Brownstown students complete project for Red Sky Rescue



Puppy time was on the line.

For a week in September, the fourth-period classes at Brownstown Central High School competed against each other to collect items to donate to Red Sky Rescue, a nonprofit dog shelter in Medora.

The shelter’s needs included dog food, dog toys, dog treats, bleach, newspapers and dish soap.

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As students brought in items, points were awarded based on the type of product donated. For example, a 15-pound bag of dog food was worth 50 points.

In the end, Stephanie Hackman’s class had the most points, so the students earned puppy time. Red Sky Rescue volunteers Morgan Lowe and Sandy Sullivan brought two puppies, named Squeaky and Teddy, to the school. That also allowed them to educate the students on what Red Sky Rescue does, which includes rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming abandoned dogs in Jackson County.

The project was organized by the Top Dogs team in Robin Perry’s principles of business management class: Marco Marin, Riley Roberts, Macey Stuckwisch, Kylee Wischmeier, Karinda Greene, Carly Brown, Makenna Temple-Guthrie, Lane Boles and Joey Farace.

"It was honestly pretty shocking to see that much stuff collected in just one week from our small school. It’s also great to see that we can all just come together as one big group to help a problem. It’s nice seeing teamwork," said Farace, a junior.

"It was really nice to see how our small school can come together for people that are in need, or in this case, dogs that are in need, which is really awesome to see that," Roberts, a senior, said.

"It was great to see our school rally together to support the community, especially because it seemed like at first, we would go checking and there wouldn’t be too much stuff," said Stuckwisch, a junior. "Then once we got it all together, it was like, ‘Oh, there really is a lot of stuff.’ I’m just glad to see our school rally around us to help support a good cause."

Perry’s class is involved in the Lead4Change Student Leadership Program. The leadership curriculum has a framework for community service, and lessons are integrated into any subject area and all class or club settings, according to

Designed to teach students in grades 6 through 12 how to lead and serve, Lead4Change is privately funded and available at no cost to educators and youth club advisers.

Since 2012, 1.5 million students have put their leadership skills to work, according to the website. The program was created by the Foundation for Impact on Literacy and Learning and Lift a Life Novak Family Foundation.

At the beginning of the school year, Perry had her students identify issues and needs in the community.

After other considerations, Stuckwisch said her group wound up choosing Red Sky Rescue.

"We all had an interest in dogs, and we thought we could use that to get people involved," she said.

"Everyone has an interest in dogs, and most people here from Jackson County own animals or live around farms, and so that just impacts our lives," Roberts said.

"I know Red Sky has lots of dogs to take care of, so I know it’s hard for them to get the funds to get the stuff they need," Farace said. "They need food and toys, so I figured instead of having to gather money for them, if we could just add (the items) directly, that might be a bit easier on them."

Brown and Temple-Guthrie visited Red Sky Rescue to learn about its work and supplies needed.

Once they received approval from Principal Joe Sheffer, the group publicized the project to the school using the catchphrase "Products for puppies."

Farace recorded an elevator speech and helped Brown with a video that was sent to teachers to explain the project, and the supply drive was promoted via fliers, announcements and emails.

"It spread pretty fast because I heard there was lots of competition between the other classes," Farace said.

"Immediately after the first announcement, it was, ‘OK, we want puppy time’ because that was our whole goal, puppy time," Stuckwisch said. "We were like, ‘Oh, who’s going to get it?’"

Hackman’s class enjoyed puppy time during fourth period Oct. 1, and the Top Dogs team spent fifth period helping Lowe and Sullivan load the donations into a van to take to Red Sky Rescue.

"They told us about the side stories of how the dogs come to them when they first get there and how we were such an impact on them in helping them out," Roberts said. "They always worry about where they are going to get their food from and all of the expenses that they have got to take into account. They said that they were blessed to have us giving donations."

Red Sky Rescue later thanked the school for the donations in a post on Facebook.

"We are so grateful for all the supplies the students had collected for our shelter," the post said. "Lots of fun was enjoyed by all."

Perry said she’s proud of the Top Dogs team.

"They are very capable young adults," she said. "Giving them the leeway to plan and execute their project, they did a nice job. The kids were proud of themselves carting it all out and putting it in the van. Everybody was really happy that they were able to contribute like that."

Perry said one student did a similar project last year, and this one further sparked her interest in a career raising money for a nonprofit organization. Other students have expressed interest in helping Red Sky Rescue in the future.

"I heard some kids talking in the hall about how they wanted to donate some time out there to just work with the puppies," Perry said. "A lot of students have a heart for animals and dogs, and that’s a very niche area that those folks are able to contribute to, and they enjoy contributing to that."

The Top Dogs team was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the project.

"It felt really nice to just go out and help something like a cause in need," Farace said. "I don’t normally get to do a lot of food drives or (other projects), but when I do, I like to bring in a lot of stuff. I really care about helping, so it was really nice to help."

Riley said it was empowering to do something that impacts others, while Stuckwisch said the project helped the team grow as individuals.

"It was good seeing the business aspect of it because we were doing it as a business class," Stuckwisch said. "We learned those skills along with the program being able to help our community."

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Another group in Robin Perry’s principles of business management class at Brownstown Central High School is doing a dodge ball tournament to raise money for Amethyst House in Bloomington.

The not-for-profit United Way agency provides residential and outpatient services for people with drug and alcohol addiction and problem gambling issues. It also offers additional outpatient services in Evansville through Counseling for Change.

The tournament will be from 1:45 to 2:10 p.m. Oct. 30 in the high school gymnasium. The cost to play is $8, and teams should have 10 to 15 players. There is a minimum of two teams and a maximum of four.

Students can sign up at school the week before the tournament.

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For information about Red Sky Rescue, visit or, call 812-216-6310 or email [email protected].


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