Eye on the Trail: Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ Begins Journey

Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ Laura Wright of Austin, Texas has arrived in Alaska.  Her race to Nome began 9 days before the start of Iditarod when she presented to twenty-five students at the Trapper Creek Elementary School.

Iditarod Teacher on the Trail ™Laura Wright presents at Trapper Creek Elementary School

Laura is a 4th grade teacher from Austin, Texas.  She was selected for the 2016 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ from a group of three finalists who interviewed last year prior to the 2015 Iditarod.  Laura comes to the position with twenty years of teaching experience.  She says, I hope to live up to the examples of the wonderful and talented teachers who have traveled the trail before me by providing my fellow educators around the world with innovative and creative ways to bring the Last Great Race on Earth® into the classroom and help inspire students with the many lessons the Iditarod theme provides.”

DREAM BIG is what Wright encourages her students to do.  She knows that every student in every classroom has the same desire; to be inspired about what they are being asked to learn.  To achieve that, she’s reached outside the walls of the traditional classroom to bring the community inside.  Looking outside of the traditional classroom is what brought her to embrace Iditarod as a theme for education.

Laura will visit schools in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District and also Anchorage Schools up until Iditarod 44 begins on the first Saturday of March.  She’ll then follow the mushers to Nome, not via sled but with the Iditarod Air Force.  Wright will have the opportunity to visit with teachers and students in the villages along the trail.

From Puppy to Iditarod is the theme Laura shares in her school presentations.  The story she shares includes video footage contributed by many mushers – Matt Failor, Mary Helwig, Larry Daughertry, Patrick Beall, Kristin Pace and Cody Strathe.  The topics they cover range from puppies, puppy training, naming kennels, commands, pacing, sled parts, equipment and a virtual sled driving experience.

Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla

It was pretty quiet today at Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla but next Wednesday will be the complete opposite.  Mushers will be rolling in with their teams for vet check.  Plenty of volunteer Veterinarians, all certified by the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association (ISDVMA), will be on hand for the mandatory physicals.  As you can see, Wasilla doesn’t have much snow.

Willow Lake where the Jr. Iditarod will finish and the Iditarod will restart

Willow Lake is situated thirty-seven miles North of Wasilla on the Parks Highway. Not much happening there today either.  It will be bustling the next two Sundays.  The Jr. Iditarod will finish at the Willow Community center on the last Sunday of February.  The young racers will run a 150 route beginning Saturday at 10:00 in the morning and will finish up in Willow in time for the evening awards banquet on Sunday.  The Restart for Iditarod XLIV will take place on Willow Lake in front of the Community Center a week later on March 6th.  My, what a difference thirty-seven miles makes in snow cover.