Baking Up A Tradition In First Grade

By Norma Richman


“It’s not about making money. It’s about helping the dogs. The shelter has dogs so they can find new homes. We made dog treats for all kinds of dogs.”—Anne D., age 7

Wrapping up the year of Community Engagement at High Point Academy, Ms. Summers and Ms. Rayburn challenged their first graders to a fund-raising venture: how much money could they earn for biscuit-baking supplies? The students took up the challenge by reading as many books as they could, and their 2022 Read-a-Thon did not disappoint. They raised $530! Some of the money went for wholesome ingredients such as pumpkin, peanut butter, and corn flour, but the bulk of it went straight to Hand in Paw Rescue for the needs of their “clients”—dogs of every size and shape who are looking for forever homes.

“So the lady—Piper—is going to come and collect the dog treats,” said Anne D. She continued, “We put in good ingredients: peanut butter, some pumpkin, cinnamon and water and some corn flour too. People could eat them, but it won’t taste that good to us.”

Magnus D., age 7, added, “Teachers are going to bake them in the oven and give them to us to give to the dog shelter. There is money too so they [the dogs] can stay alive and so people can adopt them from the rescue place.”

The baking process was pretty straightforward. Kids took turns mixing ingredients, rolling out the dough, and trimming it with bone-shaped cookie cutters. The finished product, dozens of dog biscuits, was presented to Piper Wood (Class of 1994), Hand in Paw’s founder and director. Piper, along with her little friend Simone, thanked the class in person and led a discussion about the needs of her charges—dogs of all kinds looking for families. Simone stole the show, however, when the senior citizen Chihuahua happily began to explore the upper playground.

Hand in Paw is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of abandoned, homeless, and abused pets. The shelter has a firm belief that the special bond between dogs and humans is something that everyone should experience.

Ms. Rayburn defined this year’s effort as a total success: “The students worked so hard reading their books to raise money for Hand in Paw! They learned about the types of animals that need help, and how the money we raised will help the animals have better lives. This year, the students had the opportunity to meet Simone, one of the dogs in need. It was such an amazing experience for the class to see how their hard work can change an animal’s life. We are all so proud of them!”

“The students worked very hard to read as many books as possible for their read-a-thon and we are so proud of them! They were inspired to read more to help more animals in need. We had the opportunity to meet one of Hand in Paw’s new rescues, Simone, who was found wandering the streets desperately in need of some love and care. Thanks to Hand in Paw, she will get the help she needs. Our first graders are so happy that our donation to the rescue can help more dogs in need, like sweet Simone!” added Ms. Summers. 

And Mikaela C., age 7, summed up the purpose of the class’s project this way: “We’re trying to help dogs. The rescue dogs are going to think the biscuits are good . . . and if they need food, we could give it to them.”

“Who doesn’t like dogs?” chimed in Anne D.


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