Students in the 21st Century Community Learning Center delighted in seeing, touching, and learning about animals during an educational wildlife visit on Nov. 28. 

Jesse Kovacs of Rizzo’s Wildlife World in Roxbury visited the Soehl Middle School cafeteria with several of her little — and not so little — friends. Student gathered in the cafeteria in two sessions to see a Chilean rose-hair tarantula, a ball python, an Egyptian dabb lizard, a toad, a chinchilla, and a baby alligator. The students were allowed to touch some of the animals, and got up-close looks at the others.

The grand finale was a 17-foot-long albino Burmese python named Hissy Pants. Kovacs needed help from teachers Mackenzie Anderson and Destiny Garcia to carry the large snake around for students to touch.


Rizzo’s Wildlife World is a program that includes an up-close and personal hands-on learning experience with combinations of animals from the invertebrate, mammal, reptile and amphibian families.

The 21st Century program is federally funded and gathers after school each day to give students homework help, enrichment programs, and recreation. About a third of the students at Soehl take part at some point during the school year.