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How these Haw Creek Elementary students won $2,000 in a radio contest by making dog treats
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Haw Creek special education students pose with their teachers and Principal Ashley Johnessee before meeting virtually with Star 94's host, Jenn Hobby. Photo courtesy of Haw Creek Elementary School.

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Maggie, left, and Margot sit in front of Sadie as they all wait on delicious treats hand made by Haw Creek's students. Photo courtesy of Delta Community Credit Union.
Haw Creek Elementary School’s special education students recently won $2,000 as part of Star 94’s Give Back Giveaway contest for their work making and selling dog treats to raise money for the Humane Society of Forsyth County.

Students started making the treats this year after Ashley Johnessee took up her first principalship at the school with her therapy dog, Maggie, in tow.

The labradoodle is a rescue from the Humane Society and received therapy dog training from Scot Rucker, owner of Rucker Dog Training, who has now donated several dogs to schools across Forsyth where they have the chance to serve students.

Maggie joined two other four-legged friends at Haw Creek’s campus, Sadie and Margot, and they quickly became the face of the school. And with that, the students decided they wanted to give back to pups like them.

Working with their teachers, Haw Creek’s special education students started spending time in their cooking class every Friday to whip up a batch of fresh Husky Pack Treats that they now also market, sell and deliver to staff and families all over campus to raise funds for the Humane Society.

“When we came here to Haw Creek, watching the students here make their commitment and connection to giving back so that dogs like Maggie have an opportunity to serve in schools across our district is one of the most proud moments of my life,” Johnessee said. “They are the best kids you will ever meet.”

That is why school leaders decided to submit the students’ work into Star 94’ Give Back Giveaway contest where they won the runner-up prize of $2,000 awarded by Delta Community Credit Union to help grow their business on campus.

Before announcing the prize, Star 94 host Jenn Hobby and other representatives with the radio show and Delta Community Credit Union spoke on a video call with the students and their teachers.

“There’s so many dogs and cats and animals that need forever families and need good homes to go to, so I know those funds you raised were really so important in making our community better,” Hobby told each of the students on the call. “That is what the Give Back Giveaway is all about because no matter what age, you can serve others in your community.”

Natasha Breunig, a special education teacher, said she couldn’t be happier with the program as her students not only learn to support their community but also learn valuable skills they can take with them outside of school.

“I’m overjoyed just watching them grow in their skills,” she said.

And each of the teachers said they were excited to see how the business continues to grow in the future for their students. Johnessee said their team is now working on a website to share with Haw Creek families that will share more about the program and document their success going forward.

Community members can keep up with Haw Creek’s canines on Instagram in the meantime by following @hawcreekhuskies. Maggie and Margot also have their own Instagram pages, @meet.magnolia and @moments_with_margot.

“This group of students is truly the best, most joy-filled classroom on our campus,” Johnessee said. “I’ve had so much fun getting to know them this year …. The work they are doing is inspiring other students across our district to really say, ‘Hey, we can do things and we can be leaders in our building.’ And these students are definitely leaders.”