It’s always fun to be feted. When the two Grade Four classes at Bishop Abraham School invited me to a party on Friday, I gladly accepted. I’d paid a visit to the school during my training and preparations for Mount Vinson this fall. The new Grade Four social studies curriculum is based on the theme of explorers and exploration so sometimes I get invited into classrooms as a “real, live explorer.” The students at Bishop Abraham followed along each day during my Vinson expedition and cheered out loud when they heard our phone call from the summit.
One of their teachers, Mrs. Courage, is a huge fan of Everest and other adventure books and is closing in on 400 ascents of Signal Hill herself. Heather has been a great supporter of mine since my climb of Denali (Mount McKinley) and the new social studies curriculum is a perfect way for her to bring lots of adventure into her classroom. When I got back to Punta Arenas and could check my email, there were some questions from Heather’s class such as:
How cold is it there?
Do you have to wear many pairs of socks?
Is it boring waiting for the plane?
Do your drinks freeze in the cold?
Do you still have to wear the baby butt cream on your face?
It was evident that the students paid attention to the answers I provided. During the party, the students got up and presented facts on Antarctica, facts about TA, read a few essays they had written on my climbs, presented me with some penguin gifts and hand-drawn greeting cards, and had lots of other questions to ask. They had asked me to bring them a penguin from Antarctica so I presented the class with a very small penguin statue and each child went home with a penguin lollipop. It was a delightful afternoon and I so appreciated that the teachers took the time and put forth effort to throw a celebration party for both me, and their students.
Sitting watching the kids beaming with pride as they shared their written work aloud in front of the class and the enthusiasm with which they greeted me when I walked into the classroom, was wonderfully fulfilling. Sometimes the path of adventuring is long and tough and lonely but at other times, such as the party at Bishop Abraham School, it’s filled with laughter, joy, and shared accomplishment. Thanks to Heather and her colleagues and all the grade four students who made my week and filled my Friday afternoon with smiles and refueled my adventurer batteries.