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Want to Go to School at the Cincinnati Zoo?

Hi, my name is Markala Washington Murray and I love animals. I’ve always had a passion for working with and helping animals whenever I could. That’s why going to school at the Zoo is the life I have always dreamed of and I love it. I grew up in a single mother home; I am the second oldest of five girls. None of my mom’s other girls like animals so she was scared when I said I wanted to go to school at the Zoo. After high school, I want to study animal behavior and conservation.

Here I am socializing Presley, our Apalachicola King Snake

Here I am socializing Presley, our Apalachicola King Snake


Going to school at the Cincinnati Zoo has been the best experience of my life. I have met some wonderful people who work here from the head honcho, Thane Maynard, to the groundskeepers. Every one of the Zoo staff family plays a big role in keeping the park up and running. The Zoo program is a part of the public school system. It is connected to Hughes STEM High school. It is a 11th and 12th grade program. You can only be in this program if you attend Hughes your 10th grade year first. The Zoo Academy has been at the Cincinnati Zoo since 1975. Being at the Zoo Academy opens so many doors for the students here. We have the chance to help the keepers take care of the animals. We get to know the animals as well as the keepers do. Sometimes if we show the keepers that we are willing to work just as hard as they do to care for the animals they offer us jobs over the summer and after we graduate. Being in this program also opens up opportunities with all kinds of colleges. Not many people know about this program and the things we do in it so when we write and tell them about it, then they become very interested in wanting to know more. The class sizes in this program are very small so you can get that one-on-one time from your teachers you wouldn’t normally get in a large classroom. So if you are an animal lover and want to come to this program then CHOOSE HUGHES!


And here's Marvin, the blue-tongued skink

And here’s Marvin, the blue-tongued skink


1 Courtney { 02.07.14 at 9:11 pm }

I am so proud of you, lady! This is a great blog post! Keep learning, smiling, and loving!

2 jeff b { 02.07.14 at 10:23 pm }

great way to educate and prepare youth in this new era of education. well done cincinnati zoo. way to take the lead.

3 Shawn { 02.10.14 at 3:39 pm }

I was a teacher for decades. At times, our education system shows a desperate need for people who can reach others in unique ways. It’s helpful to know that there are teachers, students and Zoo staff who are working toward that. Thank you Markala for writing this article. Thank you Zoo staff and teachers who make this program possible.

4 Graduation for Zoo Academy Seniors is Just Around the Corner | Cincinnati Zoo Blog { 04.30.14 at 10:18 am }

[…] what it’s like to be a Zoo student and where you apply to become a Zoo student (read that post here). It is now the end of my senior year here at the Zoo Academy. It’s both a sad time and a happy […]

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