Fortunate for the community support | AspenTimes.com

Fortunate for the community support

Dear Editor:

In the last month I have been fortunate to benefit from the many supportive community members who give up their time, share their expertise, and provide encouragement to the students of Aspen Middle School. I am particularly grateful to the many volunteers who spent an hour interviewing budding scientists at the Dec. 10 Science Fair. Although many of the judges have children or work as teachers, all gave additional time and energy to students who wanted to share their projects with a judge from 3:30-5 p.m. Some of the judges without students in our system still offered their help and support.

In particular, I’d like to thank Kathryn and Paul Chamberlin, Elaine Gerson, Brooks Bryant, and Eric Mead from our community as well as police officers Bobby Schaefer, Leon Murray and Tina Schairer. Many faculty from the middle school and other buildings extended their teaching day and rounded out the judge and helper list to 38. My gratitude knows no bounds!

Two days later I took two teams of fifth- and sixth-grade boys to the state championship for the FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition. I could not have gotten the rookie teams and this rookie coach to that culminating event without the support of the Aspen Education Foundation, the school district, Principal Tom Heald, my two volunteer judges Nathan and Peter Hanson, and the extraordinarily supportive parents who coordinated lodging, food, and logistical support.

One local group I need to thank in particular is the Pitkin County Public Works Department. When I sent a blind e-mail out to the county departments in October asking for help with a transportation-related robotics challenge, Director Brian Pettet responded that he would love to work with the teams. He met with the boys on two occasions and then invited us to a meeting of his whole department Dec. 5. That time and energy was instrumental in the stellar performance of the boys the following Saturday. The success the students enjoyed and the positive experience of the robotics competition could not have happened without the collective support of many people.

The boys are already excited to compete next year, and I have many students clamoring to join in the program. Luckily, I teach in a community that supports these endeavors.

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I feel fortunate to live and work in such a wonderful place. Thank you!

Caroline Hanson

Ascent teacher, Aspen Middle School