January 14, 2017 – A national news story about a police canine injured in the line of duty made a lasting impression on the students of Julius Marks Elementary.
For three students in the school’s Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP), the story served as inspiration for a big community service project.
“We decided to raise money by selling dog-related items to buy a ballistic vest for a police dog, and donate it to the Lexington Police Department,” said 5th grader Noah Jones.
Noah and his STLP partners, 4th grade sisters Chloe and Zoey Miller, did their research and spread the word about the fundraiser. In December the kids sold donated Christmas ornaments, Beanie Babies, and candy canes attached to bone-shaped bookmarks (called bark-marks).
“It was a whole-school project,” STLP coordinator and school librarian Debbie Kiser said. “We love our police officers, we love the dogs, and we just want to support everybody.”
In three weeks, the school raised $1,300 for the vest and other canine equipment.
“Anytime we receive support from our community, especially the youngest members of our community, it’s tremendous,” said Sgt. David Sadler, supervisor of the Lexington Police Department’s Canine Unit.
At a schoolwide assembly this week, Sadler thanked students and parents. The vest will go to the Canine Unit’s newest members, Officer Steven Newtown and K9 Max, who were both on hand for the check presentation.
Zoey Miller said it was neat to see canine officers in person and learn about their duties.
“If there’s anything around that shouldn’t be there, [the dogs] have to sniff that out. They might know the scent of someone that they need to find, so the dogs could help find the person.”
Noah had not met a police officer prior to taking part in the canine project, and he enjoyed the experience.
“I might one want to be one, one day.”
Noah, Chloe and Zoey will carry the success of the Julius Marks Elementary fundraising project went they make their Showcase presentation at the statewide STLP competition later this spring.