Denver-Area Woman Is PETA’s Teacher of the Year

Sarah Hewson Empowers Kids to Raise Funds for Rescued Animals, Try Delicious Vegan Meals, and More

For Immediate Release:
June 7, 2018

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Aurora, Colo. – From leading students in volunteering at an animal sanctuary to hosting an anti-speciesism table at her school’s multicultural fairs and more, Horizon Community Middle School teacher Sarah Hewson spends every day teaching kids to have compassion for animals. That’s why TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—has named her the 2018 Teacher of the Year.

“Sarah Hewson is TeachKind’s Teacher of the Year for demonstrating how teachers can incorporate humane education into the curriculum every single day,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “As bullying and teen violence rises in schools across the country, she’s doing her part to instill compassion and empathy for others in her students.”

Hewson, who’s been an educator for 13 years, teaches in Horizon’s college preparatory program for seventh- and eighth-grade students. Through the curriculum’s community service project, she has students join her in volunteering at Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary—which cares for abused or neglected farmed animals—and creating artwork to auction off in support of it. She has also provided students with literature about animal rights issues, organized a vegan table every year at the school’s multicultural fair, and helped her students rescue numerous animals, from safely escorting spiders outdoors to taking an injured bird to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

She makes sure that there’s vegan food at all school events, and when students express interest in going vegan, she gets their parents’ permission to provide them with resources like PETA’s vegan starter kit. When she and her students discuss their weekends or spring breaks, she shares how she handed out animal rights leaflets at local events or spent time with her adopted animal companions. She also sparks conversations with her students (and their families) through animal rights messages on her car, in classroom artwork, on laptop stickers, on T-shirts, and more.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—offers free resources, presentations, reading suggestions, and more to help teachers add compassion to their lesson plans. For more information, please visit or click here.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind