The Raymond Hill School of Klingberg Family Centers offers many unusual, if not unique resources to the 110 students currently enrolled there. One of the most popular programs at RHS is the Maritime Center, in which students can participate in the care of various types of sea life, as well as animals from dry land.
Instructors Geoff Johnson and Jim McDermott continue to enhance the program with some interesting and therapeutic additions to better serve the student body. Currently any RHS student who needs a healthy way of dealing with emotional upset, has the option of finding some relief by visiting Lily the rabbit in the Maritime Center. According to Geoff, Lily’s presence is “strictly therapeutic”. Under the proper circumstances, Geoff will provide a student with a chair and a handful of rabbit treats, and then allow the student to interact quietly with Lily, until calm is restored. Geoff says that feeding, petting or simply observing Lily can be just the right therapy for a student who needs assistance getting themselves back on track.
In addition to caring for a ‘therapeutic rabbit’, Geoff and Jim raise Bobwhite Quail in springtime, which, once hatched, serve as a calming force for RHS students. This year the quail eggs went into the Maritime Center incubator on April 4 and began hatching, as usual, after about 23 days. [Jim McDermott is nervously monitoring the few remaining eggs that have not yet hatched!] At about two months old, the Bobwhites will be released in the area around KFC’s prayer-rock. Before then however, RHS students flock to the Maritime Center to see the chicks. According to Geoff, the students are required to be calm and gentle with the tiny chicks, as they learn that the chicks won’t be afraid if they themselves are calm. The ‘quail experience’ serves as reinforcement to each student, regarding the importance of controlling their own emotions.