Last spring Steves and fellow musher Bob Chlupach came to Cherry Valley Elementary to talk about their passion and experiences regarding the invigorating and some times dangerous sport of mushing, and of Jan’s dream of achieving her first finish in a race which has been called “The Last Great Race.”
After studying and learning about the Iditarod race, these “face to face” presentations have been quite inspiring to not only the students, but to CVE instructor Julie Eppenberger as well.
The boys and girls in the Learning Room have studied the history of the Iditarod including the 1925 Serum Run and have read books and articles about Balto – the inspirational Lead Dog.Students have also read biographies on many of the mushers, studied their statistics and then chose two mushers to follow last year.
Through this process, students have learned military time – as they mapped and tracked their mushers each day, they learned that a dog running the Iditarod needs 10, 000 calories a day during the race and then figured out how many Big Macs that would be.
Students also followed Jan’s blog online as she prepared for the race. Jan also posted pictures and answered the students’ questions online. So many exciting details... the students realized that preparing for the race is nearly as grueling as running in it! During her travels, Jan also sends personal postcards to the students to keep them informed and up to date.
Mrs. Eppenberger shares, “Jan is such an inspiration to the kids each time she visits, especially in speaking of her life and the importance of following your dreams and enduring to the end. She shares intriguing stories about encounters with moose – both during training and on the trail, and temperatures that get to be 50 degrees below zero. She even brings parts of her gear, a snow hook, and her Red Lantern award, which encourages even more curiosity and questions from the kids.”
Having the opportunity to meet and talk with Jan during her visits has enabled the students to understand the long and impressive history behind this “Great Race,” as well as enlighten them to the many opportunities they can create when they have the persistence, patience and tenacity to follow their dreams.
If you would like to know more about Jan Steves and follow her blog, go to www.jansteves.com. If you would like to learn about the Iditarod go to www.iditarod.com.