NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 4, 2014 Walnut, CA 91789
A Bird Named Collegewood
WALNUT, CA-- A pigeon recently strayed away from its flock landed at Collegewood Elementary in Walnut.
“We noticed it because it was bright white and wasn’t afraid of people,” said Teacher Melani Garrett.
The bird was in the lunch area and out on the grass just eating and eating all day long.
“We noticed it had a big band with letters and numbers on its legs. We thought maybe it could help us find the owner of the bird,” she said.
"Mrs. Garrett and her first grade students took good care of it," said Principal Joan Perez.
Garret said she used the Internet to locate and contact the bird’s owner Sonny Cangiarella of Riverside.
Cangiarella explained the little pigeon had been in a race started in Tucson, Arizona the day before they spotted in on the Walnut campus.
The bird flew the entire race but accidentally went past its home and landed at Collegewood.
A few days later the bird flew back home.
“Mr. Cangiarella thought the pigeon needed the time to rest and eat at the school And when she was strong enough she flew 30 miles back home,” Garrett said.
“She didn’t give up and three weeks later she even flew in another 300 mile race, Garrett added.
Cangiarella was so touched that he came to the school to meet the staff and students during their spirit assembly in January.
"She must have liked this school," the owner said. The pigeon had been flying home with 30 birds from the race, he said.
He let the caring teacher send the bird that he renamed "Collegewood" back to her home.
The children cheered as she flew overhead.
Then five students, Sophia Hill, Ashlyn Woo, Gema Gallegos, Irene Luu and Mia Carrillo, recognized for good citizenship during the assembly got a special treat. The owner carefully handed each a pigeon to be released on his cue.
“It made us think. Sometimes each of us can end up not reaching a goal – kind of like Collegewood the pigeon. But if we make a plan, we can do the things we need to reach our goal – exactly like the pigeon named Collegewood!” Garrett said.
Collegewood Teacher Melani Garrett sent the pigeon named Collegewood back home to Riverside during a school spirit assembly. Shown with Principal Joan Perez and owner Sonny Cangiarella.
Students, Sophia Hill, Ashlyn Woo, Gema Gallegos, Irene Luu and Mia Carrillo recognized for citizenship also got to gently hold a pigeon and release it. Shown with Teacher Melani Garrett and owner Sonny Cangiarella.