NEW BRITAIN – Third and fifth graders at Pope John Paul II School spent a month studying the Iditarod Trail by reading books, writing stories, researching Alaskan animals and following "Trail Mail," according to third grade teacher April Stich.
Each classroom sent a letter to be carried by a musher who was following the route sled teams used to take diphtheria serum to Nome in 1925. Students followed veteran musher DeeDee Jonrowe, who came in 10th, and rookie Iditarod racer Paige Drobny.
To bring the race to life for the students, Julia Klaucke and Jen Caulfield, of Urban Mushers, visited the school with four Siberian Huskies. Students also saw a traditional sled.
"It was lighter than I thought. Even I could lift it up," said third grader Julia Burkacki.
Students also learned about dog-sled safety measures and the brake and anchor that stops a team.
Finally, the dogs were harnessed and hitched to a scooter that Ms. Klaucke used to take students across the soccer field and back.
"I want to do that when I’m older," said fifth grader Julia Hynek