Small Town News


Ripon 5th grader seeks information on Iowa, Harlan

Harlan News-Advertiser of Harlan, Iowa

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RIPON, Ca. -- For the second consecutive year, a 5th grader from Ripon, Ca. wants to learn more about Iowa, and is enlisting the help of Shelby County area residents to do so.

Jessica Orozco, a student at Ripon Christian School, has been charged as part of a class project to learn as much about the state of Iowa as possible. She adopted Iowa as a class project and will be doing a report and making a display about the state.

Orozco follows last year's student from Ripon, Courtney Bloemhof, who also did such a project and got a huge response from Shelby County.

Like Bloemhof, Orozco hopes to receive an abundance of information from local residents here. Anything from t-shirts, maps, brochures, Harlan Community memorabilia, school items, etc. are welcome.

"It would be helpful to send me postcards of your state, maps, brochures, information about wildlife, industry, neat places to visit, statistics, sports teams and any other information and items," said Orozco.

It's a project not unlike one that challenges West Ridge Elementary School 5th-graders in Harlan with learning about the states. Delia Newlin, Social Studies teacher at West Ridge, has conducted such a project for years. Students here write to various newspapers across the nation asking residents to send information or items back to learn more about the state, and to be used as part of a project presentation.

Each student researches the state and connects with editors at newspapers in those states to request information from the public. The students use the information to write a state report, make a state poster, design a state map and keep a journal on the 50 states.

Newlin teams with Mrs. Moore's Communications class to have the students write the report. At the end of the year, parents visit the classrooms and each student gives a presentation about their state.

Holly Terpstra, Orzco's teacher, said the students at Ripon will present their projects in a similar fashion, with visual aids such as floats, reports and charts, and will show off the items they receive from each state.

"Items that are generally sent are newspaper clippings, brochures, post cards, etc.," said Terpstra. "Students have also received t-shirts, coffee mugs, sand and shells from the east coast, maple sugar, autographed pictures of sports teams, flags flown over the state capitol, samples of crops grown and other types of souvenirs."

Terpstra said last year, Shelby County residents sent many items, and that's why this area was selected again this year.

"Unfortunately, not all states respond to our request for information, but we really appreciate anything that people are willing to share."

Added Orozco, "I hope (Shelby County) will help me with my project. I'm looking forward to hearing from (Shelby County) and promise to send a thank-you note for helping me.

I will display and show everything that I have gotten and learned about your great state."

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Original Publication Date: February 6, 2009

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