On Saturday, May 3, the Beartooth Humane Alliance (BHA) honored students at Carbon County Schools with awards for a contest called "Breaking the Chain." Teachers were encouraged to have their students complete essays on the topic of a fictional abused dog named Barkley. “We chose a 1st place and an honorable mention from each school,” said Diane Zook, Executive Director of BHA. Earlier that morning, the winners toured the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary for a unique behind the scenes look at the animals. Afterwards, the children and their families were treated to a pizza party at the Red Lodge Pizza Company. “The 1st place winners will also have their names and/or a link to their conclusions published in our bi-weekly electronic newsletter, The Mewsletter, our summer print newsletter, Paw Prints, on our website (beartoothhumane.org) and the Carbon County News,” said Zook.
The following students received awards: Belfry Students: Grade 6: First Place: Alyssa Thormahlen, Honorable Mention: Regina Fisher; Joliet: Grade 6: First Place: Megan Riehl, Honorable Mention: Jordan Grewell; Roberts: Grade 6: First Place, Presten Ehrlich, Honorable Mention: Grade 4: Titus Hinkle; Red Lodge: Grade 5: Emma Evenson, Honorable Mention: Grade 5: Liddia Fontaine. The students wrote stories about a dog named Barkley who was chained up and abused by his owner. The results were far ranging and creative. All the stories involved a squirrel named Rodeo who was saved by Barkley when his head was stuck in a yogurt container. All the children had Rodeo returning the favor by rescuing him. The ideas flowed with one student, Presten Ehrlich, even setting an elaborate plot with rescue bulls added to the scene. “I love writing,” said winner Emma Evenson, Red Lodge. “I liked it!” she said of the assignment.
“Our teacher gave it to us. I think kids will learn from the stories.” In all the essays, action was taken to rescue the dog and bring him to the BHA. Filled with pizza and holding their awards, the children were all smiles. Like the stories, for all these young writers, the day had a happy ending.