Aim High Canines brings big smiles to first PQ assembly since Covid

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School-wide assemblies were one of the many programs put on hiatus at PQ during Covid. On Thursday, May 20th, Aim High Canines brought back PQ assemblies with a bang. Aim High Canines(AHC), led by trainer Haeleigh Hyatt, performed for 3 separate groups (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) in the outdoor classroom. The AHC perform disc, agility, tricks, and more at fairs, festivals, and private events across the United States. 

Photo by Sae Kim

According to the Aim High Canines website: "Haeleigh Hyatt has been training dogs since 2009, when she signed up for an agility class on a whim. Since then, she has become an accomplished trick trainer and a world class exhibitor in the sport of canine freestyle flying disc...She trains using positive methods and believes in helping every dog reach its full potential."

Photo by Sae Kim

Shelley Grasinger, who heads the PTO assemblies committee, was excited that PQ could utilize its outdoor classroom space to have an assembly while maintaining social distancing.  "With assemblies on hold for well over a year, we were thrilled to bring the spontaneity and fun of a dog agility show to the students of PQ," Grasinger said. "Fresh air, sunshine, and tall pines made for a stunning backdrop of this unique shared experience." 

Photo by Sae Kim

 Working within the confines of social distancing requirements, Hyatt was able to incorporate audience participation into the performance, much to the delight of the students. One of these activities was a contest between two children for the best of 3 frisbee throws to one of the canine stars. The participants were allowed to keep the frisbees.

Photo by Sae Kim

The show was met by rave reviews across all grades. Fifth grader Isabella Ryan said, "I was amazed at how different dogs were good at different skills and I loved that they got to perform their favorite tricks. They looked so happy doing what they loved!"

Photo by Sae Kim

Second grader Leah Barnett said, "It was really, really amazing. It's the best thing that's happened at school all year."

Photo by Sae Kim

Kindergartener Ellie Ortiz said, "I loved it. My favorite part was when the dog jumped rope with a hula hoop."

Photo by Sae Kim

Not only did ACH provide a much needed fun, feel-good visual performance, it also  incorporated the theme of overcoming challenges. Each of the dogs has a story. According to its website, ACH believes that "every person and every dog has what it takes to be great! All of our dogs have overcome significant challenges to become the stars that they are today. Some of them wouldn't be here if not for our perseverance!"

Donna Kim Varga, who works with Grasinger on the Assembly committee, said, "Each rescue dog's back story was so inspiring." According to Varga, her second grader, Nicky, gave the show two very enthusiastic thumbs up.   "Nicky said it was the best school day of his life."

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