A variety of artistic expressions, ranging from artwork, poems and stories, to embroidery and photography, were all on display at the South Pasadena City Council meeting Wednesday as members of the city’s Animal’s Commission showcased work from local elementary school children.
While council members admired what was before them as Erin Fleming, who serves on the city’s Animal Commission, talked about some of the 119 entries collected for this year’s Be Kind to Animals Week Art week exhibition held inside the South Pasadena Library Community Room earlier this month.
She showcased a collection as council members praised the children’s work, Mayor Dr. Marina Khubesrian summing it up saying, “They did an amazing job.”
Recognized for their achievement were dozens of students receiving certificates of appreciation from the City of South Pasadena during the ceremony thanking the children for their contributions.
The “Be Kind To Animals” Art Contest is held each year in conjunction with national “Be Kind To Animals Week,” which invites students 14 years of age and younger to participate in the contest.
The 2019 theme was “Co-existing with Wildlife,” Fleming explaining to councilmembers, “It was such an overwhelming experience” to see the quality of the submissions.
Be Kind to Animals Week in the city has a long tradition going back about 30 years and celebrates the role animals play in society while promoting ways for youngsters to treat them humanely. “It teaches kids about their environment and habitat,” explained Fleming. “They learn that we must co-exist, whether they are pets or not. It could be bugs or bees.”
Represented at the event were officials from the Pasadena Humane Society, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Shaggy Dog Rescue and other organizations providing information on how to care for animals.
Chuck Jones, owner of Jones’ Coffee in the city, presented the kids with two-for-one ice cream coupons.
After receiving certificates of recognition, the kids were recognized by Animal Commission members and South Pasadena Mayor Pro Tem Robert Joe.
“I would say we had close to 200 people in the community room when you count all the parents, grandparents and friends joining the students,” said Fleming before Wednesday’s council meeting, noting much of the event’s success rests on the shoulders of Maida Wong, who oversees the children’s department at the South Pasadena Library. The South Pasadena Library and the South Pasadena Animal Commission sponsor the popular event.
“She’s just a community gem,” said Fleming of Wong. “She helped to make all of it happen.”
A couple of months ago, entry forms were electronically distributed to SPUSD students in grades K-8 and delivered to local pre-schools.
During Wednesday’s presentation, Fleming credited Brian Jehue, a second grader teacher at Arroyo Vista, and Dawn Tull, who teaches 4th and 5th graders at Monterey Hills, for their classroom’s strong support the program.
“We got really inspired art from both those classrooms,” said Fleming. “They really went with it as a great teaching vehicle.”