OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACadet/1LT Rhianna Davies-Smith patiently pleaded “Can I go next?” as the young white lion cub was passed around the circle. She wants to work with animals and holding a cub has long been a dream of hers. That dream was about to become a reality. To quote the great author, Snoopy, “It was a dark and stormy night,” well, not quite night, but it was a dark and stormy November day when the 2014-15 Zoology class, led by Mr. Derek Hagen, headed to Zootastic Wild Animal Park in Troutman, NC. The Cadets were given a back stage tour to get up close and personal with the animals. They got to meet and hold Scrappy Doo, a baby kangaroo, watch two mischievous and hyper lemurs, lure a timid kinkajou with fruit loops, and then play with Nala, the lion cub. When it was her turn to hold Nala, Rhianna was ecstatic. “I can’t believe this is happening!” she squealed. Just like human toddlers, Nala soon tired of being held and was ready to play. She found a willing soccer partner in Cadet/CPT Zach Lowenberger. After a soccer break, it was time for the Cadets to pack up and head to….the gift shop! In the gift shop, many of the Cadets bought stuffed animals, sweatshirts, and other reminders of their day at Zootastic. At Oak Ridge, we strive to make dreams come true.

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