Pre-Law hosts annual K-9 event

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About 30 officers from different police departments in Florida, along with teachers, students and outside guests, gathered at the athletic field at 6 p.m. April 15 for a significant cause. The “K-9 Cause” founded by the Pre-Law department’s head, Mrs. Nikki Laurie and her son, freshman Jackson Laurie, is “all about the dogs and giving back to them.” 

The fund started five years ago when after seeing the K-9 Healthcare Cause sitting at the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital with no money, Mrs. Nikki Laurie decided she wanted to create something with it. One of the vets, Dr. Herrington initially found the cause due to the high number of police officers who visited the hospital with their injured K-9 dog.  

It was created in order to assist the police officers with their care for the K-9 dogs because if the police officer, who does not have a high salary, decides to keep the retired K-9 dog and pay for it, the full responsibility is left to them. 

“The cause is created to offset the funds; because the dogs deserve it, they work their whole life. We created this cause to raise money and cover for every retired working dog in Broward County,” Laurie said. 

 In this “K-9 Cause,” student artists entered their preferred artwork for service hours. All funds raised from the sold artwork went to the fund which then gave $3000 to the retired police dogs. 

The event started with a demonstration from the K-9 dog and the officers on the football field, which helped display the service K-9 dogs provide for the community. The K-9 dog, following an officer’s instructions, attacked three other officers dressed in protective clothing. The department explained the K-9 dogs found hunting down the bad guys a fun and rewarding experience and just “like a game.”  

After the demonstration on the field, the visitors were led to view the different pieces of artwork at the athletics department. Submissions by art students included ceramics, paintings, drawings and photography. The visitors each had a single ticket they could use to vote on the piece of art they liked the best.

Police officers (left to right) Angelo Portoro, Kevin Bracke, Michael Nashed and Rachie Betensky, pose for a picture. (Photo/Kayra Dayi)

Vice President of the Pre-Law Society, junior Taeyoung Kim, explained that Pre-Law students helped at the event. “Some people sold art, some helped set up, some worked on the auctioning, some helped guide the guests around campus; a lot of people did multiple jobs,” she said. 

The Pre-Law track worked to make the night happen by preparing for the event for months and dealing with challenges due to the past week’s weather. 

“Interestingly, we were supposed to have a helicopter land for a demonstration by the K-9 unit, but it was initially canceled because of the weather. They got a thumbs up on it since the weather was better that day but just when they were supposed to come to the school, they got called in to respond to a shooting,” she said.

However, even without the helicopter, all the effort proved worth it, as the students were satisfied with how the event turned out. “I think the night turned out pretty good. There weren’t any major mishaps and the guests all seemed pretty happy,” Vice President of Internal Affairs, junior Charlotte Wu, said.

Visitors dropped off their tickets below the artwork to vote for the one they thought deserved to win best in the show. (Photo/Kayra Dayi)

Senior Victoria Sgarbi, middle, poses with her parents after selling her painting. (Photo/Kayra Dayi)

The student artists, who were invited as guests, had similar thoughts about the night. “The event was very organized and classy. It was very nice to see all the artwork put up,” sophomore Ava Miller, who submitted a drawing, said. She found participating fun, knowing it was for a good cause. 

As the night ended, tickets were counted and the winners for each category were announced. Winners of individual categories got $250 and the best overall in the show won $500. 

Keke Cen won best in show, Calista Buitrago won best painting, Teresa Soto won best drawing, Gianaa Claro won best photography, Jaylee Cypress won best ceramics, Mr. Jonathan Reid won best art teacher and Olivia Chung won best junior artist. 

For the future, Mrs. Laurie wants “to make the fund big enough and have enough money sitting there so that there is an unlimited fund that can cover the dogs in the future for every other dog retired in Broward County.”

Kayra is a rising junior who is passionate about art and journalism. She loves expressing herself and the issues she cares about through her writing and artworks. She holds officer positions in Newspaper, Quill&Scroll, and the National Art Honor Society. When not studying, Kayra loves to read nonfiction books, hangout with her friends, cook healthy meals, listen to music while creating art, and spend time with her cat and family. She is looking forward to her junior year as she prepares for AP Art and new articles to write.