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Inspired to Make a Difference

Students in Polenta Elementary’s new Project Based Learning class are learning problem-solving, teamwork, and project management skills- all while getting involved with and helping their community!


Fourth grade students are working on finding solutions to help address the problem of homeless and abused animals and the overcrowding at many shelters. After researching the causes of animal homelessness and possible solutions, one student felt compelled to look for ways she could help make a difference and start tackling the problem head-on! Turning inspiration into action, Karsen Quinn decided to start a penny drive to raise money for a local chapter of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Karsen’s parents agreed and offered to share Karsen’s fundraising endeavor on social media. Within a few days, Karsen’s “penny drive” ballooned into a fundraiser that collected over $650 for this organization!


On Saturday, January 19th, Karsen went to the ASPCA with her parents, her brother Aiden (a first grade student at Polenta) and PBL teacher Mrs. Dulmaine, to present them with her donation. They were thrilled to receive such a large donation and touched when they heard how Karsen came up with the idea. After Karsen presented the donation, she received a certificate of appreciation and a big “thank you” from the animal shelter. The group was then able to tour the shelter and visit some of the very same animals that Karsen’s donation will be helping. They were even able to pet and play with some of the bunnies, cats, and puppies at the shelter, who gave Karsen a “thank you” of their own!

Karsen and Mrs. Dulmaine