Those who think today’s students are not focused or involved with their community need to sit back and digest what 30 Lakeland high school students accomplished. Under the direction of teacher Mr. Robert Albaugh, his business management and finance class accomplished a project where 100% of the proceeds will go to the ARK Animal Sanctuary in LaGrange to support the care and nutrition of each animal.
The beginning stages of the project included hanging teasers in the hall way of Lakeland High School to create an interest. While pictures of dogs and cats are not a common wall hanging in a high school this by itself created some questions as to what was going on. The class divided into 6 groups in a span of 12 weeks designed a letter for potential businesses that would help offset the cost of the calendar, took pictures, created, developed, printed and distributed 1,000 calendars of furry friends from the Sanctuary that need forever homes.
Albaugh, coming from a business background, tossed some ideas out to the students at the beginning of the school year and the class voted to run with the animal calendar. Designing a product, deciding on a price, promoting the product and distribution were all class determined.
Acquiring sponsorships was perhaps the most challenging, writing letters, following up with phone calls, meeting potential sponsors and then finally landing those 14 businesses and people who would actually contribute to the project. Spending time at the Sanctuary taking pictures, getting to know the animals, finding just that perfect pose took many clicks of many cameras. Deciding on what pictures to use and where to use them was also left up to the class to decide.
According to Albaugh the best part of the project was watching the students engaged while the most challenging was the sponsorship; stating, “It was an extremely difficult project, but extremely rewarding as well.”
Senior Jaylen Priestly said “it was a difficult project but impossible is nothing…the word itself means it’s possible.”
Cory Weslock member of the class said “the project was a great experience; we helped the community and people for a cause. Every person loves animals in some way.” Brian Cochran from ARK Sanctuary shared with the class that animals are sent here to teach us the 3 basic laws. Unconditional love, celebrate every day, and forgive everyone.
Projects are not new to Albaugh’s class he was responsible for setting up the school store last year and a recycling program. The class is offered one time per school year and the chances of developing a tradition with the calendar is a serious possibility. Those establishments that have calendars for sale are: Lakeland High School, Lakeland Middle School, Wolcott Mills Elementary, Lakeland Corporation Office, Paws and Claws Bookstore in Howe, The ARK Animal Sanctuary, Millers Super Value in Lagrange, Topeka Pharmacy, and Shipshewana Blue Gate Restaurant. Cost for a calendar is a $5.00 donation.