AP Biology class gets new class pet

Alfredo+is+sleeping+in+the+corner+of+his+cage

Sydney McDonald

Alfredo is sleeping in the corner of his cage

Sydney McDonald

Science Teacher Paul Fisher’s seven person AP Biology class has a new classmate. In early September the students made plans and purchased a class pet. The hamster named Alfredo does not take any tests or do homework, but lives inside their classroom. The “eighth student of AP Bio” likes to eat in his enclosure and roll around in his plastic ball. The students are utilizing their personal Venmo accounts to request money to give Alfredo a “lavish” lifestyle. 

After last year, when the students could not have a class pet, this year’s students continued the class tradition and collaborated to purchase and take care of the new hamster. 

AP Biology student Meredith Stein explained what happened the day they decided to get a class pet. 

“On the first day of school, we were talking about classroom expectations, and Mr. Fisher asked ‘Do you guys want to get a class pet?’” Stein said. 

The students accepted this proposition. The students discussed options of which class pet they could buy and decided on a hamster. Another student, Maggy Messner, purchased the hamster from PetSmart. According to fellow student, Isha Bansal, Messner contributed the most to this hamster. 

“[Messner] is the main part of it. She takes care of him the most, she cleans the cage . . . and she gives him food,” Bansal said. 

While Messner bought the hamster and took care of the hamster’s amenities, the hamster lives under the democracy of the majority of Fisher’s classes. In Fisher’s room (B106), there is a suggestion jar. Students have the opportunity to write a costume idea for this hamster and leave it up to the AP Biology class to decide which costume Alfredo will wear on Halloween. Bansal explained this suggestion box. 

“We want to get him a halloween costume, so we have some suggestions. Also in Mr. Fisher’s room is a little tip jar, where people can donate,” Bansal said. 

The donations would help to fund the lavish life that Alfredo wants. Messner volunteered her Venmo, which is written on the dry erase board, to help Alfredo get extra amenities for his lifestyle. Another teacher gave the class the cage so Alfredo can live comfortably in the classroom. The cage is located at the side of the classroom near one of the lab tables. But, Alfredo is active; he does not remain in his cage all class period. Alfredo has his own plastic ball that he uses to traverse through the school. Stein explained how the students take him on field trips throughout the school. 

“[We take him] to different teachers when we have the time in Bio. We take him on different field trips to go visit different teachers in his little ball. Sometimes he’ll roll out of the classroom when we aren’t paying attention. He’s very active,” Stein said. 

During the Minuteman Time on September 29th, when Fisher hosts games of strategy, the students watched Alfredo roll down the science hallway. During normal school days as well, Alfredo makes his presence known to many teachers. Bansal explained each teacher’s classroom that Alfredo has visited. 

“We’ve taken him to Mrs. Walgate’s room, the chemistry room and study hall with Mr. Shane,” Bansal said. 

Along with Alfredo’s general presence in the school, the students set up an Instagram account for him. Bansal explained who runs the Instagram account for him and posts pictures of him.

“The whole class of seven people [have access to Alfredo’s instagram], but mainly the girls run it,” Bansal said. 

Bansal explained that she suggested the name Alfredo for the hamster. 

“I named him. We all thought of different names, but I said Alfredo, and we ultimately went with that,” Bansal said. 

In buying the hamster, Messner said that students throughout the class donated all the money. This lends to the idea that the students did a majority of the work in the purchase and care of the hamster. Mr. Fisher explained that the students led this class pet pursuit. 

According to Fisher, having a class pet in AP Biology has been a recurring tradition, last year did not have the opportunity to get one. Last year’s AP Biology class wanted to get one, but then he didn’t let them. There were other options before the hamster, but were promptly vetoed by Mr. Fisher. 

“We were discussing possible class pet ideas after he vetoed the option of the cat or a snake, and then we decided on a hamster,” Stein said. 

The long-haired Syrian hamster now lives in the biology classroom. Make sure to follow his instagram @alfredothebiohamster and leave suggestions in the jar in Fisher’s room for Alfredo’s Halloween costume. Alfredo, the new classmate, brings energy to the classroom and the hallways of Revere High School.