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Bullfrog License Plates Coming to Ohio thanks to Grizzell Students and Teacher

A project that started in Shawn Kaeser’s classroom in 2002 to make the bullfrog the official state amphibian has grown over the years. As a result of the ongoing efforts of Kaeser and his students over the years, a bill is going to be signed to create an Ohio bullfrog license plate.

“The project originally began as a way for me to get my students interested and give them hands-on experience in how the legislative process works,” Kaeser said. “The drive and passion my students have shown on this project over the years has really made this worthwhile.”

In 2002, the seventh and eighth grade social studies students at Grizzell began a project to declare a state amphibian and the class decided on the bullfrog because it is found in all 88 counties, has great name recognition and is also part of small town frog-jumping contests. The class began looking for sponsors in the Ohio House and Senate and started writing letters, making phone calls and becoming experts on the legislative process and the bullfrog.

Another school in Cleveland was trying to name the spotted salamander the state amphibian, so lawmakers came to a compromise to make the bullfrog the state frog and the spotted salamander the state amphibian. In 2010, Governor Strickland signed the bill into law. To celebrate the occasion, the GMS PTO purchased a large bullfrog statue for the courtyard.

The push for a bullfrog license plate came as the 10-year anniversary of the law approached. Kaeser and his students began the work to get a bullfrog license plate in the works during the 2018-19 school year, with some of the proceeds of the plate going to wetland preservation and education across the state. Grizzell art teacher Todd Arnold created the original artwork for the license plate.

In 2019, a bill was introduced and current students began making calls and writing letters to garner support for the license plate. After getting enough support, the bill was passed and will soon be signed into law by Governor DeWine.

“It is great to see so many of our students learn about and experience the legislative process for nearly two decades,” Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley said. “This project has shown that our students can always make a difference.”

10TV did a segment on the bill and you can watch it at this link.