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The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

Teacher’s Day Off: Ms. Moon


Teachers don’t exist outside of school, right? Wrong! I know it’s shocking, but HSMSE teachers also lead eventful lives beyond the school’s walls. At HSMSE, we are lucky to not only have some of the best teachers, but also an amazing group of substitute teachers to keep our school running when our teachers aren’t here. One of the most recognizable substitutes is Ms. Moon. I actually met Ms. Moon 4 years ago when my family adopted 2 cats from her. I wanted to learn more about her life outside of school to share with the rest of the MSE community. This was our conversation which has been edited for clarity. 

LD: We all know you as a substitute teacher but that’s not what we are focusing on today. What do you do outside of HSMSE?

CM: I run a non-profit organization called The Animal Project which rescues and places cats in loving homes. We take cats, sometimes they’re found on the street, sometimes they’re tossed out of homes. We make sure that the cats are all healthy and if not, we get them the medical help they need. After all that we post them on Instagram, Facebook, our own website, and do weekly adoption events at the Petco on 92nd Broadway between two and six o’clock on Saturdays. 

LD: How and why did you come to run a cat adoption organization? 

CM: I always loved cats and I grew up with them. Then, when I got to the city, I found this guy who was saving cats, and getting them adopted through Petco. I started to help him out until he quit for various reasons. I was left with no way to get the cats adopted because you have to be a 501(c)(3), which is a non-profit organization and I didn’t have one. I found a woman who had a small rescue group for dogs called The Animal Project. I started to help her and was saving cats under her organization. A couple of months later, she passed away and left directorship of the 501(c)(3) to me. Now I run The Animal Project. It all kind of just happened that way but I’m more than ok with it. 

LD: When I adopted my cats from you, it was at one of the weekly adoption events, and there were a lot of cats there. What do you do with all the cats while they’re waiting to be adopted? 

CM: I like to use foster homes, which is when someone is almost babysitting the cat. We make sure that it’s a safe home that we are sending the cat to, and that the cat is healthy and the foster parents do the rest. 

LD: That still seems like a ton of work. Do you have any help? 

CM: I am very lucky to have two amazing people working with me. They are so helpful and one of them is a pediatrician which is amazing for us. Outside of the three of us, there’s really no one else besides the foster parents we get. Everyone, including me, is a volunteer. All of the money that we get from the adoptions (which is only around $150) goes straight back into the cats. It’s okay though because it’s something that we think needs doing and I think it gives me a certain sense of ownership.

LD: How did you come to be a substitute teacher at HSMSE? 

CM: I got my masters degree in humane education in my 50s. With that degree, I was able to work for a non-profit nationwide organization called Farm Sanctuary for seven years. I was a humane educator, so I went all over the city and taught 3rd-12th graders about farm animals and factory farming. I needed a job after that so because I had connections in education through the presentations I did, I got a principal to recommend me as a sub. I started to sub at A. Philip Randolph, and they recommended me over here. Once I saw how well-run it is here and the different atmosphere of this school, I gradually started to only sub here. 

LD: Thank you so much for your time Ms. Moon. What you are doing is so inspiring, and I can’t wait to share it with the rest of HSMSE. Ms. Moon evidently has quite a life, not only as a substitute teacher here at MSE, but also working tirelessly to save the lives of these cats and give them homes. We all should take a page out of Ms. Moon’s book, whether you’re helping cats or people, we could all benefit from finding something outside of the chaotic school day that we can do to help others. The Animal Project is a non-profit that helps to provide a second chance to cats left on the streets of New York City. If you and your family are looking for a cat or you would like to volunteer at their weekly adoption events, please check out their website and Instagram by scanning the QR codes below.

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