Pucker Up: A principal’s pre-Thanksgiving payoff

Yukon’s Amy Young kisses pig to thank students for helping homeless pets

Independence Intermediate School Assistant Principal Shannon Dutton (left) sings an original song to Wilbur the pig at the Nov. 18th “Feel Good Friday” assembly. Head Principal Amy Young had just kissed the pig twice as part of a Student Council-led fund-raising drive for Pets & People. At right is Wilbur’s owner, Pets & People board member Kyle Woodall. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A Yukon principal “puckered up” as a pre-Thanksgiving payoff for her students raising funds to save homeless animals.

Independence Intermediate School, 500 E Vandament, hosted a “Let’s Give Thanks to Support Paws in Our Community” coin drive from Nov. 1-17.

Some $2,326.87 in coins and paper money was collected for Pets & People Humane Society.

“Many of our students have adopted from Pets & People over the years,” said Independence Head Principal Amy Young, a self-professed animal lover.

Young more than did her part on Nov. 18 by kissing a pig – twice – during the school’s “Feel Good Friday” assembly. Her actions proved to be an appropriate reward for the student body’s fund-raising proficiency.

Pastor Kyle Woodall offered his 25-pound pig for the kissing ceremony.

Wilbur was a bit nervous and wouldn’t leave his cage despite the efforts of Woodall and fellow Pets & People board member Peggy Nichols.

So Young got down on the floor inside the school gym to commence the kissing.

Afterward, Assistant Principal Shannon Dutton sang to the pig an original song she had written.

Enough funds were raised to help Pets & People save 48 cats and dogs who will be ready for adoption.

It was the Independence Student Council’s decision to give to Pets & People.

“The kids feel very invested in that we’re helping local pets,” Principal Young shared. “They also understand that the beauty of Pets & People is that we take pets that people didn’t want – and now they’re going to be part of a family.”

IIS Student Council members will participate in an on-site community service project on Dec. 7 at the Pets & People adoption/rescue center, 9733 NW 4th in eastern Canadian County.

The students will make dog and cat toys and enjoy “play time” with animals under Pets & People’s care.

“They will be able to see the pets that this drive directly supported,” Young said.

Independence Intermediate School Principal Amy Young on Nov. 18 kisses Wilbur the pig during the school’s “Feel Good Friday” assembly. The pig kissing culminated a coin drive that raised $2,326.87 for Pets & People Humane Society. The funds will help save 48 cats and dogs. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)


Student Council representatives from each IIS homeroom class “wanted to do something for November to give back to the community,” Young explained.

The Independence principal commended the 27 students for their leadership in running this fund-raiser on their own.

“Every morning, our Student Council members came and got their class bucket, picked up the donations from their class and brought it to the office,” Young said. “Then they gave up part of their recess time, each day, to send the change through our change counter and help us keep a rolling total.”

Independence had a competition among the school’s 27 homeroom classes to see which could bring in the most money.

The winner was teacher Cassie McCarthey’s fourth-grade classroom, which collected $419.14.

“As a reward for raising the most money, they will be getting a pizza party and game time in our courtyard,” Young noted.

As part of the effort, $231.09 was donated in honor of Lizzie Bennett.

Pets & People Humane Society is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that rescues pets in peril and ensures they are adopted into loving, responsible homes.

Independence’s creative head principal is a longtime Pets & People volunteer, also formerly serving as part-time executive director of the Canadian County non-profit.

Young leads a YPS intermediate school with 760 students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades.

See more coverage and view more photos at www.yukonprogress.com.

Pets & People board members, from left, Peggy Nichols, Paula Jay and Suzanne Cannon stand besides Independence Elementary School Student Council members after they revealed how much money was raised in a pre-Thanksgiving “Let’s Give Thanks to Support Paws in Our Community” coin drive. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)