City Council Honors Animal Essay Contest Winners

City officials visited various schools last month to surprise the 12 winning students of the 16th annual Arlington Animal Essay Contest, but the excitement for these students and their accomplishments didn’t stop there.

The Arlington City Council also recognized these students for their exceptional essays Tuesday, March 7, following a special reception at City Hall.

Each essay winners received a Kindle Fire, which was donated by Arlington Professional Fire Fighters Association and the City of Arlington, as well as a $100 savings account, provided by EECU, the Arlington Professional Fire Fighters Association and the City of Arlington.

More than 1,300 third through sixth-grade students entered in the essay contest to help raise awareness and promote responsible pet ownership. Each grade level was given a different prompt to allow creativity on the topic.

Third grades were asked which animal or insect they would be and why. First-place Winner Amber Bains would be a monarch butterfly and “fly all day and wrap my wings around myself at night. I would also be very careful because different animals might want to eat me whole!”

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Fourth-grade first place winner Kyle Crissey took the opportunity to advocate for animals and recognize the responsibility it is to have a pet when asked what animals need aside from food, shelter, and water. “Having a pet is very fun but it is also a serious responsibility.  It is a living creature just like a human and needs to have constant care, protection, exercise, and love to survive,” said Crissey in his essay.

Payton Sheehan, the first-place winner of the fifth-grade category used her paw jokes to explain what she thinks should be done to improve the lives of animals. “You can be an animal advocate in your neighborhood too!  Paw, I mean put, out water and food bowls for cats and dogs in your area & ask your neighbors to do it too!  There are a lot of stray animals that need our care.”

Thinking toward the future sixth grader Ella Trammel used her imagination and love for animals to come up with ideas of how animal shelters should be different in 2060. In her first-place essay Trammel suggested animals from shelters go to “nursing homes, [where] the pets could be used to entertain or provide comfort for the residents. In retirement homes, the shelters could be run by residents who are willing and able to provide care for the pets and work towards getting these pets adopted.”