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Schroeder's Iditarod Run Inspires Learning in the Northland

Updated: 03/09/2014 10:33 PM
Created: 03/09/2014 5:58 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Northlander Nathan Schroeder and his sled dog team continued their grueling journey across the Iditarod course in Alaska this weekend. The race leader was expected to finish on Monday, but Schroeder was running in 25th place. Still, students in his home town are learning a lot by cheering him on.

Schroeder has been sledding his way across over 1,000 miles of snow in Alaska for almost a week. His mother, Cindy Schroeder, said virtues are the difference between finishing and scratching out.

“He can be very patient and calm when he needs to be, and I think that's what he's doing up there now is just staying calm and patient, one mile at a time,” Schroeder said.

Still, she was a little anxious to see him cross the finish line in Nome, Alaska.

“Finish! He needs to get to Nome in one piece,” Schroeder said.

Some students in Warba have the same feeling.

“I hope that he finishes the race. I don't care what place he comes in as long as he finishes the race,” 8th grader Elizabeth Swanson said.

Swanson and her classmates are excited about the race across Alaska because Schroeder once sat in the same desks as they do now. During class time the students at Northern Lights Community School are learning what it takes to compete in the Iditarod.

“They're surprised at how grueling and how difficult the race is. It was hard for them to comprehend in their heads how long 1049 miles is,” Language Arts Advisor Karen Fleming said.

She said tracking musher progress and learning about the Alaskan environment is educational.

“They're learning geography they're learning math with how much equipment goes in the sleds,” Fleming said.

She said it helps to have a hometown hero pull the students into the race. Schroeder may be thousands of miles away, but he made the Iditarod a valuable lesson for students back home.

Schroeder is often listed as being from Chisholm, but he grew up in Warba and his mother wanted to set the record straight.

“Then we have to get it straight that he's not a Chisholm-native. He's a Warba-native, you know, it's a big thing for our little community,” Schroeder said.

The race leader is expected to finish sometime Monday, but Schroeder is not expected until Tuesday or Wednesday. He was running in 25th place as of Sunday afternoon.

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