By Tristan Roach
Baron Buddies is teaming up with Saving Lives of Threatened Species club to teach special education students about endangered and threatened animals for the first time. SLOTH club members go into special education classrooms during seventh period every Tuesday to give a five to ten minute presentation on animals that they have helped save.
“[Biology teacher and SLOTH club advisor] Dr. [Michelle] Mardahl and I thought about what a great idea it would be to pair up, because my students would be very interested about the endangered animals and they’d really enjoy one of their peers coming into the classroom to talk to them about it,” special education teacher Ashton Tanner said.
At first, the collaboration was planned to be short term, but now SLOTH club believes it has the potential to continue far into the this school year and possibly into next year.
“It can go on forever as far as I’m concerned. We’re presenting one animal per week, there’s only 19 weeks and we have 35 animals. The students have signed up for every Tuesday so we have enough to last us the rest of year,” Mardahl said.
The interaction helps the Baron Buddies organization, whose goal is for special education students to become more involved with the rest of the student body. Through this interaction, special education students are able to talk with their peers while still learning new and interesting material.
“SLOTH club has been coming in during seventh period leisure class. Leisure period for my students is about practicing their communication skills,” Tanner said.
SLOTH club members also think that the collaboration will bring benefits to their organization. By collaborating with Baron Buddies, they are able to participate in more events around the school.
“I really wanted to join in on something more for the club and I wanted to be more involved in the community,” junior and three year member of SLOTH club Josh Jimenez said.
The Sweetwater Union High School District, more specifically Bonita Vista High School, have various different inclusivity plans in order to ensure the inclusion of all students. In fact, the interaction between Baron Buddies and SLOTH began at a faculty meeting where Mardahl and Tanner were discussing the inclusiveness of the school, specifically through SLOTH club and Baron Buddies.
“I think that BVH does a great job in including everyone. It’s just a wonderful environment the students are so supportive and just really welcoming for all,” Tanner said.
The collaboration between SLOTH club and Baron Buddies sets a precedent for other clubs and organizations on campus to come together in order to make a more accepting and including community.
“It’s a way for SLOTH club to get some community involvement and make us better people, not so we just learn about animals and research it, but that’s also just a sign of being a kind person and it’s fulfilling to teach something to someone that they might really enjoy,” junior SLOTH club co-president Emma Rand said.