BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - This holiday season, the students at Bay High showed they have a ton of love for our four legged friends.
The goal was to collect 1,400 pounds of pet food. However, once all the bags and cans were counted, the students had come through with 2,600 pounds of food for homeless dogs and cats at the Waveland Animal Shelter.
"Because it's the right thing to do," said junior Shelby Martin. "It's something that everybody needs to do."
Teachers said the food drive was more than an opportunity to earn extra credit. They made a point to explain to students about the plight of the animals at the Waveland shelter.
"We've been to the shelter and we've seen the animals," said Ann Lathrop, the teacher who initiated the food drive. "We just decided that it was time to help those who can't help themselves and we chose the four-legged ones. "
At Bay High, giving back is part of the curriculum. Bay High Students must complete 20 hours a year of community service to graduate.
"It teaches kids to give back," Principal Andy Parker said. "We were so fortunate after Katrina to receive all kinds of help from others, and now it's our turn to give back to our community and to others."
"I think community service is something that has to be ingrained in them at some point or another, because without it, where is the world going to go from there?" asked science teacher Tom Woodward.
The importance of helping others is a lesson Bay High students say they're happy to learn.
"I think it's a good thing to start young, so when you grow up it should come natural," student Theron Resor said. "You should want to do it."
Teachers at Bay High will also be rewarded for their efforts. The principal agreed to make a home cooked meal for the department that collected the most pet food. The winner was the science department.