2019-02-09 / Top News

Jojo the School Hamster Is Found!

Lost at MIPS for 2 Months
By Stephanie Fortino


Kindergartener Henry Hardy with Jojo. When found after two months of absence, she was fatter than ever. Kindergartener Henry Hardy with Jojo. When found after two months of absence, she was fatter than ever. Mackinac Island Public School seems to be the perfect place for a hamster to roam free. After sneaking out of her cage in late October, Jojo, the brown pet hamster in the kindergarten and first grade classroom, survived for two months before being found. The mystery of “What happened to Jojo?” gripped the entire school, and just when the hamster was feared lost forever, she returned – fatter than ever.

Jojo was given to Kathy Lisk’s room last fall by Superintendent Bob Lohff, who received the pet as a gift to replace a pet turtle that had belonged to his daughter, Molly, but had passed away. Molly is a preschool student in Mrs. Lisk’s room, where the students were excited to welcome the furry little animal.

The students grew attached to Jojo and were saddened when she escaped.


Kindergarten and first grade classes were overjoyed that Jojo the hamster (top cage) returned in January after two months wandering the school. Since she went missing, the class was given a new hamster, Snowflake (bottom cage), by the classroom Elf on the Shelf for the holidays. Teacher Kathy Lisk and her students (from left) Jenavieve Fisher, Eli Smith, Max Brodeur, Charli Doud, Lennon Perault, and Henry Hardy, celebrate their happy hamsters Friday, February 1. Kindergarten and first grade classes were overjoyed that Jojo the hamster (top cage) returned in January after two months wandering the school. Since she went missing, the class was given a new hamster, Snowflake (bottom cage), by the classroom Elf on the Shelf for the holidays. Teacher Kathy Lisk and her students (from left) Jenavieve Fisher, Eli Smith, Max Brodeur, Charli Doud, Lennon Perault, and Henry Hardy, celebrate their happy hamsters Friday, February 1. “I was about to cry when Jojo went missing,” kindergarten student Charli Doud told the Town Crier.

Classmate Henry Hardy felt both sad and scared, he said, and even feared a “bad guy” stole her from the room.

When Jojo escaped, Mrs. Lisk enlisted the help of the entire elementary school. “Help us find Jojo!” was their rallying cry. The class who found her would be rewarded with a pizza party.

Some classes became invested in the search, and the older elementary students even made a variety of safe traps to try to catch her. They also set up a series of video cameras to track her movements and see whether the traps worked.

Throughout the ordeal, the school staff kept a lookout for signs of Jojo in the kitchen, including droppings, said school administrator Barb Fisher, and, thankfully, no evidence was found there. While they can’t be sure exactly how Jojo survived on her own for so long, Ms. Fisher wonders if she didn’t enjoy snacks in the student lockers.

The kindergarten and first grade classroom had an Elf on the Shelf this holiday season which, among other things, gave the students a new hamster. This male hamster, Snowflake, has a white fur coat. He now lives in a separate cage so the classroom isn’t blessed with baby hamsters.

A couple of weeks after Snowflake arrived, elementary school teacher Liz Burt was in the middle of a lesson when she noticed movement out of the corner of her eye, Mrs. Lisk said. She asked her students to remain calm and still, as the missing hamster finally made an appearance.

The students were so excited that they found Jojo, that they started shouting and took off chasing after her. Mrs. Lisk’s students leaped from their desks and ran into the hall. As Jojo ran toward the gymnasium, Mr. Lohff and Dan Goehler, the head of school maintenance, heard the commotion and started running from the opposite end of the hall to catch the tiny mammal.

Mr. Goehler scooped up Jojo and triumphantly returned the hamster to her classroom.

The most shocking thing to the kindergarten and first grade students about Jojo’s return was her size: Jojo must have eaten well during her freedom, because she returned much larger than when she escaped. The students were happy to see she had not lost weight, as they were concerned she would starve outside her cage.

Since her return, Jojo was equipped with a new, better cage made from an aquarium and a secure lid crafted by Mr. Goehler. The students take turns feeding both Jojo and Snowflake, learning what it means to be a responsible pet owner.

And rather than giving a pizza party to only Mrs. Burt’s class, Mrs. Lisk treated the entire elementary school to a pizza party in celebration of Jojo’s remarkable return.

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This article made my day!

This article made my day! Seriously!!! Hats off to the students and teachers!
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