SIDE STREETS: Help teach these kids about Colorado

BILL VOGRIN Updated: March 28, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: March 28, 2013

A handwritten letter came to The Gazette newsroom recently from a fifth-grade student in California. He very politely asked for information about “your magnificent state, Colorado.”

Diego Lopez, at the Napa Valley Language Academy, wanted pamphlets, postcards, souvenirs or anything that would help him write a report about our history, economy, famous residents and parks.

How could I resist?

Rarely do I turn down an opportunity to pontificate, especially on something I love as much as Colorado. I can talk for hours about its virtues, history and trivia. (Just ask my poor wife.)

In his note, Diego asked if we might publish his request in our letter section.

He was so nice I figured I’d publish it myself.

Then an email arrived from John-Michael List in Carson City, Nev. He’s in fourth grade at Fritsch Elementary School and he had a similar request. Besides written materials, he was asking for “small rocks from the Rocky Mountains, pines from the Colorado Blue Spruce or anything else that would be useful.”

Both boys said they’ll be writing about Colorado landforms, climate, resources, history, attractions and things such as our pro sports teams, indigenous wild animals and unusual facts.

Hmmm. I wondered if this was a setup.

“It’s no hoax,” said Irene Waltz, assistant principal at Fritsch Elementary.

Actually, the boys are learning a pretty standard lesson in most every grade school curriculum.

“It’s one of our state standards,” Waltz said. “We try to teach students about where they live, other states and the nation.”

I was unable to reach the Napa Valley school due to spring break. But I confirmed the existence of Diego’s teacher, and I’m confident his request is legitimate.

So, if anyone wants to help Diego and John-Michael with their reports, you are invited to write them.

Diego would like information sent to his teacher, Mrs. Dearborn, at 2700 Kilburn Ave., Napa, Calif., 94558.

John-Michael hoped for responses via his mother, Mary-Margaret Madden, 930 W. Robinson St., Carson City, Nev., 89703.

I figure Side Streets readers will have no trouble helping the boys.

So, I’ll save my own spiel about how our region was explored by the Spanish in the 16th century and they named its major river Colorado for the color of its water, tinted red by silt. Or that it was part of the Kansas Territory and became the 38th state in 1876.

I won’t mention our diverse geography. Or that black bears, mountain lions, bobcat, coyote, fox and more are common sights in cities and vast public lands.

Or that Pikes Peak, known as America’s Mountain, became the symbol of the 19th century gold rush.

I have no doubt you folks will cover it all

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