When students at Westbrook High School near Portland, Maine show up for school each morning, among them is an unusual classmate: Simba, an orange neighborhood tabby who’s been visiting the high school every day for nearly 13 years.
According to Portland news station WMTW-TV, teacher Tina Soucy found Simba sitting outside the school doors one morning years ago and she let him inside. Since then, he’s been showing up promptly at 7 a.m. every morning for class.
School staff and the 800 students dote on the 15-year-old cat, who greets students at the doors in the morning and then makes his classroom rounds throughout the day. “He’ll show up in class and just sit on people’s textbooks,” says student Kim Larley.
Administrators do keep an eye on Simba to make sure he’s safe and doesn’t bother students with allergies. But most of the students welcome Simba’s attention.
“Simba seems to lighten everybody’s day,” says school art director Carol Conner.
Last night, the school honored Simba and his owner with a benefit art show. The subject matter? Simba of course.
Marc Grousse, the district’s superintendent, believes Simba’s presence is good for the students…and for Simba. “I think he probably knows he’s liked and loved…and it’s mutual.”
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