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Curtin PUPS brings ‘pawsitivity’ to St Hilda’s high school

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Year 12 students at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls received the furriest surprise of their lives on Monday when #CurtinPUPS secretly brought in a bundle of puppies for them to pet, pat and play with.

Three St Hilda students hold a puppy.

Curtin PUPS stands for People Under Pressure at School. The idea was developed during University Marketing’s inaugural Hackathon held late last year. The engaging activity helps to relieve the pressure felt by many year 12 students during their most important year of study by creating fun and stress free environments. What better way to make students feel good than playing with adorable puppies?


“The aim of the project was to engage with high-achieving students and to help de-stress year 12 students, as it is one of the most demanding years in terms of exams, study, sport, social and family commitments, not to mention making decisions about your future,” says Curtin PUPS Project Sponsor and Chief Marketing Officer, Ty Hayes.

“We know that playing with pups can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which can calm and relax, and we saw plenty of this today,” he says.

The event could not have been better timed, as the girls had received their exam results earlier that morning, so it was the perfect opportunity for them to unwind.

Year 12 girls from St Hilda's look surprised at the arrival of puppies.

The arrival of the puppies was a complete surprise for the students.

“There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the girls,” says St Hilda’s Head of year 12, Jane Putigny. “They couldn’t stop laughing and squealing at the cuteness of the puppies! Many of the girls told us that they didn’t want the session to end, however they have hundreds of selfies to remember the day.”

Twelve puppies were at the event, as well as Curtin’s therapy dog, George Bode. Curtin PUPS partnered with not-for profit SAFE Perth, who generously provided the puppies and spoke to the students about how they could give back to the community and adopt a furry friend, or volunteer at the SAFE Perth shelter and support a worthy cause.

Curtin’s future students’ team and student ambassadors also attended the event to speak with the girls about the importance of mindfulness and how it can help them to manage challenging or potentially stressful situations. They also answered any questions the girls had about their future careers.

Two girls hold a small puppy

“Curtin PUPS has helped to re-energise and boost confidence for the year 12 students in their final year,” says Putigny. “They were able to share some special moments with their friends in their last year of school … It’s an event that the girls will remember for many years to come.”

St Hilda’s was the first high school to be visited by Curtin PUPS, but Curtin is planning to bring the ‘pawesome’ event to other high schools soon.

To find out more about the event, visit the Curtin PUPS website.

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