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Idaho Voices

Education Notes: Rescue dog shows its skills

Sun., Nov. 7, 2010

Otis, the FEMA rescue dog, stopped by to visit the second-grade class at Holy Family Catholic School in Coeur d’Alene.
Otis, the FEMA rescue dog, stopped by to visit the second-grade class at Holy Family Catholic School in Coeur d’Alene.

Otis, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s in-training rescue dog, recently spent time with Anita Dahmen’s second-grade students at Holy Family Catholic School.

The 1-year-old black Lab is being trained by Coeur d’Alene firefighter Jeff Sells, who began the Idaho Disaster Dogs after 9/11 with his wife, Janelle.

Otis showed the students what he’s been learning as Sells explained each command and they enjoyed watching Otis receive treats for obeying commands and learning new ones. During his visit, the second-graders had an opportunity to see what Otis would do as a rescue dog. Sells shared with the students what Otis still has to learn in his next two years of training before he earns his badge as a FEMA dog.

In an e-mail, Holy Family development Director Stormie Woolsey said, “The kids loved having Otis come, and they were like little sponges. They wanted to learn all they could about how to raise a rescue dog as well as play with Otis.”

To learn more about the rescue dogs visit Idaho Disaster Dogs at

Also, students, families and staff at Holy Family Catholic School will honor Veterans Day on Thursday with a special assembly, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The celebration will include the presentation of colors by the Holy Family Boy Scouts; the band will play the “Star Spangled Banner,” there will be a blessing of the honor wall and students will sing a song of thanks to the soldiers in Baghdad who planned to attend the assembly via Skype.

For more information, call the school office at (208) 765-4327.

CdA Charter, Classical Christian win math meet

High school students in North Idaho were honored at the 29th annual North Idaho College Math Contest.

According to a press release from NIC, students from Lake City High School, Coeur d’Alene High School, Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, Lakeland High School, Post Falls High School, Sandpoint High School, Classical Christian Academy, Potlatch High School and Timberlake Junior/Senior High School participated in the Nov. 2 competition. The math whizzes were tested on problems in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, basic principles of calculus, probability and the math of computers and logic.

Participating schools were separated by seniors and nonseniors in two divisions, large school Division I and small school Division II.

First place winners in each division received plaques and other prizes and the first-place senior in each division received a waiver for tuition and fees at NIC.

Plaques were awarded to the school in each division with the top score, which is based on the total of each school’s top three individual scores.

In Division I Coeur d’Alene Charter took first place, Sandpoint second and Coeur d’Alene third.

In Division II, Classical Christian Academy finished first, Potlatch second and Timberlake third.

Division I seniors results: Lewis Ellis, of Coeur d’Alene Charter, first; Brita Olson, Sandpoint, second; Danny Pfeifer, Sandpoint, third; Nick Induni, Coeur d’Alene, honorable mention.

Division II seniors: Ben Odell, Timberlake, first; David Bosse, Classical Christian, second; Alyssa Miller, Potlatch, third.

Division I nonseniors: Kantaporn Praikanarat, Coeur d’Alene Charter, first; Brian Smith, Coeur d’Alene Charter, second; Jonah Grubb, Coeur d’Alene Charter, third. Division II nonseniors: Timothy Darrow, Classical Christian, first; Isaac Curtis, Potlatch, second; Tyler Dahl, Classical Christian, third.

Eighth-graders cook up food drive competition

Eighth-grade mentors and the Idaho Drug Free Youth at Canfield Middle School have challenged the IDFY at Woodland Middle School in a food drive competition.

Beginning Nov. 15, nonperishable food items and toiletries will be collected in students’ advisory classes. According to information on the Canfield website, the advisory class with the greatest number of items at the end of the week will receive a pizza party in appreciation for helping those in need in the community.

Donations are also being collected during Canfield’s student-led conferences on Nov. 17.

Rainey Coffin can be reached at (509) 927-2166 or via e-mail at

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