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Friends & Neighbors: Griswold students win contest

Dozens of students in the Griswold school district got to participate in an animal essay contest co-sponsored by the rescue organization All Paws on Deck and Centreville Bank that resulted in several winning $100 cash prizes, including sixth-grade winner Natasha Ali.

Students were asked to write about four animal related topics for a chance to win a prize, compliments of the bank. Each class that participated won a pizza party courtesy of Surrell’s Pizza.

Third graders used their imagination to create an animal holiday, and winner Madisyn Trowbridge-Adams made up Spoil Your Pet Day. According to her, on this holiday every pet would get special treatment.

“On this day everyone would spoil their animals with so much stuff!” she wrote. “After they get all of their toys and treats and their cake, they would get extra cuddles and pets.”

Fourth graders were challenged with the question: “How do you think animals communicate with people?” Gabriel Gabriel Dzienis, “Scientists are getting closer to creating a device that can translate animal sounds into human language. Someday we may be able to see our furry (or scaly) friends speaking a language that we understand.”.

An always controversial animal subject is the issue of breeding. Fifth grade winner Sidney Kogut found a clever way to make peace with both sides: “If I could make one rule to help care for animals, it would be that all pets need to be spayed or neutered unless the owner has a license to breed. To get a license the owner must complete a class on animal welfare (how to care for animals) and volunteer for one year with a rescue or shelter.”

Sidney’s family has been fostering and volunteering with local rescues for many years. Allix Kogut, Sidney’s mom says “One of the biggest things for me aside from the whole saving a life thing is that it’s really teaching my kids compassion in a world where that seems to be lacking. I’ve seen them go out of their way to be kind and understanding to kids at school that are struggling and I think fostering/helping the helpless has played a big part in that.”

All Paws on Deck is a foster based dog rescue and non-profit organization located in Griswold.For information, visit

To see the winning essays, visit

Friends & Neighbors highlights accomplishments of local people. To submit, email


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