'Awesome Autumn' Event at EDS Benefits Animal Group
A local school event has raised almost $700 in pet food to support an animal advocacy group.
More than 350 students, parents, teachers and administrative personnel at Episcopal Day School attended the two-day annual “Awesome Autumn” event last week, a “part-carnival, part-charity” festival designed to teach children from preschool to fifth grade the importance of social responsibility.
Maureen Horansky, founder of the Animal Advocates of Moore County organization, was the guest speaker at Thursday morning chapel. Her group was the designated charity and received donations from the students to further the mission of AAMC.
Thursday’s event began with a message to the children on the need for kindness, delivered by the Rev. Amy Huacani, of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
“Many of the children come from families who have animals, so the theme of kindness seemed to be well-received,” Huacani said. “I related the story of Bartimaeus, who was blind, and how he asked Jesus for mercy, which we call ‘loving kindness.’ Jesus responded by healing him with kindness, which I pointed out to the children was a good way to treat others.
“The students were attentive and responsive to the message, and that theme was a perfect fit for Ms. Horansky’s discussion that followed.”
Horansky took Huacani’s words of compassion and expanded them to include animals.
“A big problem in this area concerns the fate of dogs left tied outside for 24 hours a day,” Horansky said. “In the summer, they will have water left out for them, but often the dogs knock the buckets over. If it is 100 degrees that day, when the children come home their dog may have died. I explained to the Episcopal Day School students in a more roundabout way how they could try to prevent this very big problem from taking place by bringing their pets indoors.”
With her pet toy poodle, “Molly Cue” (short for molecule because of her diminutive size), Horansky showed the children photos of dogs chained outside along with photos of those indoors.
“I explained to them that it gets really hot and cold outside, and pets need to be taken care of,” she said. “I told them that if they have a pet, he or she needs to get lots of attention, food and water, and that you have to give them plenty of love.”
Fourth-grade student Max Hildebrand appreciated the kindness to animals message.
“The animals on the poster were really cute,” he said. “We should donate to Animal Advocates because there are a lot of really cute dogs that don't have homes.”
Following the presentation, the students formed a line to pet Molly Cue.
“The children were wonderful,” Horansky said.
Friday’s half of the celebration was all about fun as the children gathered in costume to celebrate the season. Games took place, including pumpkin bowling, a beanbag toss, Plinko and hula hoops. A cake walk was also featured.
At the invitation of Huacani and other school personnel, students brought bags or cans of dog and cat food to Friday’s event as a donation to assist animals placed in foster homes by AAMC.
Parent Lisa Oldroyd, co-chair of Awesome Autumn, was also in charge of the pet food drive.
“Donating dog and cat food was an example of a way children can help be kind to animals,” Oldroyd said. “It was a great way to tie in the theme of kindness that was expressed to the students on the previous day.”
Horansky said the donated goods were “just wonderful.”
“We don’t have a kennel at AAMC, and all the animals that come to us first go to the vet and then to a fostering family,” she said. “We have to pay the bills and supply food to these fosterers, so this donation will be a tremendous help.”
Episcopal Day School Headmaster Michael Cerkovnik thanked the organizers and participants for what he called “a grand event.”
“This is a prime example of the fun, caring community we have at EDS,” he said. “I am proud to be a member of it and can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for future fun events.”
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot. com.
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