen's truck before heading to the Havre Animal Shelter Wednesday. St. Jude's students chose collecting material for the animal shelter as their Lenten project.

To observe Lent this year, students at St. Jude Thaddeus School decided to help out some animals.

For the Lenten period, the students collected and donated approximately $150 and a number of items and food for the Havre Animal Shelter.

"I've been amazed with our students and our teachers and what (first grade teacher Jessie Kuhn) has done with this," Principle Mike Haugen said.

Haugen and three student council members, Dylan Kuhn, Mackenzie Kuhn and council president Kat Kaftan, hauled the food and other items to the animal shelter Wednesday afternoon.

Jessie Kuhn said that, twice a year, for Lent and Advent, the school holds service projects for the community. The service projects are lead and organized by the school, but it is the students who participate and make the projects a success.

She added that she may have organized the service project, but all the donations are brought by the students.

"It's the kids," she said. "They get really excited and they like helping."

She said that this is the second year that they have done a service project for the animal shelter. Throughout the Lenten period, Kuhn said, she put up pictures of the dogs and cats which were in the shelter, adding pictures if a new one came in and putting stamps over the ones which have been adopted.

Every day when the students came in and walked by the poster and saw which dog or cat that has been adopted recently, they got pretty excited, she said. Donations could be made by any student from preschool to eighth grade, and every week Haugen would update the students during morning announcements how much money had been collected, she added.

Haugen said that he would announce it during the morning and end of the day prayers.

"It's amazing. Once you get the snowball rolling then they motivate themselves," he said.

Kuhn said that to create friendly competition for the students they had separate jars, one for cats and one for dogs into which the students could donate money. Popularity went back and forth every week on which one had more money, but in the end cats won by $2. She added that dogs won last year. All the money will go toward the yearly spay and neuter clinic held by the animal shelter. She added that they raised more money than last year.

Students also brought in dog and cat food, treats, toys, blankets, towels, animal beds and pee pads, Kuhn said.

"We kind of got a good assortment of everything," she added.

This was the second year that the school donated to the animal shelter, she said. Originally she got the idea after speaking with a co-worker, fourth grade teacher Linda Ferguson, who brought up the idea because Kuhn had adopted a couple cats that year from the shelter. After speaking with Ferguson she spoke with Havre Animal Control Officer Peter Federspiel who told her that the animal shelter was always looking for help. She also spoke with his wife, Kimberly, president of the Friends of the Havre Animal Shelter.

She added that the children really liked that the school was doing the service project again.

Haugen said that the service projects are meant to inspire community service in the students and that by the time the students leave St. Jude's they have an understanding of service.

"I loved it," he said. "The school just does such a good job with our kids and this is a part of it as far as understanding service to your community. This world is much larger than ourselves, we are all God's children."

Kuhn said that the school does a number of other community service projects. Last year for advent Haugen and Deacon Tim Maroney worked with the student council to collect food for families.

Haugen said that they worked with the Salvation Army to give four families food baskets for the Advent period. He added that they raised so much food they also donated more than 100 pounds of food to the Havre Food Bank.

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

St. Jude's also participates as partners with Recycle Hi-Line and have previously partnered with the Havre Jaycees for their Community Toy Chest and Coats for Kids programs. They have also had students make care packages to send to military members overseas.

Kuhn said that they try to help with organizations and the community every opportunity they get.

"That feeling of, we are all here to take care of one another, we are all here to love one another and help one another," she said. "I always talk a lot in first grade that there is no too big or too small, every little bit helps ... that sense of community and family."

She said that when a student sees their classmate or teacher donating, setting a good example, it inspires them to want to get involved as well.


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