VANKLEEK HILL – At Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute (VCI), a bunny has become part of the school community. The bunny, named Bonnie, came to the school in the middle of September when Karen Baker, the secretary in Student Services at VCI, saw the opportunity to support the Special High Skills Major (SHSM) students and the students that just need a hug.

Karen Baker saw the opportunity to bring a rabbit into the VCI education system when, she spotted a classified ad on the Upper Canada District School Board’s website, in which a staff member was offering free rabbits for schools. She brought the idea to the student services department at VCI and Principal Angela Grandy was quickly on board.

VCI students were ecstatic about Bonnie’s arrival, too.

“I was pretty happy since I love animals,” said Emily Ravary, a Grade 10 student at VCI after seeing the bunny for the first time.

The bunny, being between two and three months old, has a wonderful life ahead of her at VCI where the SHMS students use her as a mental health tool. Bonnie the bunny is intended to support positive mental health in students.

It is hoped that Bonnie the bunny will bring more joy to the school community. Whenever a student is having a rough day, the bunny is available to be petted, cuddled, loved and to give a mental break to the students.

“(The bunny) just makes people smile really,” said Karen Baker. It is true! Bonnie the bunny brings joy to faces of students, staff, and parents who walk into the student services department.

Bonnie has already, in her soft and gentle way, turned frowns upside down and has eased anger in students. Bonnie has an important job in the school. She is most definitely “hoppy” to take on that roll.


Madeleine Fortin is a Grade 10 student at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute. She shares news from Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute with The Review and in her spare time, volunteers for 88.7 Vankleek FM, recording community announcements which are aired on the community radio station.