The 2nd graders at Elmwood Village Charter School study and learn the 50 states each year. The first time they were quizzed on the states, they were required to fill in the states on a map given the first letter of each state. The average was 3-4 states. Sam filled in all 50. Here is part of the reason why.
One of the projects that accompanies their study of the states is the Flat Stanley project. For the uninitiated amongst you, Flat Stanley is a children's story character who gets sent around the world because, well, he's flat. The second graders each send out a Flat Stanley to someone who, they hope, will write about Stanley's adventure.
Being the ultra-competitive father that I am, I immediately looked at the map and tried to see just how far away Stanley could go. Well, that would be Alaska. And who did I know in Alaska? No one. But another glance at my friend list showed me the light. Let me tell you right now: Facebook is the single best invention to come along since white bread in my book now.
So after a few emails, Stanley jetted off to spend some time with my childhood friend Joel and his family. And today, Sam and his class showed off each of their Stanleys. Sam did not stop smiling the entire time. Nobody else in his class had a Stanley who went on such a wonderful adventure.
Stanley went up to Eagle River, Alaska. He hung out at Elmendorf Air Force Base and spent some time with the new F-22 Raptor. He inspected some of the new construction on the base. Stanley had emergency surgery because Joel's kids each wanted to bring him on their outings - at the same time. He braved the Alaskan wilderness and met moose and bald eagles. He posed with a stuffed polar bear. And, but for a few pesky clouds, a volcano. And he's got the pictures to prove it (see my FB page for pics).
So to Joel and your wonderful family, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making Sam's day today.
P.S. Guard your daughter closely. He very clearly has a crush on her.