At AlWood Elementary School in Alpha, Illinois, when there’s a problem, students flock to one student.
“I can tell him my secrets and he won’t tell anybody,” Cadence Hulick said, a 4th grader at AlWood Elementary. “He’s one of my best friends.”
His name is Al, but he’s also called Super Al.
“He’s the teachers’ favorite,” said 5th grader Madison Lindsey.
That explains why Al stays out of trouble, even when he isn’t on his best behavior.
“If he picks on me, I just let him,” Chris Fiedler said, an art teacher at AlWood. “Sometimes he will mimic me.”
Al is unlike his peers. He’s green, speaks broken English and has wings.
“His full name is Al Wood Ace,” Fiedler said with a smirk. “He is our parrot.”
When students at the small school step off their bus, they walk through the doors and are immediately greeted with a squawk from Al. Kids of all ages surround his cage, chanting, “pretty bird” and “want a cracker?”
“He’s helped a lot of the kids calm down and enjoy coming to school,” Fiedler said, glancing at Al’s cage that sits just feet from the main entrance.
Al was brought to AlWood Elementary nearly five years ago. He serves as a therapy pet for the school: teachers say it has worked.
“He will talk to me,” Lindsey said while handing a small cashew to Al. He snatched it from her hand and climbed to the top of his cage.
The halls of AlWood now echo with talk of summer vacation, but everyone knows that they will see their feathery friend again in the fall.