ROCKLAND — Superintendent Alan Cron is pleased to announce that a year-long project in the Rockland Public Schools came to a triumphant end this week, as students virtually met with a special guest from Nebraska — marking the 50th and final state included in the project.
On Thursday, June 17, fourth grade students in Susan Wells’ Remote Learning Academy class did a virtual meet-and-greet with a ranger from the Buffalo Bill State Ranch in North Platte, Nebraska. This completed a goal the class set at the beginning of the year to virtually meet with someone from all 50 U.S. states.
The class fully embraced the endeavor, with student Ari McGivney saying that the United States “became a whole lot bigger for me” thanks to the project. Students and their families worked together to find guests who lived all over the country. Parent Meghan Casagrande and others turned to Facebook, and were pleased with how many people were eager to help out in the class’ efforts.
Not only were friends and family ready and willing to do a Google Meet with Wells’ class but they also asked their own extended families and friends to help find interesting guests.
“It was awesome watching all of these people make time to meet with our fourth graders,” Wells said. ”What an incredible, unforgettable project this turned out to be. I’m very thankful for everyone’s help making this project a success.”
The class met with grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and new friends from coast to coast. Highlights included virtual tours of a Chippewa Museum in North Dakota, the Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico, an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, the Petrified National Forest in Arizona, the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in Missouri, the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, and more. The sites showed students the amazing diversity of land and culture in the United States.
Student Grace Gillespie marveled at how generous the guests were for sharing their stories and that it added so much dimension to their learning. Fallyn Linskey shared that she learned so many things that she didn’t know before. Madison Hinkle said she liked how the students met lots of people and learned about things that they knew but her classmates didn’t, and she now wants to visit every state.
“We now know somebody from all 50 states,” student Nahia Morgan added! “How many kids can say that!”
Class guests included college professors, video producers, a brew pub owner, retired people, the daughter of a governor, a singer, a judge, college students, lawyers, a fourth grade class in South Dakota, and many more. Guests made videos and slide shows for the class that showed a variety of information about their state, and answered every question the kids asked.
“Remote learning had the potential to isolate and hold students back, but creative projects such as this ended up having such a positive impact instead,” Superintendent Cron said. “I commend Mrs. Wells, her students and their families for coming up with such a terrific project and for seeing it through to the end. This is truly something these students will remember for years to come.”