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Hampton students stand up for animal shelter

Photo by Brandon Hicks

Group hug! Animal Control Officer Shayna Winson shares a hug with members of the Hampton High School Beta Club after they dropped off donations collected for the animal shelter.

The Hampton High School Beta Club rallied a whole high school to help one of the most vulnerable portions of Carter County’s community, the homeless pets at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.
On Thursday afternoon, the Beta Club delivered cases of food and treats, cleaning supplies and bags of blankets, toys and pillows for the cats and dogs at the shelter. They also brought a check for monetary donations that were collected so the shelter can buy supplies they need that were not included.
“This is wonderful,” said shelter employee Wendy Mathes. “We really needed the supplies. We can always use them.”
Beta Club sponsor Diana Bowers said the idea for the supply drive came solely from the students in the club.
“The Beta Club is half academic and half service,” Bowers said. “We started talking about what we were going to do for our second semester project and the students wanted to help the animal shelter.”
Students worked on the fundraiser drive for around a month. Bowers said Beta Club Vice-President Tessa Stevenson and Emma Watson led the students in the efforts for the shelter.
They made posters and rallied the student body, along with teachers in the school, to participate in the their efforts.
“We are passionate about helping the underprivileged animals in the community,” Stevenson said.
Bowers said the club organized a “hat day” for the school. Students could pay $1 and would be allowed to wear a hat, which is otherwise against the school dress code, for the day. All money collected went to the animal shelter.
For the rest of the month, club members brought in donations for the shelter. But, they weren’t alone in their efforts.
“Students outside of the Beta Club, and even some teachers, started helping out and bringing in donations,” Bowers said. “The whole school got involved. People were always asking how they could help.”
Club members were surprised by all the support the drive found with the other members of the school community,.
“We got a lot more of the bigger items than I thought we would,” Stevenson said. “We had five or six people bringing in the bigger bags of food.”
County Animal Control officer Shayna Winson was pleased to see a group take an interest in the shelter.
“It is great to see the community come together and do something for the animal shelter, especially a group of high school students,” Winson said. “It is great. We use all the supplies we get.”