Post-race Activities

Sending Congratulations to Hank!

On the 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.

Way to Go Hank Banner 

Each of the students in my class also coloured a picture of a lantern to send to Hank.

Paper Red Lanterns 

Quest Celebration Part One:  End of the Yukon Quest

The class 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." 

Watching Snow Dogs

Reading Challenge Part 2:  The Iditarod!

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 particular musher. 

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.

Iditarod Reading Challenge! Iditarod Tracking map
Reading Challenge Part 2:  The Iditarod 

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 reading!!!

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 standardized testing."
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
slides of the Yukon Quest, and walking us through the race from their perspectives,
as a 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 Award,
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 field
dropped out before the finish; completing this race was a MAJOR accomplishment!!

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 five,
and we sponsored Hank's lead dog, Lily, in The 2011 Yukon Quest.

Some of the students wanted Hank's autograph.
He 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

Hank was really impressed to hear that his adventure inspired
over 66,000 minutes of reading!!

Hank posing with a reading challenge certificate belonging
to a student who was absent the day he visited.

Hank with a random musher that dropped by during the party... ;-)

Another picture of Hank with the Red Lantern Award.
What a 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!


This site is © Copyright Margaret A. Black 2011, All Rights Reserved.