More than 600 Fairfield Freshman School students raise money for the pet shelter

Check for $3,040 donated to Animal Friends Humane Society on last day of school.

FAIRFIELD — Michael Berkemeier was a proud principal, and it had nothing to do with what his freshmen students had accomplished in the classroom.

He knows some of the most important life lessons are learned outside the building.

More than 600 Fairfield Freshman School students recently participated in a walk-a-thon to raise money for the Animal Friends Humane Society. Every student donated $5, and on Thursday morning, the last day of the school year, a check for $3,040 was presented to the Butler County animal organization.

“What a great learning experience and celebration for them,” Berkemeier said as students petted Gucci, a dog available for adoption, and walked through the animal mobile to view the cats.

Seeing some animals that potentially could benefit from the students’ donation “puts more of a human feel on it,” Berkemeier said. “It’s abstract until they see something physical.”

Debbie Gerstner, an Animal Friends Humane Society volunteer, said when students put “something else before themselves, it makes them giving adults.”

One of those students was Kaydence Cornett, who said her family has adopted several cats from the nonprofit agency. Next year, after her 16th birthday, Kaydence hopes to volunteer with the animals.

Animal Friends Humane Society takes in more than 5,000 animals a year, said Linda Dunaway, president of the board. She said donations are used to spay, neuter and microchip the animals and pay for medical expenses and staffing.

Dunaway said the animal shelter is at capacity after taking in 15 puppies on Wednesday.


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