Need Service Hours? Try Dissecting Rats!


Xavier students dissecting a rat for service hours. Photo from Hannah Shulski ’19.

Hannah Shulski, Faith in Action Editor

   When most people think of service hours, they are reminded of serving hot food at a soup kitchen or volunteering at a shelter, not cleaning out the insides of a rat. However, that’s exactly what Xavier Anatomy and Physiology teacher Dr. Camille King is providing for her students and the Xavier community. King works closely with Wild at Heart Raptors, a non-profit organization that rehabilitates wounded predatory birds. By dissecting rats under Dr. King’s guidance, Xavier students can provide a healthy meal for these helpless birds.

   To correctly prepare the raptors’ meals, the Xavier volunteers must cut open the rats and take out their intestines, as the birds do not particularly like entrails.  By doing this, Xavier students earn one hour of service, which can be used towards the requirements for National Honor Society or the junior class’ Christian Service Project. Nevertheless, some students volunteer for other reasons besides simply finishing their required service hours. Senior Janeth Arvisu Rivera chose to partake in the service because of her love for animals and the environment, saying that these “birds are injured” and that preparing rats for the birds to eat “helps them get nutrients from food that they cannot get”.

   This service was a one-time event; fortunately, there is another opportunity for Xavier students to experience making meals for wounded raptors. Dr. King is offering a field trip on Nov. 2 where volunteers can visit the Wild at Heart facility, help rehabilitate birds that cannot live in the wild, and receive two hours of service. Students who are interested in this trip can sign up today, as there are still available spots open.

   Although dissecting rats is an unorthodox way to fulfill the required amount of service hours needed for clubs and projects, it allows Xavier students to actively help animals that are in need.


Xavier students dissecting a rat for service hours. Photo from Hannah Shulski ’19.

To support Wild at Heart Raptors, visit their website or talk to Dr. King about the available field trip.