Animals in the School


Oreo was a chic

ken who lived in Cynthia Hayes’ first grade room. Oreo had run of the place walking around the school and the playground at leis

ure. However when it was time to lay her egg, if she were outdoors, she would tap on the window. Once inside she would go straight to her egg laying spot, lay the egg, and return to her wanderings.

“Squeech”, “Tazz”, and the Boa Constrictor

Well, there was the year Lyn and I started the Animal Inquiry unit with the Montshire Museum. We had the boa constrictor here, and that’s the year Tazz the bunny came to live in room 19. Tracy Buck was the French teacher. She moved from room to room so we called her program, “French a la carte”. Tazz could be a pest, so Madame said, “All the animals must be caged during French.” I also remember “Squeech”, the mouse who lived in the closet.

Lyn Ujlaky and Pam Force 



The year Ken’s and my house burned, “Jake”, our lab mix, lived in room 19. He was great at “telling” Loretta when the faculty meetings had gone on long enough.

Pam Force

Grade 4 June 2008


I was the art teacher, at the time, at the Ray School. Back then the art room was located where the Ray Cafe resides now. The room had a door which opened onto the patio. I always kept the door open to allow fresh air to enter. That particular year, I had noticed a cat on the patio, and had on occasion fed it a bite from my lunch or had left it a small saucer of milk. No big deal, it appeared a stray cat, and though it did not warm to adults, the cat was very friendly with the children, allowing them to rub its belly and to secretly (they thought) feed it snacks from their lunch .boxes during recess.

Then, one week, we all noticed that the cat had disappeared. Every now and then, in life, something drops in out of nowhere to bring some joy, and it appeared that is what that cat had done for all of us. We were all hopeful that the cat had found a good new home. We drifted back to our daily routines, putting the cat in a warm spot in our memories. On the Friday night of the week she left, I carefully shut and locked the patio door, and went home for the weekend.

On Monday morning I arrived to be greeted by a very loud, “Meow!” The cat apparently had found her way into the art room on Friday, and I had inadvertently locked her in…for the whole weekend with no food or water. I shooed the cat out and then went about the business of preparing for my morning classes, interrupted only by the cat’s constant meowing and scratching. She wanted back in.

When the first class arrived, the kids were happy to see their cat was back, but I told them she had to stay outside for awhile. They got busy, moving about the room, getting the things they needed for the project of the day, when one heard a noise. He peered under a stack of shelves, and discovered, hidden in a collection of art paper supplies, five tiny, newborn kittens! Over the weekend, unbeknownst to me, my art room had been turned into a feline maternity ward! No wonder the mother was anxious to return. I let her in immediately.

I fed the poor mom right away, and then arranged a more hospitable nest for the kittens. Since they were so little, their eyes weren’t even opened yet, so they couldn’t be moved. The back of the art room became the nursery. Of course the kids loved the situation. However, teaching art to kids who only wanted to cuddle and play with the babies, became a bit of a problem, so I had to establish a rule: kitty viewing only. I fed the mom, who thrived on attention and a healthy diet, and soon her kittens were old enough to be adopted. It was no problem finding good homes for the small ones, and one of the teachers took the mother, who the staff had kindly named after me, “Marilyn”.

Willy Black
Retired Art Teacher

June/ 2008


Hammy was a hampster in Mrs. Hawthorne’s class who ~ outlived her years by many years. As she got older she . was remembered for her toe nails which grew so long they began to curl.

Guinea Pigs!

She was named Beatrix Potter Piglet, and she was the pig that established this mammal as one of the all-time favorite pets for first grade students. A pig, you say? Well, she was a guinea pig, and she loved to communicate with people. Whenever Mrs. Jemstedt’s voice could be heard, Beatrix would make her happy, squeaky sound that said, “Please feed me a carrot!” Beatrix, and all of her relatives loved carrots. She and those to follow, Benjamin Franklin Piglet and B. Franklin Piglet, all loved carrots, children, and trips home with children over the weekends or for holidays and vacations. They especially loved to be held by children, and they loved a little time with the children out in the meadow habitat.

Margaret Jemstedt
K-l Teacher