Wonder Schools! Part 3

Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska, site of my most recent elementary school tour, AND home to almost all of my very own elementary school education! From January 11-15 I visited 6 different schools in the greater Anchorage School District, including O'Malley Elementary where I attended 1st-5th grade.

This was only the 3rd stuffed polar bear that I saw in my first hour off the plane. It was in my hotel lobby, along with a musk ox, a wolverine, and a dall sheep. Any wonder that I am still fascinated by arctic animals after all these years?

And here it is, my old stomping grounds. SO COOL TO VISIT YOUR OWN SCHOOL!

...and to be welcomed back in style.

Extra sweet: O'Malley was the site of my first ever "published" drawing. As I recall, I was at least partly responsible for the design of their former mascott, the O'Malley Yellowjacket. They dug this out of the archives and it was a definite kick to see it :)

One of the MANY great groups of "Alaska Grown" kids that I had the pleasure to visit...

...and one of my two extremely generous hosts for the week, Totem Tale author, Deb Vanasse. It was a rare treat to meet the author of one of my favorite illustration projects. Deb and her partner Guy were nice enough to let out their quest room, and to shepherd me towards some of Alaska's finest pizza and beer at the Moose's Tooth.

A drawing from Spring Hill Elementary...

...and my foggy expression of sincere joy with respect to the lighted xc ski trails that cover incredibly many kilometers of municiple parkland. Amazing to have these groomed and lighted trails. Why the lights? Keep in mind that the official sunrise during my visit was 10:03am!

Alright, so here I am in second grade... Did you find me? Use the photo below for reference:

While your at it, marvel at the fact that I also reconnected with my second grade teacher on this trip :) Indeed, Mrs. Apodoca is now a Title 1 reading specialist at Taku Elementary. She has almost retired several times, but loves what she does and still finds joy and inspiration amongst her "kids". Given that she is one of the few teachers that I can remember from way back when, she 's surely doing somethin' right!

A parting shot from my final visit at Apenglow Elementary in Eagle River...

...and a nostalgic pic of Anchorage's Fireweed theater (site of my Empire Stikes Back viewing circa 1980 something)...

...and finally, my welcome home from the red-eye flight to Seattle (and the five-hour drive after that). Much fun in the sun at the Methow Valley's first ever Super Tour. Thank you, THANK YOU to all of the PTA members, staff, and students that made this all possible. A fine week indeed!


crowther said...

Kid with the glasses in the bottom row?

Erik Brooks said...

Nice try Greg, but I didn't start wearing glasses until high school :)