Move over, Fido — there’s a new dog in town, and his name is Mak, thanks to the students at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School.
Mak and his pal M.O.C.H.A were named as a part of the Gov. Bill Walker’s Safer Alaska Initiative. The governor asked sixth-grade students across the state to recommend names for the two dogs via a Facebook poll. The name Mak, short for Kachemak Bay, was suggested by Hannah Dolphin’s class at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary.
M.O.C.H.A., an acronym which stands for meth, opiods, cocaine, heroin and Alaska, was suggested by Ryan Engebretsen’s class at Teeland Middle School in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.
“M.O.C.H.A. and Mak will play important, integral roles in our efforts to create a safer Alaska,” Walker said in a release. “I’m so grateful for the participation of Alaska sixth-graders and citizens across the state in selecting these names. I look forward to seeing the important work these new dogs will do.”
Dolphin said her students started brainstorming ideas as soon as they heard about the competition. The name Mak was put forth by student Karley Johnson.
“Karley shared that she thought of the name when considering the times she has gone fishing with her dad in Kachemak Bay,” Dolphin said. “We also thought, ‘Catch ‘Em, Mak’ is a fun play on the word Kachemak.”
The class suggested the name and soon found out that Mak was in the top three contenders.
“We emailed and encouraged everyone we knew to vote for Mak,” Dolphin said.
The new names were announced May 16. There were more than 70 potential names submitted by sixth-graders, according to the release.
“The state troopers will use the K9s to help detect opioids and other drugs in a variety of places across the state in continued efforts to tamp down on drug use and trafficking,” the release states.
Dolphin said the contest was a great opportunity to involve students in law enforcement.
“The students at K-Beach work closely with law enforcement, specifically the Soldotna Police Department,” she said. “This competition was another great way to foster positive relationships between our students and law enforcement.”
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.