Dr. Seuss and Volunteers 3.2.11

Temperature in Anchorage at 7 a.m. 4° F, calm wind

School presentation group

After two days of ferocious (one of my favorite words) wind, it died down in the Anchorage area. My day started with a couple of Skype calls to East Coast schools, followed by presentations to Chinook Elementary and Willow Crest Elementary. These capped 11 or 12 presentations I’ve given since arriving in Alaska, sometimes to a couple of classes in a grade level, and sometimes to 200 students at once. Willow Crest celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday today. The author would have been 107 years old. Mr. Bryan Bearss, a kindergarten teacher at this school and an Iditarod race veteran, invited me to speak to the school. The teachers wore Cat in the Hat hats, and students dressed as book characters. I remember seeing one girl dressed as Thing Two.

At the Millennium Hotel, the Iditarod Race Headquarters, race activity is picking up. Volunteers from around the world are checking in, including from Tennessee and South Africa. Trainings for Comms (communications) volunteers train them in expectations at the checkpoints, the media which covers the race attended a press meeting, and on Thursday, the musher meeting commences in the morning. Only a few people are actually employed by the Iditarod Race—the majority of the people who work with the race are volunteers, like me, who love the race and come from all over to work, whether in Anchorage or out in the villages at race checkpoints.

The mushers’ banquet is Thursday night and they will draw their starting positions from a mukluk. If students aren’t familiar with the term mukluk, ask your students to track down what a mukluk is. The ceremonial race start begins Saturday, 10 a.m. in Anchorage. Lucky Idita-Riders, people who bid on a chance to ride with a musher, ride in the sled for this race start. I get to ride, also, in Matt Hayashida’s sled.