Where the wild things wander

December 31, 2018

Erika Meyer inherited more than a science classroom when she accepted a position at Canterbury Lower School. Her job came with animals.

Meyer, who is in her fifth year at the private Fort Wayne school, has worked with a changing roster of class pets, including a snake, fire-bellied toads and lab rats. She now cares for Mr. Sugar, a rabbit; Philo Farnsworth, a guinea pig; Leonardo DiGecko, a leopard gecko; and Galileo, a bearded dragon.

Most days the creatures stay at school, but winter break necessitates a change.

“Everybody goes home with me,” Meyer said.

Mr. Sugar, who is free to hop around her classroom, definitely notices the change of scenery, Meyer said. She makes special accommodations for him.

“We have to rabbit-proof the house,” she said, referencing Mr. Sugar’s penchant for chewing.

The animals don’t always return when classes resume, prompting students to inquire about the pets’ whereabouts. Meyer usually plays to the children’s imagination by making up stories about the pets’ absence, such as they wanted to sleep in, she said.

First- through fourth-graders visit the science lab.

Lessons aren’t specifically designed around Mr. Sugar, Philo, Leo and Galileo, but students learn from them nonetheless.

Their eating habits and classroom habitats can lead to discussions about the food chain and their natural environments, Meyer said, and the guinea pig’s name can spark research about former city resident Philo T. Farnsworth. He was a major contributor to the invention of television.

A few students have asked to care for the pets temporarily. Meyer is open to it : she requests parents email her : but the situation has yet to happen, she said.

For the weekends, Meyer leaves the animals plenty of water and food. She knows what sight will greet her on Mondays : Mr. Sugar, raring to get out of his cage.



• Ivy Tech Community College will conduct an Express Enrollment Week from Wednesday through Saturday. In Fort Wayne, hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Student Life Center, 3701 Dean Drive. Warsaw hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 2545 Silveus Crossing. Receive help with assessment, financial aid and advising. Students should bring their most recent tax returns for financial aid review and their previous high school (if they graduated in the past four years) or college transcripts for assessment. Go to www.ivytech.edu/EEDay for more information. Spring semester begins Jan. 14.

• East Allen County Schools will conduct Walk Through Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays in January. No appointment is necessary to tour the schools. Call 260-446-0100 or go to www.eacs.k12.in.us for more information.

• Andreas Widmer, author of “The Pope & The CEO: Pope Saint John Paul II’s Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard,” will be the featured speaker at the University of Saint Francis’ 2019 Servus Omnium Lecture. The event begins at 7 a.m. March 5 at the Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, 431 W. Berry St. Widmer : who co-founded The SEVEN Fund, a philanthropic organization promoting enterprise solutions to poverty : speaks at 7:45 a.m. Tickets are 15 at the door and $80 per table. Go to https://servusomnium2019.eventbrite.com to buy tickets. Corporate sponsorships are available. Contact Lance Richey, vice president of academic affairs, at 260-399-8112 or lrichey@sf.edu for more information.


• For the first time, Garrett High School will have two CyberPatriot teams competing in the Gold Division during the State Round of the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense competition on Jan. 11. CyberPatriot challenges students nationwide to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. Garrett’s teams include seniors Josh Blessinger, Logan Brewer, Katline Cook and Dawes Dircksen; juniors Caleb Thimlar and Nicholas Yoder; and Creigh Dircksen and Noah Dapp. They are coached by Bill Thomas and sponsored by Air Force Association Chapter 143 of Fort Wayne.

• The Indiana Commission for Higher Education announced Purdue University’s Purdue Promise and Ivy Tech Community College’s Associate Accelerated Program received the 2018 Stan Jones Student Success Award. Purdue’s program combines four years of financial assistance with intensive, specialized aid for 21st Century Scholars.


• Thirteen graduating seniors in Trine University’s Allen School of Engineering & Technology were inducted into the Order of the Engineer. They included Chelsea Oakley of Auburn and Zachary Shepard of Angola.


• Warsaw Community Schools will soon launch Alertus, a unified emergency mass notification and crisis communication system that will improve communication and safety alerts throughout the district. Should a threat be identified, district safety responders will be able to send alerts instantly and directly to classroom desktop computers, school public announcement systems, digital signage and mobile devices, among other devices. Implementation begins in January.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net.

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net at least two weeks before the desired publication date.

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