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Alleghany High School students who are enrolled in small animal care classes at Alleghany High School are benefiting from unique partnerships between AHPS and local animal care organizations. First row from left: James Conner, Eliza Unroe, Emalee Potter, and Alayna Shumaker. Second row: Aubrey Smith, Raegan Nicely, Savannah Sartain, teacher Teresa Reed, Macy Crush, and Kaylee Nicely. Local businesses are also supporting the partnerships. (AHPS Photo)

Students, Animals Benefiting From Unique AHPS Partnerships

Low Moor, VA - mall animal care classes at Alleghany High School exemplify how strong community partnerships benefit public schools.

Small animal care classes are part of the agriculture program at AHS, which aims to prepare students for possible careers in agriculture. Small animal care has led some recent AHS graduates to pursue careers in veterinary science. The courses are part of the career-technical education (CTE) programs offered by Alleghany Highlands Public Schools.

“I have one former student who is currently a veterinary technician, and a few who are working in the animal science pathway at college. These former students are at Virginia Tech and Randolph College. Another student is going to attend Virginia Tech in the spring in its Ag Tech Program. We are happy they are fulfilling their dreams, and it started right here at Alleghany,” said Teresa Reed, who oversees the agriculture program at AHS.

Through unique partnerships with animal-care organizations and businesses in the Alleghany Highlands, students enrolled in Small Animal I and Small Animal II are gaining valuable experience in observing and caring for small animals. The animals come from the Alleghany Humane Society and Valley View Animal Rescue.

“Our students work with the animals to be able to assess their welfare, and they critique how well the animals do with people and other animals. We provide training, we wash the animals and we provide for their daily needs. All of the animals are adoptable. It’s great hands-on learning experience, and we are happy to be able to provide it,” Reed said.

“Our students are just so enthusiastic about this program,” she said. “A lot of the students who come into small animal care already have their own pets. They know about animals, and through this program, they learn even more about them. Some have never had a pet, and this is their opportunity to work with animals. The pets just love the hands-on care and attention they receive. It just helps make our students thrive in this environment and benefits the animals by helping them to learn socialization and, hopefully, receive a home.”

The community also benefits from the partnership with the students working with Alleghany Highlands Public School Division’s communication specialist to help find the animals homes. Photos of the students with the animals are posted on AHPS social media, which has led to many of the animals being adopted. The community benefits because the adoptions help to alleviate overcrowding at the local animal shelters.

Initially, the students have worked with cats.

“All of the animals have been spayed or neutered. They have been microchipped. All of their vaccines are up to date, and they have been tested for leukemia. They have everything done for them. They are just ready for good forever homes, and we hope to be able to help to provide that,” Reed said.

Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Shannon Fuhrman, AHPS’ director of technology and accountability, local businesses learned about the work being done at AHS and have generously donated funds and materials.

Lytle Realty in Covington has provided funds to cover adoption fees at the Humane Society and Valley View Animal Rescue. That means local residents can adopt the pets free of charge. Tractor Supply in Covington donated a large number of items and supplies to help students care for the animals. Food Lion in Covington donated pet food, and Walmart has pledged its support. Several of Reed’s current students have donated items, and faculty and staff across the Alleghany Highlands School Division have helped in many roles.

“Dr. Fuhrman has been instrumental in getting this program going. Without her, we would not be seeing the success that we are. She has pulled the Humane Society in from her knowledge and her connections. She has assisted us in getting everything communicated. She has even been wonderful in transporting the animals here to us.

We are very grateful to Dr. Fuhrman, and we are excited for the future possibilities of this program,” Reed said.

Persons interested in adopting animals should contact the Alleghany Humane Society at (540) 862-2436 or Valley View Animal Rescue at (540) 862-1756. Animals available through adoption through the small animal classes at AHS are regularly posted on AHPS social media. The Facebook address in AHPublicSchools. For Instagram, it’s ahpublicschools.

“There are so many students who love animals, whether it’s domestic or wild, or even livestock. I am happy to be able to provide these students with education and training here in agriculture. But with pets, it’s really rewarding because we know there is an overabundance of animals that don’t have a good home. To be part of this means a lot to me, and to be able to do something for the community shows these students what it means to be contributors to their community. It’s paving the way for good leaders for the future,” she said.

For information about the small animal care classes at AHS, contact Reed at teresa.reed@ahps.k12.va.us.

The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was formed on July 1, 2022, when Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center merged. The school division is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. It serves approximately 2,700 students.

AHPS news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and on Instagram at ahpublicschools. Information is also available at www.ahps.k12.va.us.

AHS junior Emalee Potter lovingly holds a cat she is learning to care for as part of a small animal care class. Animals being cared for by the students are available for adoption. (AHPS Photo)


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