The Peavine Trailblazers- Lesson’s from 4th Grade
Peavine Elementary School Reno, NV
Last week, I accepted an invitation to visit a 4th grade class at Peavine Elementary School in Nevada. The teacher, Marcos, had learned about my 52 Peaks adventure over the summer. The school where he teaches, Peavine, is named after Peavine Peak 8,266’ (27.5 football fields). The school motto for the trailblazers is Start at the Base to Reach the Peak. The word “BASE” is an acronym for their behavior model which means:
B – Behave Responsibly
A – Act Safely
S – Show Respect
E – Encourage Others
Marcos was so inspired by the goal I had set to climb 52 peaks in 52 weeks and excited that his own schools name was tied to the local peak in Reno that he decided to use the 52 Peaks journey to teach his students reading comprehension and writing skills. Each week the kids use a data sheet to gather information about which peak we have climbed and then write a paragraph about that peak using all of the information provided on the 52Peaks website. The result . . . Kids excited about researching via the web and writing about the information they learned.
When I arrived to the school, I was escorted to the classroom. Upon approaching the class room, I saw a hand made sign in the window that said “Welcome TJ, 52 Peaks”. I literally could feel tears swell in my eyes as I felt the love coming from the room I had not even entered yet. I quickly hid what I was feeling so that I wouldn’t look choked up when I entered the room.
I nervously entered the room as the kids began to say “she’s here, she’s here.” I moved past the kids toward the front of the room, giving each of them high fives as I approached the teacher. I said, “You must be Marcos” and gave him a hug. As I peered at about 30 fourth graders, a single file line of a second class of kids piled into the room and sat on the floor. Here I was, a woman with no children of my own, standing in a room of about sixty fourth graders. I was officially out of my element.
Marcos then explained his lesson plan and learning objectives that he and his students had been doing for the 5 weeks prior to my arrival. I had no idea just how closely they had been following the trip. I gave a brief description to the class about how and why I was attempting 52 Peaks in a year. After this, Marcos explained to me that the kids had each submitted a question for me on a 4x 6 card. What was the hardest Peak? What was my favorite hike? Is it cold in the mountains? I spent the next 30 minutes answering questions from 4th grade kids, getting and giving high fives.
Once our time was up, we all went outside to get a group photograph of me with the kids and teachers. This was probably the most special time of my 52 peaks trip so far. The kids were so excited and the energy they emitted was electric. Kids were holding my hands and giving me hugs as we walked to the area to get our picture taken. I was being swarmed by 4th graders with more questions than I had time to give answers.
My parting words to these kids reminded me of my mother’s words to me as a child. Whatever your dreams are, go for it. At a time when, I, myself have been filled with doubts, I was reminded by an amazing group of 4th graders that anything is possible. All you have to do is believe. I would like to thank fellow Michigander- Alan Holmes, Principal, Lance Ferguson, 4th Grade Teacher, 4th grade teacher Marcos Luevano for his creative teaching style and all of the Peavine Elementary School students for making this experience possible.
See you on the Trail!