Henry Sawyer, an 11-year-old 5th grader in Westford, Massachusetts, founded the Society for the Prevention of Tiger Extinction while doing research for a 4th-grade report on an animal of his choosing. Being invertebrates, sea slugs were not allowed, so Henry chose tigers. His research on the disappearing population of tigers motivated him to present a slide show to his class about this endangered species and to launch a fundraiser for S.P.T.E.
To raise money for Panthera, Henry ran a 10k trail race and raised awareness of the plight of tigers at school and in the community, winning his school’s Building Community Award in June 2015. Raising nearly $700 motivated Henry to take the next step of lobbying his principal to make S.P.T.E. the official school fundraiser for 2015-2016. Joined by his co-leader Isaac Bollen and supported by their school, the team renamed their organization to the Students for the Prevention of Tiger Extinction. The 2016 school fundraiser is the first student-led fundraiser in the 50-year history of the school. In addition to his passion for tigers, Henry plays the violin, runs, and acts in local community theater.
Isaac Bollen is a 5th grader at the Norman E. Day School. He and Henry got to know each other through the after-school program and discovered their shared love of cats, big and small! Henry’s enthusiasm for protecting tigers caught on with Isaac, especially after hearing about Henry running a 10K to raise funds. When he’s not playing with his cat, Bobo, Isaac enjoys doing gymnastics.