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Apr 07, 2023

From School to Sanctuary: Colts Neck Seniors Intern with Bluemont

By Carly Cavanaugh and Sophia Koval

Monmouth County is known for its educational excellence. The Freehold Regional High School District’s magnet programs allow students to explore their interests and future aspirations through specialized curriculums within the six public high schools. Colts Neck High School offers two magnet programs: NJROTC and Law and Public Service (LPS). The LPS program has an exceptional curriculum for its seniors, including a graduation requirement of two internships and a service learning project. 

These internships range from private law firm opportunities, to campaigning for local politicians, to marketing for the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Students are able to choose internships that best correlate with their interests. Two students have chosen to work with Bluemont Sanctuary in Colts Neck this spring.

Bluemont Sanctuary is a family-run rescue organization that provides a safe place for neglected animals. Colts Neck High School alumni Carl Quaglia is the co-founder of Bluemont Sanctuary with his wife, Lesley Luckhardt.

“My wife has been an animal lover since day one,” Quaglia said. “We had a historic house with four cats, three dogs and 20 chickens, and I said, ‘We cannot fit anything else in this house.’”

When they first bought the property, they wondered what to do with the land and decided to rescue animals.

Their first rescue horse was Roxy. She had been abused, neglected and was about 300 pounds underweight. After her, they continued rescuing more horses and other animals.

“My wife is the ‘we can do anything’ person,” Quaglia said. “I would say we should probably slow down, and she would say, ‘No, we are saving this horse.’ The sanctuary grew upon itself, and I think the world gave us what we were supposed to have.”

So how do they choose the horses that get rescued? 

Carl shared, “There are more horses that need to be rescued than anyone could ever rescue. The average horse has at least seven houses in their lifetime. For us, there’s not a list we look at it. It’s more like something that comes across my wife’s path and speaks to her heart.”

It takes a lot to keep up with the animals, especially financially. Bluemont Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose their funds are one-third self-generated, one-third donated and one-third through grants.

Quaglia said his mornings and afternoons are occupied by chores. Duties on the farm begins at 5:30 am when Carl and his sons will hand-feed and check on the animals. Throughout the day, Carl and his wife go to work and “let animals be animals.” Afternoon chores begin at 3 pm and usually last until 6. This is when volunteers come and clean up, feed the horses and fill hay baskets. Part of these chores is sorting through medication for the senior, disabled and injured animals. 

From Colts Neck High School, Nicole Hoeker and David Shenkerman have chosen to intern at Bluemont Sanctuary. Hoeker has had a relationship with the sanctuary since her sophomore year when she began to volunteer there. She is a horseback rider and loves animals, which is why she chose Bluemont. This internship has taught both her and Shenkerman what it takes to run a nonprofit and the effort that goes into maintaining a sanctuary.

“We usually begin by hand-feeding the animals and doing chores,” Hoeker said.

After that, they take on the role of a student as Carl teaches them the aspects of running a nonprofit including managing finances, posting to social media and more. 

Through the LPS internship program, students are able to learn and grow by immersing themselves in the field of their interest. The program is always looking for new internships for its students. If you know of an organization, company or candidate that is looking for new interns, reach out to Glenn Jansen at By providing LPS students with new and impactful experiences, they are able to grow into more well-rounded, educated individuals, further demonstrating the excellence in education that Monmouth County strives for.