Congratulations to Hank!
first day back at school after the race was over, my
class informed the school of Hank's feat via the morning
announcements and then circulated an eight-foot banner,
collecting well-wishes from staff members and students
in Grades 1-8, to send to Hank.
Each of the students in my class also coloured a
picture of a lantern to send to Hank.
Challenge Part 2: The Iditarod!
Celebration Part One: End of the Yukon Quest
also celebrated Hank's completion of the Quest, and their
Quest-related learning, with a party. They brought
in snacks to share and watched the movie "Snow Dogs."
Students were really inspired by the idea of
trying to complete 1,000 minutes of reading before
musher Hank DeBruin could complete the 1,000 mile Yukon
Quest Trail. We even had four boys from the other
Grade 6 class ask to join our Yukon Quest Reading
Challenge. By the end of the Yukon Quest, our
class of 22 students and the four boys from Mrs.
Torrey's class had read for a combined total of 35,941 minutes!
As the Quest was
drawing to a close, one of my Grade 5 students named
Alise suggested that we keep the momentum going by
engaging in an Iditarod Reading Challenge. The rest of
the class enthusiastically embraced this idea, so we
retooled our reading challenge board to reflect the
checkpoints on the Iditarod trail and posted an Iditarod map
beside it. Our plan for the Iditarod was to
challenge the "red lantern" to the finish, instead of a
Nine of the
participants in this year's Yukon Quest also competing
in The Iditarod. Our class watched with
interest, to see how they fare in their second 1,000
mile race of the season.
Reading Challenge Part 2:
Students ended up racing against mushers, by
reading, from February 1st through March 20th. We
ended-up naming our reading event `The Hank DeBruin
Reading Challenge,` because it was his Yukon Quest
adventure that initially inspired students to read.
By March 20th, 26 Grade 5/6 students had logged
over 66,000 minutes of
Quest Celebration Part Two:
Hank and Tanya's Visit to our Class!
On June 10th,
Hank, his wife Tanya and daughter Jessica visited my
class to celebrate our mutual accomplishments around
Hank's adventure. The kids were thrilled to finally
meet their hero, one of only 13 mushers to finish
this year's Quest!
My students didn't
know that Hank was visiting today. They
thought we were just
celebrating the end
of our standardized testing week. While my
students were at
lunchand recess, I
drove to my daughter's school (a 40 minute
round trip) and
picked her up for the
party. My students have French right after
recess. When they
were safely tucked
away in the French portable, I snuck Emily
into the school
and she helped decorate
for the party.
Students brought in
lots of treats "to celebrate the end of
Little did they
know what I REALLY had in store for them vis
a vis the party!! :-)
Hank and Tanya
arrived just after French class. They
started their visit by showing us
of the Yukon Quest, and walking us through
the race from their perspectives,
musher and a member of his support team.
After that, they answered lots of
questions and Tanya gave each of the
students a souvenir bootie that was worn by
one of Hank's dogs, during the Quest.
Hank brought along
his cherished 2011 Yukon Quest Red Lantern
to show to the class. It is a
perseverance award given to the last musher
across the finish line. This year's race
was so gruelling that almost half of the
dropped out before the finish;
completing this race was a MAJOR
Hank and Tanya,
with my daughter Emily. We have known them
for several years.
Em and I started dog
sledding with their company when Em was
and we sponsored Hank's lead dog,
Lily, in The 2011 Yukon Quest.
Some of the
students wanted Hank's autograph.
ended up signing all sorts of items,
including the velcro strap on dog booties,
paper plates, pieces of paper, and even one
bright pink, silicone I-pod cover!
Hank signed and
presented a reading challenge certificate to
each of the students
in my class, (and
to four boys from the other Grade 6 class
who decided to join us in
racing Hank to
Fairbanks by reading).
Each student posed for
a picture with Hank and his/her certificate,
and received a 5 X7 of the picture as a
souvenir of the project
was really impressed to hear that his
over 66,000 minutes
Hank posing with a
reading challenge certificate belonging
to a student who was absent the day he
Hank with a random
musher that dropped by during the party...
Another picture of
Hank with the Red Lantern Award.
terrific and inspiring afternoon for me, my
daughter and my students!
Thank you to
Hank and Tanya for making the 4 hour round
trip drive to see us!
... AND THANK YOU, HANK AND
TANYA, FOR ALLOWING US
TO TAG ALONG ON YOUR
2011 YUKON QUEST ADVENTURE!
IT WAS AN
AMAZING, UNFORGETTABLE RIDE!!!